Councilmen Jimmy Van Bramer of Queens and Stephen Levin of Brooklyn are working to pass a bill that would help New York City remain an artist-friendly city.
The bill would, for the first time, create a systematic cultural plan that would be implemented in neighborhoods throughout the city.
The councilmen are calling on the city to analyze their current cultural priorities, determine what works in different communities and how the services can be better implemented.
“I believe it is imperative that we initiate institutional policies that will firmly set our city’s foundations as the leading cultural capital of the world,” said Van Bramer. “By including these real, straightforward and tangible goals, New York City will have a clear plan and goal as to how to maintain its status as the cultural capital of the world.”
The legislation would also help to establishments that host cultural events
“For many artists in New York City, it is a struggle each and every day to make a living,” said Levin. “By having a cultural plan that maps our cultural priorities and figures out how we can improve conditions for artists, we can make New York City a place more accommodating to artists and the incredible work they do.”
Sheila Lewandowski, founder of the Chocolate Factory in Long Island City, is excited for the possibility of the city taking a stronger interest in the arts.
“New York City is still where the world comes to experience and make art, but if we don’t get serious about incorporating the arts into our continued development from planning to completion, we will develop ourselves into a city without soul,” said Lewandowski. “We’ll be a congested banking city.”
The Brooklyn Arts Council also supports the legislation.
“It is now well known that the arts and cultural sector, and specifically the artists that comprise it, are a major economic engine of our great city,” said council president Ella Weiss. “There is no question that New York City is the creative capital of our nation.”