The Cultural Development Fund of New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs has received its largest-ever allocation of financial resources from the city, amounting in $40.3 million to help support public programming at nearly 950 institutions. The grant money includes funding for the city’s CreateNYC cultural plan, which Mayor Bill de Blasio initiated in 2015 to be the first comprehensive plan of its kind to address the needs of institutions in each of New York’s five boroughs and to devise “a roadmap to guide the future of arts and culture in NYC.”
In a statement announcing the new grants, de Blasio said, “Together with our partners in City Council, we’re taking steps to ensure New Yorkers in every corner of the city are able to participate in our unrivaled cultural life. CreateNYC gave New Yorkers the opportunity to speak up and be heard, and now we’re building on our long history of supporting the arts while directing new funding to communities where it can do the most good.”
Of the $40.3 million granted, $6.45 million goes to the CreateNYC initiative for 2018. Some $4 million goes to what the Department of Cultural Affairs called “a greater increase for smaller organizations,” and $1.45 million goes to 260 groups working in neighborhoods identified as underserved in a recent Social Impact of the Arts report. Released in 2017, that report made a case for ways in which “cultural assets correlate with a range of improvements in wellbeing indicators including positive outcomes in health, education, and even crime; and that these benefits are associated with culture to a greater degree in low income communities than in wealthy communities,” the DCA said.
In the announcement of the grant allocation, Tom Finkelpearl, New York City’s cultural affairs commissioner, said, “We believe that every New Yorker deserves access to the benefits that art and culture bring to our communities. Thanks to our partners throughout the de Blasio Administration and in City Council, we can make this major investment in the extraordinary work being done by hundreds of cultural nonprofits, supporting an enormous range of programming in every neighborhood.”