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Feature Stories January 11, 2013  RSS feed

Pol Shows Support For Art Community

Joins Campaign For Culture Funding


From left to right: Klaus Biesenbach, director of MoMA P.S. 1; Sheila Lewandowski, executive director of the Chocolate Factory Theater in Long Island City; City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer; Charles Rice-Gonzalez, executive director of Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance; and Eric Prior, executive director of the Center for Arts Education. 
(photo: Nicholas Biondo) From left to right: Klaus Biesenbach, director of MoMA P.S. 1; Sheila Lewandowski, executive director of the Chocolate Factory Theater in Long Island City; City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer; Charles Rice-Gonzalez, executive director of Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance; and Eric Prior, executive director of the Center for Arts Education. (photo: Nicholas Biondo) City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer announced his support for the One Percent for Culture Campaign at an event on Tuesday, Jan. 8 at MoMA P.S.1 in Long Island City, adding to a growing coalition to support New York City’s cultural landscape.

The lawmaker’s support adds to the rapidly growing coalition of cultural, business, civic leaders and artists throughout all five boroughs who recognize the vital role of the city’s 1,200-plus non-profit cultural organizations.

“Through a coalition of hundreds of non-profit cultural organizations and tens of thousands of New Yorkers we will continue to fight for essential funding we so desperately need for the arts,” said Van Bramer in a statement. “By increasing funding for culture and the arts in all five boroughs we will sustain our New York City’s dominance as the world’s premiere cultural capital for future years to come.”

One Percent for Culture is a collaboration across New York City’s cultural and business communities aimed at educating New Yorkers about the value of non-profit culture to New York City. The city has made great strides by increasing capital support for cultural organizations over the past decade, Van Bramer noted, and this campaign seeks to ensure that the next administration understands the role culture plays in our city.

The coalition, which has grown to 245 members, seeks to garner a commitment from the city to ensure that non-profit cultural organizations across all five boroughs receive one percent of the municipal expense budget annually. More than 25,000 New Yorkers have already signed the One Percent for Culture appeal in support of investment in cultural organizations.

Nearly 24 million tourists are drawn to the city’s world-class cultural offerings each year. Non-profit culture creates more than 100,000 jobs and generates $7.6 billion in economic activity. Despite the measurable value of culture to the city’s fiscal health, non-profit cultural organizations currently receive less than one-fourth of one percent of the overall city expense budget.

“Our cultural organizations have a profound impact on our local business communities. Not only do cultural organizations purchase from and partner with local vendors, they also help attract customers and engage in creative placemaking improving our communities,” said Sheila Lewandowski, executive director of The Chocolate Factory and member of the One Percent for Culture Steering Committee. “Non-profit culture impacts New York industries and generates jobs in many fields including employing artists, business support, security services, construction, education, restaurants, finance, and more.”

MoMA P.S.1 Director Klaus Biesenbach added that “[n]onprofit culture is essential to our city’s economy and the vibrancy of our communities. Increasing the city funding for nonprofit culture will help ensure that cultural organizations thrive in all neighborhoods and all five boroughs.”