This was not a typical season for the Arts + Business Council, and it’s not a typical year ahead. We embraced staff and leadership transitions. The 100th mayor of the City of Philadelphia will be elected in November and stakeholders are buzzing around the country’s semi-quincentennial in 2026. This change brings excitement, uncertainty, and opportunity to our region. Despite what the future holds, ABC’s team is prepared to respond to the needs of our community. We believe in the power of the creative economy and welcome change that will shape the direction of ABC and increase the impact of the arts in our region.

As we move ahead, we want to celebrate our accomplishments:

  • 2023 Business on Board graduates Ajene Atkins and Ed Isaack have been elected to Kulu Mele African Dance and Drum Ensemble and Musicopia / Dancing Classrooms Philly’s board of directors, respectively. More than 25 organizations elect board members through the program each year.
  • This year’s Designing Leadership sold out, which explored belonging within ourselves and fostering it in others. The 56-person cohort was the most diverse yet, with 59% identifying with a marginalized group.
  • Digital Drawingboard offered expertise in content strategy, game design, digital archiving, and video creation, among others; four out of six virtual workshops sold out, too. The program’s popularity demonstrates the continued need for building tools in the digital space.
  • We redefined Defining Innovation this spring as a hybrid watch party as part of CraftNOW and NextFab’s Tools of the Trades Conference, strengthening our partnerships with the creative entrepreneurial community.

And our season finale – the Annual Awards Celebration. Congratulations to our honorees Black Music City, the Philadelphia Fellowship for Black Artists, and the Preservation Trades Center. While in its 38th year, we strived for an experience that reflects ABC’s new course. Leigh Goldenberg, The Wilma Theater’s Managing Director, felt our intent and captured it beautifully:

“I’ve been to a handful of ABC events over the years, and this one felt the most representative of the arts and cultural community. You and your staff are doing fantastic work that really helps the breadth of the arts community feel seen and supported. And learning about the recipients sparked so many great ideas and conversations, that I’m sure will continue to unfold. I’m so grateful to be included in this ABC community.”

If this is what ABC can accomplish in a transition year, imagine what we’re capable of next year. Continue to follow us, reach out to us, and collaborate with us to find out.

With gratitude,
Liz Thompson
Arts + Business Council