Williams proposes plan to increase arts education funding

    With less than a week to go before the primary election, only one of the six candidates for Pennsylvania governor attended a meeting today with Philadelphia arts and cultural organizers.

    With less than a week to go before the primary election, only one of the six candidates for Pennsylvania governor attended a meeting today with Philadelphia arts and cultural organizers.

    One candidate – Anthony Hardy Williams – showed up in the flesh, three candidates sent representatives, and the other two candidates, Sam Rohrer and Jack Wagner, were not accounted for at a luncheon of the Greater Philadelphia Culture Alliance.

    A representative of Dan Onorato said the Pittsburgh-based candidate values the arts because he credits the industry for single-handedly saving the downtown district. A representative of Tom Corbett said the Republican sees arts and culture as a vital element of the tourism industry.

    Democratic state Senator Williams had a plan to increase the state per-capita spending on arts and culture.

    “If we’re going to increase education funding 3.9 percent, why not take cents off those billions of dollars and direct them specifically toward arts eduction,” said Williams. “Why not dedicate them to arts teacher salaries. There are a lot of areas where there are revenues if you just dedicate those revenues towards the commitment to the arts community.”

    Williams said Pennsylvania is currently ranked 24th in the nation for per capita spending on the arts: about 92 cents per person.

    Candidate Joe Hoeffel has said he would dedicate economic development funding toward the creation of urban arts districts.

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