Breaking News: Nutter announced head of Office of Arts and Culture
WHYY’s Elizabeth Fiedler did a story for this morning’s edition of… uh… Morning Edition about an impending announcement by the Nutter Administration on the new Arts and Culture Tsar.
Well, the announcement has been made and… ok, they’re not calling him a Tsar. They go with a much less russified title – Chief Cultural Officer. The lucky winner is: Gary Steuer, formerly Vice President of the New York based non-profit Americans for the Arts. He starts in October.
The entire press release can be found after the jump.
In Liz’s story, she talks to well known blogger and art critic Roberta Fallon, whose blog makes frequent appearances in this blog because, well, she knows a LOT about the region’s art scene. (While I tend to be more of an expert of “culture”… as in pop culture… as in reality television and Judd Apatow movies.)
I absolutely love that Liz got one of the stars of the blogosphere for her story instead of one of the usual suspects in the institutional art world.
(Edited to Add) One more thought. I love that the city has acknowledged the importance of the arts by providing some support for arts and culture with the establishment of this office. However, I worry a little about the constant pounding by both the city and “institutional” arts advocates about the “economic benefits” of arts and culture. If the arts – performing, visual, and otherwise – did not bring in any cash for the local economy, wouldn’t it still be important to show support for artists?
I suppose if the city has to justify the use of tax dollars to support art by calling it an “investment” with a monetary “return” then that’s what it has to do. But it should be enough to say, “Hey! Having great art in this city makes us all a little more well-rounded, smarter and just better citizens.”
It has been said time and again. A great city has great art.
Friday, July 18, 2008
For Immediate Release
MAYOR NUTTER ANNOUNCES OFFICE OF ARTS, CULTURE AND THE CREATIVE ECONOMY
Philadelphia, July 18, 2008 – This afternoon Mayor Michael A. Nutter signed an Executive Order creating the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy. Gary Steuer, formerly Vice President of the New York based non-profit Americans for the Arts, was appointed as Chief Cultural Officer. Mr. Steuer will formally start with the Administration in October.
“After an exhaustive national search, I am tremendously pleased to have Gary Steuer join my Administration,” said Mayor Nutter. “His experience both as an arts manager and as an arts advocate will give him a unique perspective on how to best grow the arts community – an important step to creating a healthier and more vibrant Philadelphia.”
The Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy will be housed in the Mayor’s Office. The office will be tasked with:
Improving access to the arts for both residents and visitors
Expanding arts education for young people
Overseeing all the City’s arts programs
Supporting the growth and development of the City’s arts, culture and creative economy sector, by promoting public and private investment in the creative economy sector
Coordinating with relevant City agencies to unify the City’s arts efforts
Serving as a liaison between the City’s many cultural institutions
“I am thrilled by the opportunity the Mayor has provided me to work with him, his team and the great arts and civic leaders of Philadelphia to serve this City,” said Gary Steuer. “With the growing recognition of the importance of the arts in workforce development, business attraction and retention, community revitalization, civic engagement, and tourism, it is more important than ever that cities integrate the arts into City programs and policies. Mayor Nutter understands this and I look forward to serving him and the people of Philadelphia.”
The Executive Order also re-established the Cultural Advisory Council which will serve to advise the Mayor and Administration officials on issues relating to arts and culture. Mayor Nutter appointed Joe Kluger as head of the Council. Mr. Kluger is currently an Associate Principal at the arts consulting firm WolfBrown. He previously worked with the Philadelphia Orchestra and has served on other regional arts boards such as the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Arts and Business Council of Philadelphia, and the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.
The Mayor asks members of the arts community interested in serving on the Council to submit their resume.