The head of the Philadelphia Cultural Fund is stepping down. Barbara Silzle led the city’s arts and culture granting operation for seven years.
Silzle has not only run the fund, but often has had to protect it from the city itself. The operation that distributes public money to hundreds of small- and mid-sized arts and culture organizations every year has been regularly cut, or threatened to be cut in the city budget.
“Barbara’s leadership has been especially vital during the pandemic years, which saw drastic cuts to the Fund’s budget, which had a ripple effect across the sector,” said board chair Magda Martinez in a statement.
During the pandemic in 2020, Mayor Kenney’s proposal to eliminate the Fund altogether sparked protests. Ultimately, that year the city sent $ 1 million into the Fund, a 71% reduction from more than $ 3 million the previous year.