TODAY, Friday, May 19th, Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer, over 70 artists, members of cultural organizations from across New York City, and supporters of the arts held a rally at City Hall calling for $40 million in increased investment in New York City’s more than 1,500 cultural organizations before the Committee on Cultural Affairs and Libraries held a hearing on the FY18 Executive Budget. With funding for arts and culture under attack at the federal level, the City of New York must continue to expand funding for cultural organizations large and small that drive our economy and together make New York City the cultural capital of the world.

“As the Chair of the Committee on Cultural Affairs, I’m proud to fight every day for the thousands of artists and cultural organizations that form the heart and soul of our city,” said Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. “Beyond the proven economic power of arts and culture, the arts save lives, challenge us to see our world differently, and renew our spirits in challenging times. Today, we are not asking for a gift, but a necessary investment of $40 million dollars into the over 1,500 cultural organizations that train and empower artists of every background in every neighborhood across our city.”

“New York City is a cultural capital of the world because the arts are part of our identity and common heritage,” said Tino Gagliardi, President, Local 802 American Federation of Musicians. “Musicians, artists and our cultural institutions have long been cornerstones of our communities, playing an outsized role in the health and vibrancy of our diverse cultural heritage as well as a driving force of our economy. If New York is to remain a place that celebrates inclusiveness, creativity and diversity, we must provide the funding necessary to ensure that all cultural organizations thrive and our valued artists can continue to live, work and raise a family.  I commend Council Member Van Bramer, every elected official here today and our cultural colleagues for standing in support of the arts in New York City.”

“There are more than 1,500 organizations that stand to benefit from an increase in operating support from the City. The #NYCInspires campaign has united hundreds of partners that include arts and culture organizations, along with businesses and private citizens in support of an increase of $40 million,” said John F. Calvelli, Co-chair of New Yorkers for Culture and Arts and Executive VP for Public Affairs for the Wildlife Conservation Society. “The additional funds would translate into new educational resources, new arts programs, increased outer borough tourism, jobs and business development, and most importantly increased accessibility to culture for all New Yorkers in every borough. New York City is the cultural capital of the world and we want to ensure that it stays that way for generations to come.”

The creative sector creates real jobs and represents more than 7% of all jobs in New York City. Last year, the Committee on Cultural Affairs passed the largest cultural package ever in the history of the Committee and increased operating support to cultural organizations by $10 million for the first time in 12 years. In the past seven years, the City Council has allocated more than $1 billion in cultural capital funding.

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