Philadelphia and Camden Cultural Participation Benchmark Project

Document Type

Research Report




In spring 2005, to gain feedback on preliminary findings from the Benchmark Project, Research for Action conducted two focus groups with twenty-one individuals identified as ‘cultural leaders’ who represented sixteen organizations in Camden and Philadelphia. Participants were drawn from Knight Foundation grantees along with others who played key roles in assisting with the research.

Findings from the Cultural Participation Benchmark Project resonated with these cultural leaders active in Camden and Philadelphia. Cultural leaders concurred that community-based organizations fill a gap or need for residents from low- or mixed-income minority neighborhoods, who often do not participate in “mainstream” arts activities to the same degree as others in the region. Leaders shared a glimpse into the complex realities of their work and spoke of the challenges they face in coordinating and implementing successful cultural arts programming in their communities. The focus groups also generated ideas for how cultural arts organizations and funders could expand their notions of cultural participation and surfaced implications for cultural programming, staffing, funding, and evaluation measures.


Cultural Leaders' Reflections on Cultural Participation and Preliminary Research was prepared for the Philadelphia and Camden Cultural Participation Benchmark Project by Research for Action with support by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.



Date Posted: 09 May 2017