Over the last two years, artist Phoebe Bachman has led public art projects about the city budget in collaboration with Mural Arts Philadelphia. These projects aimed to increase public awareness through popular education on the city’s budget process and offer a platform for residents to share what the city should fund. Artistic outcomes included handmade quilts by residents depicting budget priorities, postcards to city council members, a People’s Budget Festival, and a series of People’s Budget posters wheat-pasted across the city. In 2023, we will be creating the People’s Budget Office, an accessible location for residents to learn about the budget from city officials, everyday Philadelphians, and grassroots groups.
PEOPLE'S BUDGET FY23
Produced by Mural Arts Philadelphia and facilitating artist Phoebe Bachman, A People’s Budget FY23 brought together a group of artists to collectively reimagine Philadelphia’s city budget. Selected artists Blanche Brown, Eugenio Salas, Samantha Rise, and Maia Chao collectively worked to visualize five core components of the city budget:
How we exchange and steward
How we heal and protect our community
How we learn and grow
How we live and share space
How we govern and administrate
The goal was to advocate, negotiate, collaborate, and dream of a city budget that is more just, equitable, and sustainable. Through these negotiations, artists created a series of posters wheat-pasted across Philly and held a People’s Budget Festival, in May, 2022 that invited the public to imagine what they want to see from the budget.
Information about the FY23 Budget can be found here.
Artists worked with city officials, grassroots organizers, and advocacy groups to document their budget priorities for FY23. Participants submitted their priorities through a survey process and then they were designed onto posters and wheat-pasted across the city. The artists created their own interpretive posters which included photographs of immigrant businesses, a collaborative piece of music, a poem about budget line items, and a diagram of who makes decision on the budget. Artists also annotated the existing budget, highlighting key bits of information and questioning the existing structure.
Philadelphian’s were invited to take a seat at the table to create the People’s Budget. We created a multi-sensory experience that included a delicious meal cooked by Merceado de Latinas, music by local performers, games to better understand the budget. The festival was hosted at a recreation center, highlighting the need to fund public spaces.
STITCHING OUR FUTURES | PEOPLE'S BUDGET FY22
Stitching our Futures was the first iteration of A People’s Budget series, by Phoebe Bachman and Jesse Krimes . The project brought Philadelphians together to learn about the city’s budgetary process and imagine the possibilities of re-allocating funds towards community investment on their own terms.
Participants were invited to attend a series of online Teach-Ins hosted by artist Phoebe Bachman with grassroots advocates and city representatives speaking about their priorities for the upcoming budget cycle.
Participants were then asked to create quilt squares that depicted their budget priorities. Working through a materially-specific process rooted in the American tradition of quilt-making, these quilted squares were pieced together to form powerful quilts; a patchwork vision of Philadelphian’s stories of community investment and the place of each individual in the fabric of our city. The quilts were publicly displayed at Eastern State Penitentiary to foster conversations about the city budget and citizen-led priorities.
The Philadelphia Map quilt was made by 21 members of the Philadelphia Modern Quilt Guild in May 2021 as part of Mural Arts Philadelphia's Program, 'Stitching Our Futures' project that looked to reenvisioning the City's budget. The budget for the City is much more than a pie chart on a spreadsheet, it's truly about people. We support a budgetary process that is attentive to the many voices of all its people, one that is fair, equitable, inclusive. The budget should not serve to segregate us, but to bring us together in a fair, equitable, inclusive way. The fractured blocks of our quilt demonstrate that we can come together and form a cohesive unit that serves to make us a stronger and more vibrant city.
Guild Contributors: Nancy Arico, Pat Bailey, Cindy Barone, Elise Bowers, Kevin Devine, Margaret Fleisher, Rita Ann Gilson, Nicole Godshall, Polly Graham, Maryellen Grysewicz, Eliza Jones, MeLinda Tatum Kaiser, Lisa Long, Carrie Maria, HelenMarie Marshall, Susan Miesnik, Kyona Nason, Deirdre O’Brien, Bobbi Penniman, Nancy Stevens, Jennifer Wilson
In FY22, The People's Budget was an organizing effort led by multiple groups fighting for a just Philadelphia. There were several events during the budget season including teach-ins, a People's Budget press conference, a May Day event focused on funding our communities, and several other direct actions.
Work from Phoebe included collaborating on the May Day event, and creating artwork for Tax the Rich events. Find out more information about Tax the Rich PHL
Information about the FY2022 Budget can be found here.
Five Year Financial and Strategic Plan outlines the goals and vision for the City, as well as its revenues, spending, and performance analysis.
Supplemental Budget Documents include infographics and updates.
Budget in Brief summarizes the annual budget.
Operating Budget Detail provides detailed information on each City department or agency’s operating budget.
Six-Year Capital Program and Budget outlines infrastructure investments.
Quarterly City Managers Report (QCMR) is a summary report on the finances and management of the City of Philadelphia.
Overtime Spending Action Plan explores personnel costs attributed to overtime.
Monthly Expenditure Reports outline departmental spending.