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Bloomberg Announces Five Initiatives To Help Strengthen NY City's Cultural Sector

Press Release


City to Provide Space, Job Training and Financial Guidance to Cultural Institutions and Artists to Help Them Weather the Economic Downturn

Supporting the Arts, Ensuring New York City Remains the Cultural Capital of the World and Diversifying the Economy are Part of the City’s Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) President Seth W. Pinsky and Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin today announced five initiatives to support the 1,400 nonprofit cultural groups, 40,000 employees and countless artists that comprise New York City’s cultural sector. Through the initiatives, the City will provide space for art exhibitions, specialized job training and financial guidance to cultural institutions and artists. New York City’s nonprofit cultural groups generate more than $5.8 billion in economic impact through direct spending, attesting to New York City’s continued role as a global capital for culture. The programs build on a set of initiatives Mayor Bloomberg announced in April to help all of New York City’s nonprofit organizations survive the economic downturn.

“New York City’s standing as the cultural capital of the world is one of our great strengths,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Our cultural institutions and artists contribute to a creative spirit unmatched anywhere else, and we recognize how important it is to do everything we can to make sure they continue to flourish. That’s why we’re implementing five new initiatives to support the City’s cultural sector by providing space for art exhibitions, specialized job training for those seeking employment and financial guidance to cultural institutions and artists.”

“New York’s world-famous arts and cultural institutions large and small are an integral part of the fabric of our City, helping to create the dynamism and excitement that make New York an attractive place for visitors and residents alike,” said NYCEDC President Pinsky. “By working to support the endeavors of our arts and cultural community during these difficult economic times, NYCEDC and the Department of Cultural Affairs are aiming to ensure a vibrant future for both the creative people and institutions that comprise this crucial sector.”

“A thriving cultural sector is critical to New York City’s economy, identity and quality of life,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Levin. “Thanks to our collaboration with NYCEDC, these initiatives will support our vital nonprofit cultural sector in these difficult economic times. They will also provide new opportunities for the City’s artists, whose creativity and innovation serve audiences from across the five boroughs and around the world.”

The five new initiatives are:

Curate New York City – The Curate New York City program will offer visual artists a new opportunity to display their work for free across a portfolio of City-owned properties managed by NYCEDC. Exhibits will run for up to one month and rotate through the 12 to 18 month duration of the program that is expected to begin in 2010. Potential properties include: the Essex Street Market Building, the Brooklyn Army Terminal lobbies and atrium, Fulton Ferry Landing, and Richmond County Bank Ballpark restaurant space. NYCEDC will issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) tomorrow, and – in cooperation with the Department of Cultural Affairs – will identify a lead organization to oversee the solicitation and selection of artists to participate in the program.

New York City Performs – In an effort to increase the availability of affordable performance space and simplify the permitting process, NYCEDC and the City’s Department of Parks & Recreation will provide organizations with publicly-accessible outdoor space free of charge at locations throughout the City such as the St. George esplanade. NYCEDC will release an RFP tomorrow to identify a lead arts organization to oversee the solicitation and selection of artists to participate in the program. Selected shows will run through spring and summer 2010.

JumpStart for the Arts – The City continues to develop strategies to retain and retrain talented workers affected by the challenging economic climate. Similar to JumpStart New Media launched in July, the City will initiate Jumpstart for the Arts, a training program for up to 50 displaced entrepreneurial junior to mid-level professionals to apply their skill sets to the nonprofit arts and cultural sector. The program will provide organizations within the sector a pre-screened pool of highly-qualified candidates for placement. JumpStart for the Arts will comprise a five-day intensive boot camp focusing on basic skills that appeal to nonprofit cultural organizations. Participants will have opportunities to interact with leaders in the arts/culture sector through guest lectures and networking events. NYCEDC will select a partner organization to help design and oversee the program, which will launch later this year.

Artists as Entrepreneurs – Today’s competitive art market increasingly demands artists to be equipped with entrepreneurial skills that extend beyond their craft. To address these needs, the City will administer a pilot program to provide artists and creative professionals with the skills to reach target markets, set financial goals, build effective teams, and develop viable business plans. Upon selection of an organization to oversee the program, Artists as Entrepreneurs will hold a five-day training program to assist artists in determining the viability of their business plan and outline the steps necessary to implement the plan. Upon completion of the program, participants will have access to low-cost studio space at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, operated by Chashama, an organization created to find ways to connect artists with vacant real estate at subsidized rates. NYCEDC will issue an RFP tomorrow for a third-party organization to develop and implement the pilot training program.

“Chashama is happy to be developing a new partnership with EDC, joining resources to promote artistic development in tandem with entrepreneurial practices,” said Chashama Founder and Artistic Director Anita Durst. “The new facilities will offer space to 30 additional artists. We look forward to deepening our presence in Sunset Park, and plan to have activities for artists to interact with the local community, including a youth outreach program.”

Arts Clusters Promotion Program – In addition to the world renowned art and cultural institutions of Manhattan, many clusters of artists and cultural organizations exist in the neighborhoods and communities throughout the five boroughs. To increase awareness and promote visitation of these art consortiums, NYCEDC will release an RFP tomorrow to identify two local art clusters to receive grants of $25,000 each, an amount that will be matched by a group of arts organizations and businesses as representatives of the clusters. The clusters and their representatives will be tasked with the development and implementation of a strategic marketing program and incentives packages designed to draw local and citywide audiences into their communities.

“The Alliance for the Arts strongly supports the City’s efforts to market and strengthen the arts industry,” said The Alliance for the Arts President Randall Bourscheidt. “We have an opportunity and a responsibility to encourage the ongoing development of New York City’s unparalleled resources to ensure that our artists and cultural organizations flourish throughout the area. Investing in the arts organizations and artists who live and work in New York City is more than a way to promote an individual artistic legacy; it sends a statement that the City is devoted to providing the necessary resources towards building a cultural infrastructure to set the stage for future growth in the sector.”

The Bloomberg Administration’s Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan is a comprehensive strategy to bring New York City through the current economic downturn as fast as possible. It focuses on three major areas: creating jobs for New Yorkers today, implementing a long-term vision for growing the city’s economy, and building affordable, attractive neighborhoods in every borough. Taken together, the initiatives that the City has launched to achieve these goals will generate thousands of jobs and put New York City on a path to economic recovery and growth. To learn more about the plan, visit nyc.gov.

Recent Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan announcements to help diversify the New York City economy include:

  • A marketing and tourism agreement to boost travel between New York City and London.
  • Broadway had its biggest season ever, selling 12 million tickets generating $943 million.
  • More than 800 retailers throughout the five boroughs participated in Fashion’s Night Out.
  • Resources for workforce training to New Yorkers for jobs in a green economy.
  • ImClone will locate its research headquarters at the City’s new bioscience complex.
  • A plan to create 11,000 permanent industrial jobs on Brooklyn’s working waterfront.
  • Eight initiatives to strengthen the media industry in New York City.
  • New international cruise activity, growing New York City’s 13,000-job cruise industry.
  • Steps to help New York City’s bioscience companies compete for Federal funding.
  • Legislation that will green buildings and create 19,000 construction jobs.
  • Green projects at the Brooklyn Navy Yard are creating more than 1,700 permanent jobs.
  • Comprehensive initiatives to support the nonprofit sector and its 490,000 jobs.
  • New programs to provide training and resources for City’s future entrepreneurs.
  • The start to construction of the International Gem Tower, which will house 3,000 jobs.

Other recent Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan announcements include:

  • Stimulus funds to begin training for 90 new FDNY Emergency Medical Technicians.
  • An increase in MWBE contracts in FY 2009, bringing the total to more than $1 billion.
  • The City hosted a bilingual small business seminar for Latino business associations.
  • A $150 million redevelopment plan for the Staten Island Homeport.
  • The approval of Recovery Zone bonds to create 960 jobs in Queens and Brooklyn.
  • The City financed 12,500 low- and middle-income affordable units in the last year.
  • The start of construction of the $148 million East River Waterfront Esplanade.
  • The first housing projects to start using TCAP stimulus funds, creating 2,800 jobs.
  • The start of construction of an affordable housing complex in the South Bronx.
  • Steps to prevent a speculative purchase of Ocelot Capital Group sites in the South Bronx.
  • Plans for the first 120 units of the Seaview Senior housing project in Staten Island.
  • SecondMarket, Inc. will create 367 new jobs in Lower Manhattan through JCRP.
  • $1 million to create a shared commercial kitchen at La Marqueta in East Harlem.
  • The start of construction of a 600-unit mixed-income complex in the Bronx.
  • The start of construction of major improvements to Queens Plaza and Jackson Avenue.
  • $100 million for 14 infrastructure projects across Queens that will create 400 new jobs.
  • The adoption of the City’s plan for Coney Island that will create more than 30,000 jobs.
  • New initiatives to help support Hispanic-owned small businesses.
  • The opening of China Construction Bank’s New York City office.
  • 11 new initiatives to support the financial services sector and promote entrepreneurship.
  • $350,000 in NYC Business Solutions Training Funds awarded to small businesses.
  • Enhancements to the City’s Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Program.
  • The opening of a 125-unit mixed income housing development in the Central Harlem.
  • A record 10,500 job placements through the first half of 2009.
  • A plan to convert unoccupied apartments and stalled sites into affordable housing.
  • The opening of New Mount Hope Community Center in the Bronx.
  • The purchase of the Hunter’s Point South site to create a new, affordable neighborhood.
  • A public campaign to help more New Yorkers get free foreclosure prevention services.
  • The start of services of the Park Slope 5th Avenue Business Improvement District.
  • A stimulus-funded bond program to spur commercial and industrial projects citywide.
  • The City will use nearly $32 million to train 10,000 New Yorkers for jobs.
  • New space for 20 small businesses in Bushwick, creating more than 80 industrial jobs.
  • City’s Workforce1 Centers in Harlem and Jamaica received awards for innovation.
  • Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) program to encourage grocery stores.
  • City-supported loans unavailable from banks to help small businesses stay in operation.
  • Three new Financial Empowerment Centers offering free, one-on-one financial coaching.
  • Stimulus funding to help the City provide summer jobs for 51,000 young New Yorkers.
  • The opening of New Hope Walton Project, housing for low-income residents in Harlem
  • New affordable housing at Gateway Building, a long-vacant structure in the South Bronx.
  • The Harlem Business Assistance Fund to help businesses relocate to the 125th Street area.
  • The expansion of NYC Business Express to help businesses obtain permits and licenses.
  • The “Nine in ’09” campaign to promote economic activity in diverse neighborhoods.
  • A Center for Economic Opportunity program put 4,000 low-income New Yorkers in jobs.
  • Stimulus-funded community development projects that will strengthen neighborhoods.
  • Stimulus-funded Housing Authority projects that will create jobs for 3,255 New Yorkers.
  • The start of construction of 103 units of affordable housing in Brownsville.
  • The opening of Home Depot in the South Bronx creating 200 new permanent jobs.
  • The latest round of training funds to help small businesses train their employees.
  • The placement of 50 laid-off New Yorkers into positions at entrepreneurial companies.
  • New York City achieved a record 5,000 job placements through the first quarter of 2009.
  • Help for a beer distributor to create 55 permanent and 30 construction jobs in the Bronx.
  • Federal stimulus transportation projects that will create or preserve 32,000 jobs.
  • Steps the City is taking to help small businesses adapt to conditions and avoid layoffs.
  • A plan to create and retain 400,000 jobs over the next six years.

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