One Percent for Culture

Testimony on the 2015 NYC Executive Budget

6.6.2014

Testimony on the 2015 Executive Budget presented by Heather Woodfield on behalf of One Percent for Culture at the New York City Council Finance Committee Hearing on June 6, 2014

Iam Heather Woodfield, Executive Director of One Percent for Culture and a practicing Long Island City based artist. I want to thank the Council for the opportunity to testify on behalf of One Percent for Culture and our over 550 Coalition Partners which include cultural organizations, small businesses, and civic and social service organizations throughout the five boroughs and in all 51 City Council districts.

First, we want to thank the Mayor and the City Council for recognizing the value of culture by baselining funding and ending the budget dance. This vital step continues to demonstrate that you understand that a sustainable funding model for culture allows cultural organizations to better serve our great city. Cultural organizations and artists are essential to our economy, they provide supplemental education to our children, and they contribute to our citys cultural vibrancy which serves our citizens. It is vital that the city continue to support the full scope of nonprofit culture which includes organizations of all sizes, all disciplines, and in all neighborhoods whose collective work support and serve communities throughout our city. That is why a diverse range of cultural organizations are joining together and taking the first steps toward developing common language and shared goals.

The Cultural Institution Groups (CIGs) are essential to our communities playing a distinct and important role in community development. We ask that you continue to baseline the funding for both the CIGs and the Cultural Development Fund (CDF) which supports the Program Category. We also ask that you support the $6 million increase to the CDF which the New York City Arts Coalition requested in the Preliminary Budget Hearing in order to provide an opportunity to fund newer groups and increase funding for those which are underfunded.

As you know the Mayors Executive Budget includes $23 million dollars in new funding for Arts Education in the Department of Educations budget. We commend the Mayor and the City Council for creating this new funding pool. A recent report from Comptroller Stringers office identified that 244 of our schools do not have a partnership with a cultural organization. We in the cultural community want to ensure that this number decreases because all NYC students deserve the opportunities that cultural partnerships provide. We are therefore asking that additional new funding be added to the Department of Cultural Affairs budget to help cultural organizations create partnerships with these schools.

Finally, as we look forward to the budget cycles of 2016 and beyond, we want you to be our partners in creating a sustainable funding model for New York City culture and move closer to the goal of increasing funding for culture to one percent of the municipal expense budget, which 75% of City Council Members have indicated they support. We recognize that this kind of increase cannot happen rapidly, but in order for culture to continue serve our citys communities, we must make steps toward this goal.

We thank you for your time in listening to us today and in the many meetings you have had with us individually. We look forward to continuing to build partnerships and collaborations between city government and the cultural community in order to better serve all New Yorkers.

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