RECAP: Inaugural Forum for the Creative Economy and Arts in Education Event

“Philadelphia is where creative, determined and collaborative people come to live, work, play and make their marks. Philadelphia’s diverse population of talented, innovative people grow our vibrant creative economy — with passion and a spirit of invention,”  Mayor Jim Kenney. 

Sophie Heng_The Inaugural Forum for the Creative Economy and Arts in EducationSIFTer Sophie Heng, Director of Creative Economy Initiatives, Office of Business Development and Workforce Solutions, was a major part of the team which brought about The Department of Commerce Creative Economy Arts in Education Event which took place Friday, March 31, 2023 from 9am -2pm at Rivers Casino, Philadelphia.  Over 150 community members came together to celebrate and recognize the abundant efforts to advance arts in education and the creative economy throughout Philadelphia. The Inaugural Forum also featured live performances, servings from local chefs and a forum around the importance of financial assistance for creatives in Philadelphia.

Creative Economy and Arts in Education Month launched in March 2023 by the Department of Commerce. The City of Philadelphia Proclamation designated the month of March as Creative Economy and Arts in Education Month in Philadelphia. Throughout the month, organizations from across the city host events from webinars, arts activities, networking sessions, and workshops for creatives. Culminating at the 3/31 Event to celebrate creatives in Philadelphia and amplify a forum of discussion with City leaders.

I was ecstatic to finally be able to bring everyone together in the same room and recognize all of the hard work and dedication of individuals and organizations working to make Philadelphia a more vibrant and equitable city for our creatives and artists … The Inaugural Forum for the Creative Economy and Arts in Education is an important milestone as we continue to celebrate, advocate and support creatives of all ages in our city.  As we build on this work, we are pleased to share that we will soon be launching the Philly Youth Creates Seed Fund Challenge open to Philadelphia high school students – Sophie Heng


Check out a short (1.5 Min) video of images celebrating
the Creative Economy Event in Philadelphia

Department of Commerce also celebrated with recognition awards to the following groups, organizations and individuals
(click to see winners): Task Force Awards | Making Space Awards | Citizen Awards 

Event partners, live performers, speakers and their biographies are listed in the event booklet available online here.

COVER PHOTO: Jimmy Onofrio, Nagiarry Meneus, Sophie Heng (Dept of Commerce) with Steve and Rick (JacksonCor LLC)

Video compilation – LeAnne Lindsay, SIFT’s Social Media Manager

The Department of Commerce is the economic catalyst for the City of Philadelphia helping all businesses thrive. Commerce creates equitable wealth building opportunities through strategic investments and ecosystem partnerships. We aim for Philadelphia to be a more vibrant destination where employers flock, entrepreneurs thrive, and innovation abounds Commerce staff provides one-on-one customer service, outreach, and education to business owners. Commerce also partners with community organizations and business associations to reach all entrepreneurs. Visit us at and follow @PHLCommerce on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

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