Arts and Culture
What Scott’s Done:
- As Manhattan Borough President, Scott worked hand-in-hand with arts organizations to deliver capital and discretionary funding to support local arts
- Showcased the economic impact of our arts and culture industry as Comptroller
- Conducted a first-of-its-kind, school-by-school breakdown exposing unequal access to arts education for children living in some of the City’s lowest-income communities
- Mobilized with advocates to get the Department of Education to make an unprecedented $23 million baselined investment in arts education
- Fought against cuts to the National Endowment for the Arts, which provides critical support for New York City arts organizations
- Advocated to extend COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all stagehands, ushers, backstage workers, technicians, and other professionals involved in re-opening theaters, venues, and performance spaces
Scott Stringer has fought for the city’s arts and cultural institutions for decades — because arts are at the heart of New York City’s culture and economy. His analysis showed that pre-pandemic, the cultural sector employed more than 293,000 people and generated $110 billion in economic activity — which the COVID pandemic has existentially threatened. His comprehensive plan will jumpstart an equitable revival of our arts and culture with an historic investment in independent artists and arts organizations.
GET THE CREATIVE ECONOMY BACK ON ITS FEET
- Create a relief fund for struggling arts-related businesses, nonprofits, and independent contractors from Scott’s proposed $1 billion NYC Recovery Now Fund.
- Purchase 250,000 tickets to cultural venues, as the City did after 9/11, and distributing them to frontline workers and students
- Expand and baseline the Cultural Development Fund at $50 million and provide operating support, not just capacity support
- Launch a WPA-style 21st-Century Artists Project to support artists and bring public art to all the five boroughs, including a historic mural project to celebrate our city and honor frontline workers;
- Start the “We Support NYC Culture” pledge, encouraging large employers to match all employee donations to arts groups;
- Launch the “New York, New Day” advertising campaign to kickstart the economy and build back tourism;
- Pedestrianize blocks outside of cultural venues throughout the City to reduce crowding, improve the audience experience, and allow cultural venues to have space for outdoor events.
DRIVE EQUITY IN THE ARTS AND ARTS EDUCATION
- Triple the number of City-backed summer jobs for high schoolers and CUNY students in the cultural sector and improving industry wage standards
- Require City grant recipients to pay decent wages and ban unpaid internships
- Double down on arts education in city schools, including ensuring that every school has at least one full-time, certified arts teacher
- Create separate a budget line for arts education to ensure the specific attention its requires
- Open up branch libraries seven days per week;
- Designate an Artist Laureate and Youth Artist Laureate in every Community District and hold an annual exhibition of their work
- Launch “Museums to the People” to bring select collections and works outside of museum walls and to New Yorkers in their communities
- Build a transportation system that better serves artists, audiences, and other off-peak workers.
UNPRECEDENTED SUPPORT FOR INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS
- Set aside 15% of City grant funds for individual artists, performers, arts collectives, and arts organizations that are “fiscally sponsored” rather than registered nonprofits.
- Help artists in every neighborhood access affordable work and rehearsal space by opening up city-owned buildings like New York City public schools to local artists.
- Establish a “New Deal” package of workplace protections and benefits for independent contractors.
- Improve access to affordable housing by revamping the lottery process to ensure those with more volatile incomes are not disqualified from applying for affordable housing.
- Help New York City musicians by supporting more live music in bars and restaurants throughout the day.
- Open up “Materials for the Arts” — a program to distribute and recycle arts materials — to individual artists.
- Drive down healthcare costs and improve healthcare access at small arts organizations.
CUT RED TAPE, STREAMLINE SUPPORT FOR CULTURAL NONPROFITS AND BUSINESSES
- Launch “Small Business and Nonprofit Express” within the Mayor’s Office, a single point-of-contact for starting a nonprofit or business, scheduling inspections, and obtaining and renewing a permit;
- Waive fees at all City agencies for cultural nonprofits;
- Legalize and accelerate permitting for do-it-yourself (DIY) venues across the five boroughs;
- Expand MEND NYC to help mediate conflicts rather than punish cultural venues for quality-of-life complaints.
- Eliminate the last vestiges of the Cabaret Law.
- Create a property tax exemption for small and medium-size cultural nonprofits who rent their spaces;
- Work with ConEd to subsidize electricity rates for cultural organizations
- Help arts organizations share and manage costs.