A New Yorker will head new Phila. arts & culture agency

Philadelphia shed its status as the biggest city in the country to lack a cultural affairs office yesterday, as Mayor Nutter issued an executive order creating the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy.

Nutter also named Gary Steuer, a New Yorker with extensive experience in the world of non-profit cultural organizations, as the city's Chief Cultural Officer. Steuer will be a member of Nutter's cabinet and report directly to the mayor.

"We are very serious about arts and culture and the creative economy here in Philadelphia," said Nutter, who was given a standing ovation by the more than 200 members of the arts community that attended the announcement. "Art and culture are not just about pretty pictures and performances . . . it is also an economic development tool, a tremendous asset for the city."

Contact staff writer Patrick Kerkstra at 215-854-2827 or pkerkstra@phillynews.com. Read the city hall blog at http://www.HeardInTheHall.com