One Percent for Culture

Testimony on the 2016 Executive Budget


At the City Council Finance Committee Hearing on Tuesday, June 9, cultural organizations throughout the city asked for a $30 million increase in funding for the Department of Cultural Affairs. You can read the testimony of Heather Woodfield, Executive Director of One Percent for Culture below.

I am Heather Woodfield, Executive Director of One Percent for Culture and a practicing 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.

There are over 1,500 nonprofit cultural organizations in our city which welcome over 114 million visitors each year 72% of whom attend for free. These organizations employ over 120,000 individuals including over 56,000 artists. Many of these cultural organizations work in tandem with city agencies to broaden the strong connection between cultural equity and the wellbeing of the city.

Today the arts and culture community is united in asking for a $30 million increase in funding for the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) to be divided evenly between with Cultural Institutions Group (CIG) and the Cultural Development Fund (CDF) in order to expand access to culture for all New Yorkers.

I wanted to share with you just a few examples of the amazing work that could be expanded, enhanced, or embarked upon by cultural organizations with a $30 million increase in funding for culture in fiscal year 2016.

- With additional funding, BRIC would expand our free programming.

- Harlem Stage suggests that, additional support to the citys arts and cultural community couldensure the survival and stabilization of the arts organizations of color who have been dedicated to the service of communities and artists of color, in some cases, for close to50 years.

- Dance/NYC states that, increased funding is necessary to advance an equity agenda by a) including new groups and b) helping currently funded groups scale up their delivery of public value.

- Additional funding would allow Exploring the Metropolis to increase the number of composer residencies and expand their program into western Queens, Fort Greene and the Rockaways.

- The League of Independent Theater proposes that additional funding could help preserve at-risk organizations. Pointing out that, since 2009, at least 71 independent performance venues have been shuttered due to rising rents and gaps in funding (both public and private) since 2008.

- The Center for Arts Education points out that, there are over 200 city schools that still have no partnerships with outside arts and cultural organizations. Additional funding through the DCLA could be used to target education programs to underserved schools to ensure greater equity in the delivery of arts and cultural education.

- The Field expresses that, additional funding to local arts councils via the CDF would provide more support for artists and groups without 501c3 status to better serve their communities

With these examples and the benefits that arts and culture provide to our city in mind, we urge you to increase funding for DCLA by $30 million to be divided evenly between the CIG and CDF. Thank you for time today and for your steadfast support for the nonprofit cultural community. We look forward to continued collaborations between city government, cultural organizations, and artists in order to better serve all New Yorkers.

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