THE PHILADELPHIA INTERACTIVE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART
“I” IS FOR INTERACTIVE
Philadelphia is not only a creative hub for the region providing jobs and revenue for struggling businesses, our creative arts actually bring in more revenue than sports, retail and medicine (According to the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance). Think of the money spent on the sports stadiums that are used less than 12 times a year.
Currently there is no “contemporary art stadium” for our incredibly strong resources in the Philadelphia art market to get together and play, perform, and exhibit. We have an enormous fiscally healthy Contemporary Art COMMUNITY, with no central place for that community to hold CONVERSATION. As Executive Director of The Philadelphia Salon I have made it my goal for the past seven years to provide a place for the community to converse: linking local artists to local resources in personal and direct ways. When a connection is made through us, and conversation starts, COMMERCE follows! Conversation drives Commerce. Conversation happens when people INTERACT.
COMMUNITY + CONVERSATION = COMMERCE
Philadelphia Creative Vitality Index
Philadelphia clearly has the Creative Vitality Index needed to fund, stock, staff, and maintain a Contemporary Museum both digitally and physically. In 2010 Philadelphia Institutions awarded 7,088 creative degrees, representing 57.7% of such degrees presented within the 11-county region. Such a concentrated number of future leaders and consumers is only one clear indicator of the strength of Philadelphia’s creative economy moving well into the next generation. Our CVI (Creative Vitality Index) is 70% stronger than NATIONAL BENCHMARKS. (According to the City of Philadelphia Office of the Arts, Culture and Creative Economy, please see the following:)
What does a CVI number mean?
A region’s CVI value is compared to a national baseline score of 1.00. For example, a locality with a CVI of 1.30 has a 30 percent stronger creative vitality score than the nation as a whole. In this report, Philadelphia County and the 11-County Philadelphia Metropolitan Region will be compared to local, state and national benchmarks.
A CVI measures two major components:
Community Participation and Employment
In order to calculate a region’s CVI, a carefully selected set of economic inputs related to the arts and creativity in a given geographic area are measured using publicly available data on employment and community participation. The rationale for this approach relates to consideration of the cause-and-effect relationship between participation levels and jobs. The underlying theory is that public participation in the arts or public demand for arts experiences and events is ultimately driving organizational budgets and funding levels, which in turn supports artists and arts-related jobs within the economy. The CVI is made up of eight weighted indicators.
Occupational Arts Employment: 40% of overall CVI
– Captures the incidence of jobs associated with measurably high levels of creative output.
Community Participation based on per capita revenues of arts-related goods and services: 60% of overall CVI
• Nonprofit Arts Organization Revenue
• Nonprofit Arts-Active Organization Revenue
• Per Capita Book and Record Store Sales
• Per Capita Musical Instrument Store Sales
• Per Capita Photography Store Sales
• Per Capita Performing Arts Revenue
• Per Capita Art Gallery and Individual Artist Sales
Philadelphia’s CVI does not need another small arts organization clamoring for grants, tax credits, and philanthropy. What it DOES need is a long-term solution to the top three biggest inhibitors to fiscal growth in the CVI:
1. Depleted funds for public art education
2. Inadequate resource sharing and scattered/unsustainable philanthropy
3. Lack of centralized infrastructure for contemporary arts exhibitions/events
Many entities, ranging from the largest and most lucrative such as the Greater Philadelphia Film Office, to grassroots non-profits like The Mural Arts Program, are in need of the same advertising visibility and actual spaces: Auditoriums, Offices, skill-workshops, large exhibition halls, International Festival Grounds, and individual, as well as industrial studios. Their activities and needs currently overlap, conflict, and compete for dollars and participants.
PIMOCA will naturally become a centralized arts activity hub: it will publish a universal events calendar, it will have active commercial space for local and international exhibits and performances, and it will drastically cut back on overhead costs citywide for arts organizations by stimulating interactivity and resource sharing. Furthermore,PIMOCA will provide a more stable and sustainable environment for philanthropic arts endowments, and future organization’s birth and long-term growth.
Most importantly the business model for PIMOCA is self-sustaining, making it unique among the museums we currently have here in Philadelphia. Once we are beyond the initial building and establishment phase PIMOCA is structured such that it creates its own operating budget through interactivity and essentially pays its own rent annually. There is no need for philanthropic giving once it is established. PIMOCA is built to be self sustaining.
No matter what its final location may be PIMOCA will centralize and showcase our existing resources, and drive tourism back to each participants home base. There is no better location for this project than The Divine Lorraine. The building itself provides an excellent blank slate for us to work with, simply by stabilizing its existing condition and making it secure we are able to exhibit works without all the build-out that condos or retail would require. It is much more cost effective to marry philanthropy and investment to rescue The Divine Lorraine than through strictly retail or residential channels; for successful examples of similar projects we look to Eastern State Penitentiary or museum buildings in Europe which have been stabilized and adapted to modern day use.
Such a unique and storied property, The Divine Lorraine deserves to be put to use for the community. This building once stood as a National symbol of integration and unity in a time that was riddled with race and class separation.
Currently this troubled neighborhood has been labeled America’s 6th most violent area. Gentrification clashes with long-established residents, halfway houses and homeless shelters. PIMOCA would provide this endangered community with a common ground. PIMOCA would bridge the gap between East and West, North and South; it would solidify the Avenue of the Arts and connect Temple University to City Hall instantly. PIMOCA would triple the Museum Mile, turning it into the Museum Triangle- an equidistant tourism path from the Philadelphia Museum of Art down the Parkway to City Hall, to The Divine Lorraine, and back up Fairmount avenue to the PMA again. This would then encompass PAFA, The Convention Center, and Eastern State Penitentiary, which were previously out of the foot traffic loop.
We have every major and minor art community member in the tri-state region behind us. Philanthropists and galleries from NY as well as other major cities on the east coast are ecstatic about the concept. Local power-house entities like The West Collection and Mural Arts Program are eager to participate and have headquarters at PIMOCA, and every single University that has involvement in the arts has expressed overwhelming interest in housing students and studios at PIMOCA. A project of this scope and size may seem daunting until you see all the members of the community that come forward to add their contribution to create a whole picture.
Please, declare eminent domain on The Divine Lorraine and let us move forward and build something truly unifying and powerful for the contemporary arts community. Let’s Interact! Let’s Build PIMOCA!
Caryn Kunkle – Founder, The Philadelphia Salon