Promoting Cultural Equity and Inclusion in New York City: A Guide for All New Yorkers

The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) is dedicated to fostering and sustaining the city's vibrant cultural life. Across the nation, donors are taking steps to ensure equity and inclusion when distributing resources. The Seattle Office of Art and Culture has made a formal commitment to racial equity that includes capacity-building programs, space, and grants in line with the city's Race and Social Justice Initiative. Los Angeles County has launched a cultural equity and inclusion initiative, while the San Francisco Arts Commission continues its decades-long commitment to cultural equity through its grant programs.

Like OneNYC and DCLA's sister agencies across the country, one of CreateNYC's primary objectives is to promote a more equitable and inclusive cultural ecosystem in New York City. Equity and inclusion were the top priorities expressed through the participation of the CreateNYC community. More than three-quarters of residents who participated in a telephone survey conducted by the University of Siena Research Institute said they would like to be able to attend more artistic and cultural activities. According to respondents, location and cost are what stand in their way the most.

Similarly, barriers to equitable, accessible, and inclusive art were also identified throughout the participation process. New York City is teeming with creativity, and New Yorkers overwhelmingly value the arts and culture in their lives. However, for many artists and cultural workers, there is a need to expand access to creative opportunities. Underrepresented communities continue to face historical and persistent patterns of exclusion, both as independent artists and as cultural workers at all levels of institutions. In the future, the City is tasked with prioritizing expanding support to diverse art forms and cultural groups, such as arts for the disabled and people with disabilities. CreateNYC provides an opportunity to support disability art and ensure that it is widely recognized as an art discipline that uses disability as a tool and a source of creativity.

In addition, it presents an opportunity to recognize and highlight disability as an area of identity among artists, staff, leaders, and boards of directors. Looking ahead, New York City's cultural ecosystem can grow in ways that allow a diversity of individuals and groups to thrive. In New York City, art and culture are for everyone. The following are proposals on how we can seek cultural access for all New Yorkers, regardless of the neighborhood they call home, so that people have access to the transformative benefits of culture as consumers and creators. Explore the installation of more than 40 public art images at City Hall to celebrate the 40th anniversary of New York's iconic Percent for Art program. CreateNYC provides a new opportunity to increase equitable funding for cultural organizations in New York City.

These new members were mainly located outside Manhattan and focused on traditionally underserved communities, such as the Bronx Museum of Art, the Jamaica Center for Art and Learning, the Snug Harbor Cultural Center, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Brooklyn Children's Museum, and The Neighborhood Museum. The DCLA, led by Commissioner Henry Geldzahler, and the nonprofit Cultural Council Foundation played key roles in managing the larger program. Performances by Arturo O'Farrill of Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, singer and drag artist Ella Fartzgerald, and awards ceremonies by Andrea Stewart Cousins, New York State Majority Leader, Gia Love, of the Black Trans Femmes in the Arts Collective, and the President of Cultural Affairs of the City Council, Chi Ossé.The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) is America's largest municipal funder of culture and is committed to providing access to art and culture for all New Yorkers. This is particularly alarming because research also shows that those cultural resources are correlated with better health, safety, and education outcomes.

By focusing on inclusion, the agency will continue to collaborate with Future Works Institute for Inclusion training programs for DCLA staff and the cultural field in general. With little fanfare, this innovation opened up an important new source of public funding to hundreds of non-profit cultural organizations throughout New York City. In addition to being a clear priority for New Yorkers, the recent report of the Arts Social Impact Project (SIAP) provides compelling arguments for greater equity in cultural funding. This isn't the first time that New York City has made changes to more fairly fund cultural organizations. In New York City, CETA supported the employment of more than 600 artists to provide cultural services throughout the city, as well as 300 employees in maintenance, guard and other positions in cultural organizations. The city's money now helps provide better equipment, more accessible facilities and even completely new buildings for its citizens. In conclusion, CreateNYC provides an opportunity for all New Yorkers to have access to art and culture regardless of their location or financial situation.

The DCLA is committed to providing equitable funding for diverse art forms and cultural groups so that everyone can benefit from these transformative experiences.