New York City is one of the country’s greatest hubs of culture and arts. Part of it is no doubt due to the fact that the city alone has over eight million inhabitants, a higher population than thirty-eight of our individual states. It’s also located near the east coast, which means that it’s one of the most densely populated areas, its residents varying from native-born Americans to first-generation immigrants from across the world.
The city’s also done a great job of cultivating that diversity. Over 629,000 New Yorkers reside in New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residential buildings—that’s more than eight percent of the city’s rental population and nearly five percent of its total population. So when NYCHA gets involved in the arts, it makes a huge impact on the city.
That’s why the announcement of a new center, called Artspace PS901, is like music to my ears. The new space will not only provide 90 new housing units, but it will also provide 15,000 square feet of space dedicated solely for arts and cultural activities. NYCHA has partnered with El Barrio Operation Fightback to make this a possibility, and has received generous backing from the Bloomberg Administration, the Warhol Foundation, Ford, JP Morgan, and others.
Artspace is a national program committed to fostering the growth of arts through projects like Artspace PS901. It strives to not only enhance the success and professional growth of artists, but also to enrich communities with the arts.
To celebrate the creation of this new cultural hub, NYCHA’s Youth Chorus performed at the announcement ceremony. Fitting, it seems, since this Artspace program hopes to foster the development of programs and individuals like those in the chorus. The new space is expected to be completed within two years, opening sometime in 2014 or early 2015.