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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: January 14, 2021 03:36 PM
From: Representative Brian Sims
To: All House members
Subject: Creating an Arts and Culture Grant Fund
On December 23, 2020, a mural of LGBTQ activist, organizer, and community leader Gloria Casarez was painted over by developers without warning. Casarez, Philadelphia’s first Director of LGBTQ Affairs who devoted decades of her life toward advancing social and political progress for marginalized people, died in 2014. Her mural was the only one of over 3,000 murals in Philadelphia to show a LGBTQ woman of color.
Philadelphia’s 2021 budget cut over $2 million in funding from the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, which provides grants for public artwork celebrating the diverse culture of Philadelphians and commemorating trailblazing leaders like Gloria Casarez. More resources must be provided to arts organizations and artists to prevent the pandemic and economic crisis from further eroding Philadelphia’s long history of publicly accessible art. My legislation would create a grant program to fund organizations and artists whose work benefits historically marginalized communities. Many of these organizations and artists have been struggling more than ever during this pandemic, and it is even more important now to ensure that we invest in and preserve Philadelphia’s culture.

Introduced as HB818