A message from the Chamber’s President & CEO Rob Wonderling to our community.

Dear Friends,

Two weeks ago the Chamber’s Arts + Business Council gathered our community in recognition of the leaders who are doing groundbreaking work to support our region’s creative economy. It was a true celebration of the diversity and passion of our cultural community and I encourage you to watch the event in full and challenge you to not be choked up at times.

Lorene Cary’s acceptance speech was particularly moving. A playright, author, educator, and civic leader, her poignant observations both expressed gratitude to those who have come before her but also foreshadowed the work still to come; closing with the hopeful line from her novel, The Price of a Child, “could be change.”

Cary’s words and those of her fellow honorees have resonated with me over the past weeks and I’ve been pondering what we can learn from the creative community in our search for equity and a path forward.

For starters, the way we approach conversations in art is so different than how they are approached in other civic and social situations. I’ve never left a classical music concert angry. I’ve never thought worse of someone for their individual artistic expression. And while there is certainly art I personally might not like, the dislike has never kept me from participating in spirited debate or kept me from glimpses at new points of view.

The ability to dislike but to still discuss. To not understand but to strive for interpretation. These are cornerstones of how the creative mindset can support difficult conversations.

In art, as in so many things in life, our interpretations may be our own but it is the collective experience that brings us together. When we can bring the mindset of creative conversations to other venues we’ll be well on our way to building a more equitable future.

Stay safe, connected, and healthy, and continue to let us know how we can help.


Rob Wonderling
President & CEO
The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia