A Philadelphia story 30 years in the making: Avenue of the Arts marks three decades with week-long celebration

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Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts has developed into a major epicenter for the arts and residential properties since its inception 30 years ago. City leaders gathered at City Hall Tuesday morning to celebrate that success over the past three decades, even cutting a birthday cake in the avenue’s honor.

Then-Mayor and future Governor Ed Rendell first proposed using arts and culture to revive the end of South Broad Street near City Hall in 1993.

Now Chief Cultural Officer Kelly Lee said that vision has been a success. “It’s also a reminder that the arts are not only an economic generator but a force that connects our communities,” Lee said.

Kelly Lee, director of the Office of Arts Culture and the Creative Economy. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

City Representative Sheila Hess added the arts are also a major source of employment for a diverse group of people.

“It is now bustling with theater and dance performance and incredible hotels and amazing nightlife and so many walks of life of people and families, not to mention the towers of apartment buildings now with 25,000 residents that call the Avenue of the Arts home.”

  • October 3, 2023
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