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Culture Push artist Nancy Nowacek, 2017. Photo: Marie Lorenz. Courtesy of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs.

Ten Cultural Organizations Partner with NYC Agencies to Address Civic and Social Issues

New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs has announced that ten nonprofit arts organizations will partner with city agencies to create programming on a range of civic and social issues including homelessness, workers’ rights, and climate change. Through the Mayor’s Grant for Cultural Impact (MGCI) program, nearly $1 million will support four ongoing collaborations, which also received funding in the 2019 fiscal year, and six new partnerships.

The existing projects that will continue to be backed by the initiative are Concerts in Motion and the Department of Aging’s concert series for retirement communities and senior centers; Irondale Productions and the New York City Police Department’s workshop series, which aims to bring greater empathy and understanding between officers and civilians; Pen American Center and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment’s DREAMing Out Loud, a tuition-free writing workshop for undocumented New Yorkers; and Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls and the NYC Department of Homeless Services’ music and mentoring program for homeless youth.

“We are thrilled that DREAMing Out Loud has been renewed for a second year and will continue to help young writers find their voices, readers and careers in publishing,” said the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment commissioner, Anne del Castillo. “New York is the ultimate city of immigrants, and we’re fighting every day to make the creative economy accessible to all.”

The new partnerships that were announced are between the Beam Center, INC. and the NYC Human Resources Administration, which will enlist young adults to create a public artwork in Brownsville; BRIC and the Department for Consumer and Worker Protection, which will create print, digital, and radio content in support of the worker protection movement; and the NYC Children’s Theater and the Department of Education, which will encourage language development for multilingual learners through music and theater.

In addition, the Theater of the Oppressed NYC will work with the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice to establish theater troupes that will create plays representing experiences of oppression; Dixon Place, National Queer Theater, and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs will produce the 2020 Criminal Queerness Festival; and Culture Push, Works on Water, and the Department of City Planning will work together on an artistic research and community activation project that will involve walking all 520 miles of NYC’s waterfront over the course of twenty days.

“Culture is a defining asset of New York City,” said Department of Cultural Affairs acting commissioner Kathleen Hughes. “These inspiring partnerships between nonprofit cultural groups and municipal agencies offer an opportunity to deepen the connection my agency makes daily between our communities and our cultural partners.” Now in its third year, MGCI is an outgrowth of CreateNYC, the mayor’s comprehensive cultural plan, which aims to increase accessibility and diversity in the arts.

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