It is also a vibrant cosmopolitan area and a capital of arts and culture, with that sector contributing vastly to the regional economy. A recent Pew Charitable Trusts study states that arts and culture provide 19,000 jobs and more than $500 million in annual income. The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance says there are more than 210 arts and culture organizations in the region with annual budgets exceeding $1 million, including 33 with budgets of more than $10 million.
“Greater Philadelphia was just named the No. 1 cultural city in North America by readers of Travel & Leisure,” says Tom Kaiden, president of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. “This region is a blend of hip and historic, with a vibrant, current cultural scene here on the Eastern seaboard.”
The region has world-class art galleries and museums such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Rodin Museum, Barnes Foundation and Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington, while Philadelphia's Mural Arts program is the largest public arts program in the nation. A number of specialized museums also enrich the region's cultural experience, including the National Museum of American Jewish History.
For cultural assets, there is the Pennsylvania Ballet, Pennsylvania Dance Co., Opera Company of Philadelphia, Opera Delaware, the Philadelphia Orchestra as well as symphony orchestras in Trenton and Wilmington. Hands-on learning experiences for children and families can be found at attractions like the American Helicopter Museum, Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center, Delaware Children's Museum, Delaware Museum of Natural History, Franklin Institute and Camden's Adventure Aquarium.
Business Helping Art
The region's 100 colleges and universities also contribute significantly to cultural offerings, while the Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia helps connect businesses with struggling arts and cultural organizations.
“For example, the Center for Art in Wood was going belly-up until we placed an experienced businesswoman in there to do their strategic planning, and now the center is successful in a new space after raising $1 million,” says Karin Copeland, executive director with the Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia. “We also paired another businesswoman to consult with Philadelphia's Magic Gardens, and she helped inspire and redefine the entire organization. Nonprofit arts and cultural organizations know about creativity but sometimes are lax in business, legal or technology experience, and that's where the Arts & Business Council can help them.”