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Artist Alicia Grullón at a CreateNYC cultural plan meeting. Photo: Hester Street Collaborative

Artists Propose Alternate Cultural Funding Plan for NYC

In response to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s efforts to revaluate arts funding for the first-ever cultural plan for New York City (CreateNYC), which will be announced July 1, a coalition of artists and activists has released a seventeen-page document outlining a number of problems artists living and working in New York face today, including vast labor and public-funding inequities, Jillian Steinhauer of Hyperallergic reports.

The People’s Cultural Plan calls for the city to overhaul several polices ranging from housing, land, and development to labor laws. It recommends instituting a citywide rent freeze on stabilized apartments and city control over rent regulations; eliminating tax breaks for developers building luxury housing developments; creating affordable workspaces for artists via the Community Land Trusts; establishing a program to help employees of color, senior citizens, and members of the LGBTQ community file discrimination complaints within cultural institutions; and passing the NY Health Act to protect all artists and freelance workers at risk of losing healthcare due to proposed cuts and changes to the Affordable Healthcare Act.

“Artists, cultural workers, and cultural access in the city are in a huge crisis,” said Jenny Dubnau. “If you’re going to have a plan in our time, we felt it had to be a powerful, strongly worded, tough, courageous plan. If you’re not going to talk about actual policy that’s making artists leave the city, displacing communities of color, where the funding is so lopsided in terms of equity—if you’re not going to radically approach those issues, it’s not going to be a relevant enough plan.”

Regarding the alternate proposal, a spokesperson from the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs said, “We’ve seen the People’s Cultural Plan and we’re glad to have this thorough set of proposals in hand, along with the feedback from the more than 185,000 New Yorkers we’ve heard from since last fall. The planning process is still underway, and we will absolutely consider these ideas as we work toward releasing the CreateNYC cultural plan this summer.”

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