Guggenheim image Photo: Jauher Ali Nasir/Flickr

New York’s City Council approved an amendment to the municipal charter to create a comprehensive, citywide cultural plan. First introduced in 2013 by city council members Stephen Levin of Brooklyn and Jimmy Van Bramer, the amendment will establish New York’s first-ever cultural plan by July 2017. NYC joins cities like Chicago and Denver that also recently passed similar legislation.

Here are some details on the amendment via

The plan, which is to be developed and administered by the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), will be reviewed every 10 years and, where appropriate, revised. Every two years the DCA will deliver a report to the mayor and speaker of the city council outlining the progress made toward meeting the plan’s goals. Among them will be addressing issues of affordability, both in terms of housing and studio spaces, for artists living in New York. Another focus will be increasing the distribution and availability of cultural events and facilities in all parts of the city, including arts programming in schools. To these ends, the amendment requires the DCA to establish a Citizens’ Advisory Committee made up of at least 12 members from a broad array of backgrounds to advise on soliciting feedback from citizens and implementing the plan.

“This Administration recognizes that the arts are essential to the vibrancy of our communities and the quality of the education we provide our students — that’s why we have launched a number of initiatives dedicated to enhancing cultural equity and access for all New Yorkers,” said DCA Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl.

Councilman Levin explained the scope of the legislation, adding that the DCA “will survey and identify the current level of service of cultural groups in each neighborhood; detail the feedback from community outreach, establish a strategy to meet the specified needs of each community; quantify the economic impact of arts and culture in the City; and ultimately put forth a targeted approach to increase cultural activity citywide, increase the economic impact of the arts and culture and provide support to individual and emerging artists in the City.”

Houston is credited as the pioneer of this sort of work, having developed its own arts and culture plan in the early 1990s. The city is now in the process of revamping it.

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