The arts will continue to flourish in Northwest Philadelphia thanks in part to recent Philadelphia Cultural Fund grant awards.
Numerous neighborhood arts and cultural organizations from the Northwest — 32 of 285 citywide — are among the recipients of nearly $2.5 million allocated to support general operations.
Last year, City Council voted to increase PCF’s budget to pre-recession levels. It was cut nearly in half, from $3.2 million to $1.84 million, back in 2010. There is concern that Mayor Nutter’s proposed 2016 budget will again slash funding.
Seven in Germantown’s historic district alone will benefit from this year’s PCF grants, including Historic Germantown, a consortium of 16 partner sites.
“The support is really essential to the work we do,” said Trapeta Mayson, executive director for Historic Germantown.
Preserving history and community
The money will help fund the community events and workshops the organization puts on, including its Second Saturday program. Every second Saturday from May through Oct., all of the member historic sites are open to the public and staffed by guides between noon and 4 p.m.
Because all of the consortium member sites are nonprofit and work with shoestring budgets, they have limited open times. Often these dates do not align with those of the other sites. This can be frustrating to visitors to the area, explained Pilar Yaekel, Historic Germantown’s operations manager.
Tying multiple sites together during the tourist high-season not only facilitates visitation but showcases the neighborhood, she added.
Both the consortium and its member sites (which have their own operations budgets and directors) provide free programming for youth and outreach services to the community.
Doing so is especially challenging in the nonprofit environment, Mayson said.
Historic Germantown is committed to being relevant in its neighborhood, but without the support of the PFC, hard choices would have to be made on what programs, if any, they can continue to offer.
“We’re not just these houses and institutions. We’re part of the community,” she said.
Other NW recipients
Historic and Cultural
Johnson House Historic Site; Cliveden of the National Trust; Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion; Concord School House and Upper Burying Ground of Germantown; Wyck Historic House, Garden and Farm; Germantown Mennonite Historic Trust; Fairmount Park Historic Preservation Trust.
Literary and Theater
Quintessence Theatre Group; The Stagecrafters Theater; Gas & Electric Arts; Kama-Sahlor Group; Kaleid Theatre; PlayPenn, Inc.; Cleaver Magazine
Music and Dance
PRISM Quartet, Inc.; The Crossing; Network for New Music; LyricFest; Commonwealth Youthchoirs; International Ballet Exchange
Film and Media
G-Town Radio; Big Picture Alliance; Philadelphia Independent Film and Video Association
Arts Centers and Community Groups
Allens Lane Art Center; Manayunk Roxborough Art Center; Philadelphia Community Arts Network; CosaCosa Art at large, Inc.; Philadelphia Guild of Hand Weavers; BuildABridge International
Woodmere Art Museum; La Salle University Art Museum