In Philly, Audience-Development Champion PNC Foundation Unveils 23 Recipients


PNC logoThis is a great story: The PNC Foundation, via an inspiring project called PNC Arts Alive, announced grants to 23 nonprofit arts groups in the 12-county Philadelphia-South Jersey region, part of a five-year, $5-million initiative that, per its website, “challenges visual and performing arts organizations to put forth their best, most original thinking in expanding audience participation and engagement.”

For a complete list of the grantees, click here. They include:

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Cape May Stage
Greater Philadelphia Film Office
James A. Michener Art Museum
Kimmel Center
Pennsylvania Ballet
Philadelphia Live Arts Festival & Philly Fringe
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philadelphia Young Playwrights
Wilma Theater

…and you’ll notice that the purposes of the grants are similiar in some ways, but uniformly progressive in their thinking. For example:

Cape May Stage, $25,000
The Community Development and Audience Outreach Program will feature in-school residencies, workshops, acting classes, and staged readings along with subsidized ticket pricing for seniors, youth, and economically disadvantaged audiences for performances throughout the year.


Greater Philadelphia Film Office, $30,000
Philadelphia in the Movies Rolling Theater is a multi-media, interactive show aboard a specially equipped bus (rolling theater) that will visit 25 movie locations and showcase the value of the filmmaking industry to the region.

In addition, four service and/or professional organizations are receiving monies as well:

Art & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia, $75,000
Access to business volunteers, free of charge, through the Arts & Business Council’s Business On Call Program. The opportunity for exposure as a PNC Arts Alive grantee at the Council’s annual award luncheon.

Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, $65,000
Turn Your Cell Phone On – a new program offered by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance that gives arts goers the opportunity to text their reviews into plus a new section listing accessible programming for the disabled. PNC Arts Alive grantees will be offered premium exposure on this popular website.

Office of Arts and Culture and the Creative Economy, $10,000
When Mayor Michael Nutter re-established the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts and Culture and the Creative Economy he put the arts back on the public agenda. This grant will help create a much-needed physical space for the Office of Arts and Culture.

South Jersey Cultural Alliance, $20,000
The Encore Awards helps raise the profile of the arts in South Jersey and gain widespread exposure for arts groups.

My final query is this: How will success be measured? By audience loyalty or access? Anyone care to comment? Are there other examples of programs like this and how successful have they been?