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Councilmembers Thomas and Gilmore Richardson will transfer funding to OACCE for Illuminate the Arts Grants, focus on individual artists 

Philadelphia, PA. – Councilmembers Isaiah Thomas (At Large) and Katherine Gilmore Richardson (At Large) have created the “Illuminate the Arts” grant as part of City Council’s New Normal Budget Act. The Illuminate the Arts Grants is a total of $1M to be distributed to individual artists, mid-size nonprofits and small businesses, administered through the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy. Through the input of the Arts and Culture Task Force as well as the arts and culture community, the application process and requirements will be uniquely geared to meet the needs of this community and provide relief quickly and efficiently.

“The Illuminate the Arts Grants make a necessary investment to Philadelphia’s arts, culture and nightlife sectors,” said Councilmember Isaiah Thomas. “When the city fully opens up, arts and culture will drive people to the city. We can’t keep saving the arts, we have to start illuminating the arts as the economic drivers and job creators that they’ve always been. With a focus on individual artists, mid-size nonprofits and small businesses – the Illuminate the Arts grants seeks to send an overdue lifeline to the arts community.”

This Thursday, February 25th, Councilmembers Thomas and Gilmore Richardson will introduce a transfer ordinance for $1.3M to the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy. $1M will be allocated for grants for artists and cultural organizations with additional funds for a temporary full-time staffer to oversee the administrative responsibilities, repay pandemic-related losses to artists and assist in 2021 arts events planning. The funds, from the current fiscal year, come from City Council’s New Normal Budget Act which prioritizes recovery for jobs and economic prosperity throughout the pandemic.

“City Council has worked diligently, under the leadership of Council President Clarke, to respond directly to community needs throughout the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson. “Through the Disadvantaged Communities Task Force, Councilmember Thomas and I were able to hear from community members about the challenges that were most severe and work collaboratively to find solutions. Today, with funding from the New Normal Budget Act, we are excited to be able to invest directly in arts and culture, a sector that has been deeply impacted as a result of the pandemic.”

Once the transfer ordinance is passed and OACCE hires a temporary full-time position for grant administration, expected mid-March, the grants will officially open. The Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy’s website:, will house future announcements and information about the grant application process.

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