Power Street Theatre will lead an online rally of more than 50 Philadelphia artists and arts organizations on Tuesday and Wednesday to press for more city funding with two very full days of live-streamed performances and discussions.
Other groups participating include Taller Puertorriqueño, Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists, Paper Doll Ensemble, Theatre in the X, and Light Thief Productions, and eight City Councilmembers are among the scheduled guests. There will also be livestreamed entertainment segments throughout the 27-plus hours of programming.
It’s the second such effort led by the North Philadelphia-based Power Street, which, along with several other groups, held a similar rally last June after Mayor Jim Kenney proposed a budget with drastic cuts in funding for arts and culture. Some of that funding was later restored, including roughly one-third of the city’s $3 million Philadelphia Cultural Fund, which had originally been zeroed out.
This time around, the rally, the brainchild of Light Thief’s James Jackson, is timed to spotlight the value of the city’s arts community ahead of budgeting decisions for the next fiscal year, organizers said.
“In the current moment, as we navigate a pandemic along with tons of grief, we have been required to reflect on who and what our city budget values,” said Gabriela Sánchez, co-artistic director and managing director of Power Street Theatre, in a prepared statement. “The digital rally is an invitation to join communal action to celebrate arts and culture in our beloved city of Philadelphia while advocating that we be prioritized in the city’s budget as valued citizens.”
Planned discussions include a look at Philadelphia’s city budgeting process with Power Street resident production manager Asaki Kuruma, a session on financial resources for artists with Theatre Philadelphia executive director LaNeshe Miller-White, and interviews with City Councilmembers Mark Squilla, Maria D. Quiñones Sánchez, Derek Green, Isaiah Thomas, David Oh, Helen Gym, Jamie Gauthier, and Kendra Brooks.
The rally will launch on Power Street’s Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts at 9 a.m. each day, with the last programs beginning at 10:30 p.m. Hosted by Tanaquil Márquez, Nicole Stacie, Lindo Yes, and Sinta Storm, it will include performances by musicians, singers, dancers, actors, comedians, and other artists. Both days will feature dance breaks on Instagram at 3 and 3:30 p.m.
A complete schedule of performances and discussions can be found at powerstreettheatre.com/digitalrally.