New York City Is Giving $51.4 Million in Grants to Help Its Hard-Hit Arts Industry Regain Footing

Grantees include Performa, the Asia Society, and the Guggenheim.

The inside of Frank Lloyd Wright's Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Photo by Evan-Amos, public domain.

Over 1,000 arts and culture nonprofits across New York City just received an early Christmas present, thanks to $51.4 million in grants from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA). It marks the largest Cultural Development Fund allocation in the agency’s history—and a boon to a sector of the economy that was particularly hard-hit by lockdown restrictions and is still struggling to return to full strength.

“Through another challenging year, our cultural community has helped to bring New Yorkers back together, to reinvigorate our public and educational spaces, and to set us on the road toward a vibrant, equitable recovery for all,” Gonzalo Casals, the NYC Cultural Affairs commissioner, said in a statement.

“Culture is essential to healthy, vibrant neighborhoods, and there is no recovery for New York City without our cultural community,” he added. “That’s why, with this historic investment, we’re directing support to systematically oppressed communities, to arts education, and to working artists, empowering artists and arts workers to collaborate with New Yorkers on creative programming in every corner of our city.”

The 1,022 grantee organizations stand to receive general increases in funding above the budget adopted in July 2021, as well as targeted funding for purposes such as pandemic recovery, arts education, language access, disability arts, and supporting underserved communities. Those include neighborhoods identified by the city’s Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity and the Social Impact of the Arts Project, such as the Lower East Side, Jackson Heights, and East New York.

Miggy Buck, Rapunzel at Portal Governors Island. Photo by Sarah Cascone.

Miggy Buck, Rapunzel (2019) at Portal, the Governors Island art fair. Photo: Sarah Cascone.

“The newly announced grants will increase funding across the board while prioritizing support for especially vulnerable artists, including low-income people of color,” Danny O’Donnell, a state assembly member who represents parts of upper Manhattan, said. “These are all positive steps that will help get New York where it needs to be post-pandemic.”

The grants are part of DCLA’s $230 million annual budget and are being distributed to organizations of all sizes.

The Asia Society, the Museum of Food and Drink, the n+1 Foundation, Performa, and 4heads, which puts on the free Portal art fair on Governors Island, are among those organizations receiving grants between $10,000 and $19,999. Grants of more than $100,000 are going to cultural heavyweights, such as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

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