BY TIFFANY YOON This morning Phawker joined many familiar faces of Philadelphia media at the Kimmel Center for the announcement of a new Philly-based arts festival. The festival, entitled Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA), is scheduled to begin on April 7th, 2011, and it will run for three weeks until May 1st, 2011. It’s quite a way’s away, but with a grant of $10 million from the late Leonore Annenburg, PIFA certainly has the resources to make a splash. This morning’s press conference didn’t shed much light on the specifics of PIFA’s line up of events or venues, rather it focused on delivering the organization’s mission statement and goals. The arts festival is themed after the decade 1910-1920 in Paris, which PIFA deems “one of the world’s most artistically creative places and time periods.” The PIFA icon will be a giant cube emblazoned with PIFA, “inspired by the Kimmel Center,” which will sit on Broad and Spruce for all of the city to see. Mayor Michael Nutter offered the city’s unconditional support. “Philly rocks when it comes to arts and culture,” he said. He was also happy to note that though the program isn’t scheduled, Philadelphians should expect a performance from the city’s own The Roots and PIFA will be forming a first-time collaboration between The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Pennsylvania Ballet. The PIFA program emphasizes new collaborations, creativity and innovation and “new works and emerging artists not found in other arts festivals.” As a preview of what to expect from PIFA, a portion of the Philadelphia Orchestra joined Making Time DJ Dave P and DJ Static in a live performance. As Dave explained, “what we’re doing may sound really simple, but it’s really difficult to play a dance track under a full orchestra.” Dave P played a Kavinsky track while Static put some scratches in to soften the sound and they were accompanied by a small brass and string section as well as an upright bass. PIFA executives were not at liberty to share much, but more information is promised to be released on April 7th, 2010, exactly one year before the actual commencement of the 3 week festival. Today’s events were intended to simply introduce the idea of PIFA, but as the months pass and more details of the program are released, it will be interesting to see what opinions some of the other Philadelphia arts organizations have on the festival and its impact on the city.
[Photos by TIFFANY YOON]