Today, the de Blasio Administration announced that $2.8 million in additional funding will be allocated to over 175 cultural organizations in underserved communities in all five boroughs. The new funding is being made available thanks to an agreement allowing the Metropolitan Museum of Art to charge mandatory admission to visitors from outside of New York State in exchange for sharing a portion of the new revenue with the City. DCLA committed to use this revenue to support the goals from the CreateNYC cultural plan, which identified cultural funding equity as one of its top priorities.
“New York is the cultural capital of the world not only because of our hallmark institutions, but because of the smaller museums, shows, and organizations throughout the five boroughs,” said Mayor de Blasio “They deserve meaningful investment too. This agreement has allowed the Met to thrive while giving us a unique opportunity to increase cultural investment in our underserved communities – allowing us to support the diversity that makes our city great at no additional cost to taxpayers.”
- Cultural Development Fund increase: $1.4 million of the funding was earmarked for Cultural Development Fund recipients. More than 160 groups received increases in their FY19 grants. Groups that received increases either are located in or provide services to high-need neighborhoods identified by the Social Impact of the Arts Project’s report “Culture and Social Wellbeing in New York City.” Groups receiving increases ranging from $1K to $40K include Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center in the Bronx; Weeksville Heritage Center in Brooklyn; Harlem Stage in Manhattan; Louis Armstrong House Museum in Queens; and St. George Theater in Staten Island.
- Cultural Institutions Group increase: The remaining $1.4 million will be distributed to members of the Cultural Institutions Group (CIG) located in underserved communities. The goal is to build on the City’s long term relationship with the members of the CIG and provide greater equity among its members. The funding increases range from $25K to $175K. The 16 members of the CIG receiving increased funding include the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning, El Museo del Barrio, Studio Museum in Harlem, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Staten Island Children’s Museum, and Bronx Museum of the Arts.
The funding comes from an agreement between the City’s Department of Cultural Affairs and the Metropolitan Museum of Art implemented in 2018. Under the terms of the agreement, the Met was be permitted to charge mandatory admission to visitors who are not residents of New York State. In turn, the Met would share a portion of its admissions revenue in the first year of its implementation.
After that, DCLA will permanently lower the Met’s annual subsidy proportionally based on the admissions revenue and direct this funding to other cultural organizations based on the priorities and recommendations in the CreateNYC cultural plan, namely to increase cultural funding for historically underserved organizations and communities. These increases were targeted to communities identified by the Social Impact of the Arts Project, which mapped cultural assets across the city.
This marks another step toward fostering a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive cultural sector that serves all New Yorkers. Related efforts include the Department of Cultural Affairs’ initiative to promote a more diverse cultural workforce. DCLA has also created a number of new programs aimed at engaging historically underserved populations, including people with disabilities and non-English speakers. To learn more about CreateNYC, visit DCLA’s website.
“New York invests more in its cultural institutions than any other city in America,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. “While the returns on this investment are nothing short of transformative for communities across the city, we’ve looked for ways to address historical lack of cultural assets and investments in underserved communities. This agreement with The Met has paid dividends for NYC’s cultural community: stabilizing one of our City’s major institutions with increased admissions revenue, while providing a much-needed boost to organizations that anchor communities across the City.”
“The admissions policy is performing precisely as we hoped it would – our Museum is welcoming record levels of visitors, the increased revenue is supporting our always ambitious exhibition and education programming, and New Yorkers are continuing to enjoy pay-as-you-wish pricing. It is wonderful to see how the partnership that New York City and The Met began 149 years ago is bringing to our City even more support of arts and culture,” said Daniel Weiss, President and CEO, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
“I am thrilled to see an additional $2.8 million invested in over 175 outstanding cultural organizations across NYC,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, Chair of the Committee on Cultural Affairs. “This will empower them to expand programming and reach greater audiences from all backgrounds. We must continue to fight for even more funding to ensure the diversity and accessibility of the arts and culture in our city.”
“It is a great day in New York City when visitors to one of our extraordinary museums help level the playing field for smaller cultural treasures in underserved communities,” said Chair of the Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission Susana Leval. “Cultural equity at work!”
A full list of the recipient organizations is available here.
Photo credit: 1) Stella Maxwell attends the “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art Of The In-Between” Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 1, 2017 in New York City. 2) Wikipedia. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images).