How To Support The Arts In Philly During COVID-19

According to the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, the arts scene in the City of Brotherly Love is more than just a weekend escape. $4.1 billion dollars in total economic impact, 55,000 full-time jobs, and $1.3 billion in household income are all tied directly to Philly’s arts and culture institutions. During the Coronavirus shutdown, a countless number of artists, support staff, and venues are experiencing financial difficulties. Here are a few ways to support them and the arts in Philadelphia during COVID-19:

Supporting Philadelphia Arts During The Coronavirus

Donate To Bryn Mawr Film Institute

The movie industry faces serious short and long-term consequences from the economic fallout of COVID-19. While tentpole films like Wonder Woman 1984 and Top Gun 2 will ultimately help the big studios recover this summer, the indie film scene will be facing a long haul once theaters reopen.

With the closure of the Ritz Bourse in January 2020, the number of independent movie theaters in the Philadelphia area continues to shrink. The Bryn Mawr Film Institute screens movies like Parasite, The Irishman, and Roma that other cinemas do not show. Donating to the Bryn Mawr Film Institute now will help indie film return after the Coronavirus.

For anyone looking for something to do during social-distancing, the non-profit is offering online film classes.

Give To The Colonial Theatre

A longstanding Philadelphia-area institution, The Colonial Theatre is the site of the infamous movie house sequence in the 1958 horror film The Blob. In addition to their annual Blobfest, Phoenixville’s theater screens a wide variety of family-friendly movies and cult classics. They also host community events and theater organ performances.

The 501(c)3 organization is accepting donations online. If anything, they deserve bonus points for currently advertising No Encounters Of Any Kind on their marquee.

Colonial Theatre Phoenixville

Engage With Theatre Philadelphia

The organization’s website is a great resource to find how the Philadelphia performing arts community is adjusting to COVID-19. Virtual performances from Theatre Horizon, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Fringe Arts, and various Facebook Live streams are all being tracked through their website. Donating to the organization is a way to keep the collective performances going.

The organization is also launching a series of virtual shows on YouTube starting on the week of March 23.

Purchase Museum Memberships

Obviously, we can’t go to many of Philadelphia’s wonderful art, history, and culture museums right now. Purchasing memberships will sustain museums and keep their doors open after COVID-19 subsides.

Follow The Philadelphia Arts Community On Social Media

Over the last week, many performers and organizations have increased their virtual presence to help get us all through cabin fever. Several musicians have streamed performances to help replace the void of concerts. Institutions like the Independence Seaport Museum and Eastern State Penitentiary are promoting their virtual exhibits on social media. In addition to tracking your favorite artists, the Philadelphia Cultural Alliance’s twitter feed is a great catch-all follow for news in the arts community.

Philadelphia's Eastern State Penitentiary

Buy Music From Philadelphia Musicians

As the music business has shifted into streaming services, musicians are more dependent than ever on concert revenue to make a living. With venues shut down, buying music and merchandise is the easiest way to support your favorite artists.

One online source for music and merch that is critical to independent musicians is Bandcamp. The website has long been an important mechanism in helping young bands get their start. According to Bandcamp, the site paid $14.8 million to artists within a 30-day period (February 22-March 22).

Philadelphia Songwriter Steve Gunn at Union Transfer 2/2/19
Lansdowne’s Steve Gunn at Union Transfer, 2/2/19

You can also check in with record stores in Philadelphia to see how they are staying open during COVID-19. Neighborhood stores may be trying to get by through online sales, mail order, or curbside pickup. If you can’t think of one or two albums that you need right now, ask for recommendations or buy a gift card.

Support WXPN

If you are looking for local musicians to support during COVID-19, the most important independent music aggregate in the city is WXPN. The University of Pennsylvania’s radio station is tapped into a DIY scene that has experienced tremendous growth over the last decade.

Rosali and Mike Polizze with The War On Drugs at The Fillmore, 12/30/19
Rosali and Mike Polizze with The War On Drugs at The Fillmore, 12/30/19

In addition to the airwaves, their Philly music blog is a wonderful source for highlighting local and national musicians. Donating to WXPN ensures that Philadelphia musicians will receive exposure during and after the COVID-19 isolation periods.

Donate To Philly GoFundMe Campaigns

There are a few online fundraising pages to help Philadelphia performers pay bills during the Coronavirus social-distancing periods. The Philadelphia Musicians Relief Fund, Helium Comedy Club, Philly Creative Fundraiser, and Philly Theater Production fundraisers are just some of the GoFundMe pages where you can assist artists, venue staff, and production crew.


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