‘A Cultural Plan for All New Yorkers’

CreateNYC, billed as the city’s first-ever comprehensive cultural plan, was released July 19 by Mayor Bill de Blasio, the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl and Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. The plan runs to 180 pages and incorporates input from more than 188,000 New Yorkers acquired through live events, workshops, surveys and other outreach over the past two years.

CreateNYC explicitly targets investments to promote cultural activities in historically underserved communities in all five boroughs.

The city is allocating an additional $5 million toward supporting cultural life in the city, with $1.5 million of that to go toward low-income and underrepresented groups via direct grants and more support of re-grant partners. An additional $1 million will support underfunded members of the the 33 member Cultural Institutions Group of the DCLA. The 33 institutions in the group operate on city-owned property and range from established giants like the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning.

DCLA also will allocate $740,000 to promote greater diversity, equity and inclusion in the cultural workforce. The CreateNYC report notes that while 67 percent of New York City residents identify as people of color, only 38 percent of employees at cultural organizations are people of color. Among junior staff at these institutions, 45 percent identify as people of color, and DCLA plans to pilot a professional development program for cultural workers to help them move up in the leadership ranks.

Also aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion will be $100,000 devoted toward supporting translation services at cultural organizations. Funds will also go toward supporting individual artists, and to promote access for people with disabilities as cultural workers, artists and audience members.

After the federal cultural budget of nearly $1 billion, New York City has the next largest cultural budget in the U.S. at $324 million.

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