Recently I was interviewed for a piece on the Keep Arts in Schools website and thought it might be useful to adapt that conversation for this blog conversation. The focus was on the establishment (ore re-establishment) of my office and the specific case-making needed to support the value of arts education from a public policy perspective. I am going to focus here just on my comments about case-making, but encourage people to check out the full interview.
The cultural sector benefits from strong support among elected officials. Mayor Michael Nutter – my boss – was elected in 2007 on a campaign platform that included a strong commitment to arts and culture. This support is also shared by City Council, which ultimately must vote on the cultural budget as part of the overall City budget. The Philadelphia business community is strongly supportive of the arts, but like many other cities has lost most of our corporate headquarters as a result of mergers and consolidation. We have strong support from most of the companies that are headquartered here, as well as from regional headquarters of companies based elsewhere.
Business understands that a thriving cultural sector and creative economy helps them attract and retain workers. It makes this a city where their employees want to live and work, and also fosters the creativity that is increasingly important in business. This does not mean there isn’t always more work to be done educating political and business leaders – it is a continual task. Read the rest of this entry »