Arts Groups on Edge as New York City Re-Evaluates Cultural Funding

But in pursuing these changes, city officials could be setting the stage for an art-world version of class warfare, with cultural giants and their well-heeled patrons pitted against smaller, less-glamorous institutions that focus chiefly on serving racially and economically diverse local audiences. Mayor de Blasio, a progressive with national political ambitions, has tried to make equity a theme of his tenure.

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Jimmy Van Bramer, majority leader of the City Council and chairman of its Cultural Affairs Committee, with Girl Scouts at City Hall.

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Don Emmert/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The mayor’s team is to submit the cultural plan to the City Council by July 1. Next week, in a prelude of sorts, city officials will release a summary of the views of some 20,000 residents who have commented about culture during public meetings on the plan during the past year throughout city’s the five boroughs.

Jimmy Van Bramer, majority leader of the City Council and chairman of its Cultural Affairs Committee, said he helped spearhead legislation to create the plan and identify inequities in order to establish “more funding opportunities for small, emerging, community-based nonprofit cultural organizations.”

But in a recent interview, he acknowledged a potential unintended consequence.

“There is great concern out there that somehow folks would have funding pulled as a result of this process,” he said, adding, “I don’t think you need to take from one to give to another, to rob Peter to pay Paul.”

Tom Finkelpearl, the city’s commissioner of cultural affairs, said the plan would not necessarily hurt larger groups.

“There will be something that says there are parts of New York City that are under-resourced, and that’s going to be…

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