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WCL Founder Hal Real honored with Changemaker Award by Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance
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WCL Founder Hal Real honored with Changemaker Award by Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance

September 15, 2023

The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance will host its Annual Meeting & Arts Party on Thursday, October 12, at The Mann Center for the Performing Arts, celebrating the robust arts and culture community that makes the Philadelphia region shine and thrive. In honor of the rich musical traditions and innovations that are the hallmarks of the sounds of Philadelphia, a special 2023 musical theme – A Celebration of Music Makers – will highlight the region’s diverse musical community, while the Cultural Alliance debuts three awards to honor outstanding leaders and trailblazing programs from the Philadelphia region’s arts communities, including:

  • Changemaker Award – Hal Real, Founder and CEO, World Cafe Live
  • Collaborator Award – Catherine M. Cahill, President and CEO, the Mann Center for the Performing Arts (“the Mann”)
  • Next Award – Project 440

“Hal Real of World Cafe Live, Cathy Cahill of the Mann, and Project 440 have enriched our city’s musical legacy and are true advocates of the arts,” said Patricia Wilson Aden, President & CEO, Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. “We hope our fellow arts and culture advocates will join us in honoring them, while celebrating the immeasurable contribution of the entire arts and culture sector to the region’s vitality.”

Creativity and commitment keep our industry moving forward. The Changemaker Award honors an individual who has exhibited visionary leadership and initiative to create lasting change in the arts and culture community in the Philadelphia region and beyond.

Honoring Hal Real
Founder and CEO, World Cafe Live
Founding board member, NIVA and NIVF

Hal Real is the founder and CEO of World Cafe Live, a nonprofit independent live music, restaurant, and events venue located in Philadelphia, PA since 2004. In 2008, Hal and colleagues launched LiveConnections, a nonprofit organization dedicated to music education and community engagement that has reached more than 60,000 participants, mostly from Philadelphia schools. In late 2019, the two organizations became one unified nonprofit under the World Cafe Live name.

Hal is a founding board member of NIVA (the National Independent Venue Association) and NIVF (the National Independent Venue Foundation), serving as president of the Foundation board. Formed in April 2020, just three weeks into the pandemic’s shutdown, NIVA was the driving force behind lobbying and grassroots efforts to pass the bipartisan Save Our Stages Act. Officially named the Shuttered Venues Operators Grant Program, it was signed into law as part of the second COVID-19 Relief Bill on December 27, 2020. The program allocated $16.5 billion in federal emergency relief via the Small Business Administration, saving the live performing arts industry from mass collapse.

Hal is the immediate past board chair of the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, chair of the People’s Light Honorary Board (Malvern, PA) and a board member of the Freire (Charter Schools) Foundation. He is a graduate of Kenyon College and Temple University School of Law.