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NYC will bolster arts funding and access through comprehensive cultural plan

CreateNYC looks to particularly address the needs of the city’s low-income communities

Wave Hill, one of the lesser known institutions in the city, will be bolstered by this plan.
Wave Hill

Following months of planning, that involved feedback from nearly 200,000 New Yorkers, the city has unveiled a comprehensive plan to bolster the arts in the city, particularly the outer boroughs, a plan they’re calling CreateNYC.

Amid growing concerns that President Donald Trump wants to cut back funding from the arts, New York City has remained steadfast, and this latest effort seeks to allocate even more funds to the arts in the city. Already New York City spends more money on the arts than any other city (or even state for that matter) in the United States, according to ArtNews, and this plan will now bolster lesser known and funded arts institutions.

“This is a city of unmatched cultural richness that expresses itself on sidewalks, in storefronts, in museums, theaters and parks in every single corner of the five boroughs. New York City is the world capital of art and culture,” Mayor Bill de Blasio, said in a statement. “If we are going to continue to live up to that title we must use every tool we have to ensure that every resident, in every neighborhood, has the same access to cultural opportunities.”

Some of the salient features of this plan are as follows:

  • Increasing services for low-income and underrepresented New Yorkers: The city’s Department of Cultural Affairs will spend $1.5 million towards increased cultural programming in low-income neighborhoods. Research conducted by the city showed that participation in the arts was 20 percent higher among the top earning bracket in NYC even though 75 percent of all New Yorkers say they would like to participate in artistic or cultural activities.
  • To increase diversity in the city’s cultural organizations: Only 38 percent of the employees at the city’s cultural organizations identify as people of color, even though 67 percent of the city’s overall population identifies as people of color. The DCLA is planning to pilot a professional program to reach these goals and continue to support the City University of New York’s efforts to place undergrads in paid internships at the city’s various cultural institutions.
  • Providing financial support to individual artists: The research conducted by the city showed that 40 percent of arts and culture workers citywide could not afford art supplies, and 75 percent had to supplement their income from other work. The city has decided to up the number of grants for artists.

Some other features include promoting access for people with disabilities, and promote translation services in cultural institutions.

A major concern among some of the city’s top cultural institutions had been that funds would be cut from their budget to support smaller organizations, according to the New York Times. But this proved not to be the case, and members of the Cultural Institutions Group (CIG), which includes the Met, and the Museum of Natural History will continue to receive the city’s support.

“This is an exciting moment for everyone who cares about culture in New York City,” the Cultural Affairs commissioner, Tom Finkelpearl, said in a statement. “We are proud to be the largest local funder of art and culture in America and with CreateNYC in hand, we can make sure that our investments in this singular asset help to address concerns, opportunities, hopes, and priorities that residents voiced loud and clear.”