Philadelphia and Camden Cultural Participation Benchmark Project

Document Type

Research Report




The Philadelphia and Camden Cultural Participation Benchmark Project (Benchmark Project), undertaken from 2003 to 2005, was designed to document the current state of cultural participation in North Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey. These two urban communities had been chosen by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for multi-year investment in order to broaden, deepen, and diversify resident participation in arts and cultural programs and events.

In the Benchmark Project final report, SIAP and partners—Research for Action and Alan S. Brown & Associates—provided a detailed description of cultural participation in five neighborhoods of North Philadelphia and Camden. Though not part of the original research design, the study also demonstrated how the disparate elements of cultural engagement influence one another and form a unique cultural ecosystem. Finally, the team identified a set of strengths and challenges in the community cultural sector intended to improve the ability of the Knight Foundation initiative to accomplish its goal.


In January of 2005, through its Philadelphia Community Partners in Arts Access (CPAA) initiative, the Knight Foundation awarded a total of $4.9 million in grants to 18 cultural organizations located in North Philadelphia and Camden. The purpose of the Benchmark Project was to enable the Foundation to monitor progress towards its goal of increasing cultural participation in these two urban communities.



Date Posted: 09 May 2017