How New York City is Fighting Back Against Trump’s Budget Cuts to Art Programs

A picture of the Statue of Liberty.

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Early drafts of the Trump Administration’s budget proposed to kill several major sources of culture funding, including: The National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the Institute of Museum of Library services. Nothing is set in stone yet, but New York City, a city which prides itself on being a beacon of art and culture in America, isn’t leaving its fate up to the whims of 45 and his friends.

With the support and feedback of nearly 200,000 New York residents, the city announced a plan this week to support the arts in the city, particularly outside the downtown core. A plan called CreateNYC.

CreateNYC’s priorities are threefold:

First, to provide more cultural services to low-income and minority residents. Research done over the past year by the city shows that most participation in the arts is among the city’s top earners (and is it any wonder, with Hamilton tickets going into four figures?). But most New Yorkers, of all income levels, want access.

Second, to ensure diversity in the city’s cultural decision-making processes. Less than 40 percent of the employees of NYC’s cultural organizations surveyed as people of color, though nearly 70 percent of the city’s population surveyed as the same. One step they intend to take in this direction, with the aid of the DCLA and the City University of New York, is to place paid undergrad internships with as many institutions as they can. Paid internships allow disadvantaged students the chance to gain work experience, and access to careers in traditionally privileged spaces. Additionally, translation services and disability access are being prioritized.

Third, to support individual artists. Grants already offered by the city will increase and multiply under CreateNYC.

“This is an exciting moment for everyone who cares about culture in New York City,” the Cultural Affairs commissioner, Tom Finkelpearl, said in a statement. “We are proud to be the largest local funder of art and culture in America.”

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