NYC-funded art programs slashed by $23 million in latest city budget

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The latest New York City budget slashed its support for municipal-funded arts programs by 11 percent, the result of the $9 billion loss in tax revenue fueled by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The decrease in spending was included in the city’s $88.19 billion budget passed Wednesday — a sum that included a roughly $23 million cut to the Department of Cultural Affairs, the city agency that handles grants to arts organizations, according to the New York Times.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who chairs the cultural affairs committee, told the outlet that he voted against the proposed plan over those cuts, and the fact that the budget also cuts $15 million from arts education services.

“I fight like an animal inside the budget negotiating team for those things,” Van Bramer said.

John Calvelli — chair of the city’s Cultural Institutions Group (CIG), which represents 33 museums and other organizations — said they were “trying to figure out how we do what we have done with less.”

The Coalition of Theaters of Color, which supports theatres in communities of color, will keep its funding of $3.7 million. Van Bramer said that in our national time of reckoning over racial injustice, the council wouldn’t consider cutting anything from the initiative.

The Bronx Children’s museum also faces the possibility of having to limit the programs they usually provide to children as a result of the budget cuts.

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