PHILADELPHIA, PA – The Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee for the Democratic National Convention, in partnership with Knight Foundation, today announced plans for the Broad Street Arts Activation project.  The project will transform Broad Street, through a combination of paint, light, art and performance, into an inviting outdoor gallery of color and creativity that will stretch from Arch Street to Washington Avenue. The Broad Street Arts Activation project will take place the week of the Democratic National Convention, from Saturday July 23rd through Thursday July 28th.

“The Broad Street Arts Activation is a continuation of the Host Committee’s commitment to creatively highlighting the beauty and diversity of this great city,” said Kevin Washo, Executive Director of the Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee.  “This is one of the ways we are highlighting Philadelphia’s arts and culture community, along with the many other vibrant sectors of the city, during the Convention, and we hope all who are in town that week will be able to enjoy the performances. We thank our many partners, especially Knight Foundation, for their generous support to make our city shine as brightly as possible during the Convention.”

The partnership will create temporary art spaces by activating 7 street-level pop-up spaces to anchor the arts programming along the corridor and create low-cost, high-impact outdoor performance venues for local musicians and performers.  Adult and youth performers, representing the city’s diverse neighborhoods and community arts groups will be scheduled to perform at locations including Lenfest Plaza (Broad and Cherry), City Hall, The Union League, Academy of Music and more throughout the week. Local organization Fresh Artists will install a variety of art pieces created by local school children at key outdoor locations along Broad Street, complementing live performances with a colorful focus on the city’s youngest creative talents.

“Philadelphia’s arts and cultural community is once again ready to embrace the national spotlight,” said Maud Lyon, President of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. “The dramatic scope of this project will serve as a constant reminder to our guests during the Convention that Philadelphia has one of the strongest cultural sectors of any big city in the country.  On behalf of the more than 400 members of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, we applaud the Host Committee and all affiliated partners for coming together to put on what is sure to be a memorable week of events.”

This project follows the Host Committee announcement of its Broad Street beautification efforts last month, which included: enhancements to Reyburn Plaza and installation of large colorful planters on North Broad Street by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society; the Avenue of the Arts mural by artist Mat Tomezsko and the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program; and the City Hall/South Broad Street lighting program through Center City District.

The Arts Activation project, funded by an $80,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, focuses on bringing Broad Street to life, creating new and inviting art spaces, and lifting up Philadelphia’s cultural community.

“Our hope is that the thousands who come for the convention leave this city with more than an understanding of the fundamental role Philadelphia has played in our nation’s history. We want them to see a city defined by arts and culture,” said Victoria Rogers, Vice President for Arts at Knight Foundation.

Additionally, The Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy will host Make Art Philly, a day of art-making and crafting all around the theme of voting in City Hall’s historic courtyard on Wednesday, July 27 from 10AM-2PM. Cultural organizations from throughout Philadelphia will share their art-making skills, allowing visitors to participate in activities including screen-printing with the Print Center, collaging with the Dumpster Divers of Philadelphia, button-making with the Main Line Art Center, puppet making with the Mann Center, clay working with the Clay Studio and many other family-friendly activities. The voting themed art-making is an extension of Philly VOTE and Get Out the Vote Art in City Hall exhibitions.

“Philadelphia’s arts and culture community is ready to show the world what it has to offer during the DNC,” said Kelly Lee, Chief Cultural Officer for the City of Philadelphia.  “We at the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy are excited to help activate South Broad Street by hosting Make Art Philly Day at the epicenter of Broad Street in the City Hall Courtyard on July 27th. We invite Philadelphians, visitors, delegates and their families alike to come make art with Philadelphia’s arts organizations.”

Other institutions along the Avenue of the Arts will activate with special programming, like The Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts in conjunction with the Brandywine Workshop and Archives, who present a special SOAPBOX for Cultural Equity forum, and a series of free evening outdoor and indoor concerts during the DNC to spotlight both the talented veterans as well as the up-and-coming artists who comprise the Philadelphia jazz community.

Project collaborators include Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, Avenue of the Arts, Kimmel Center for Performing Arts, Mural Arts Program, Mayor’s Office of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Center City District and Fresh Artists. For a current list of performers, click here.

The Democratic National will take place in Philadelphia July 25-28th.


Pictured: Paul Beideman, President of the Avenue of the Arts, speaks at the Broad Street Arts Activation announcement in front of the Kimmel Center

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