The Cultural Plan

Executive Summary

CreateNYC is the first-ever comprehensive cultural plan for the City of New York. It is intended to serve as a roadmap to a more inclusive, equitable, and resilient cultural ecosystem, in which all residents have a stake. Its strategies for supporting arts and culture throughout the city lay out roles for stakeholders at all levels—from residents on a single block to City agencies that encompass all five boroughs.

These strategies build on the strength of the City’s rich history of investment in arts and culture and connect a wide variety of initiatives to be implemented across City agencies. They address current concerns, such as the economic and social challenges of living and working in New York City, and highlight opportunities to support a thriving cultural sector well into the future.

Public input is the foundation of CreateNYC. Throughout months of engagement, the CreateNYC team reached more than 188,000 New Yorkers in person and online.

CreateNYC is designed as a living document that can respond to these desires in a continually evolving city.


New Yorkers believe that quality arts, culture, and science education must be available for every student.

New Yorkers believe in arts and culture for all. They want to see barriers removed, access increased, and better, more streamlined opportunities to learn about cultural programming.

The staff and leadership of the arts and cultural sector should more fully reflect the diversity of our city’s population.

New Yorkers want equitable distribution of arts and culture across the five boroughs, particularly in under-resourced neighborhoods and historically under represented communities.

Neighborhood culture matters. Residents want to protect and support local organizations.


CreateNYC is organized into eight inter-related issue areas. Some areas were laid out in the cultural plan legislation and others emerged as priorities during public engagement.


CreateNYC offers an opportunity to increase the equitable funding of cultural organizations in New York City and invest resources in historically underserved communities.

To further equitable funding distribution, DCLA will create new support for arts and cultural organizations in historically underserved communities, including people with disabilities. The City has long invested in City-owned cultural assets such as the Cultural Institutions Group (CIG). DCLA will continue to do so, with increasing support for those members of the CIG in low-income and underresourced communities. New strategies will support employment policies to increase diversity, equity, access, and inclusion in cultural staff and leadership through professional development and career advancement of cultural workers from underrepresented groups.

DCLA will support disability arts and artistry and artists with disabilities in all parts of New York City’s cultural life. The City will continue to ensure access to affordable arts, culture, and science programming to New Yorkers through the IDNYC program. The City will create stronger communication across socio-economic and language boundaries.


CreateNYC recognizes the fundamental role of arts and culture in an equitable economy and healthy, thriving communities.

To support sustainable growth in the cultural sector and provide New Yorkers with quality jobs, DCLA will prioritize career opportunities for students, establish new opportunities to encourage the professional development of cultural workers from diverse communities, and support wages for cultural workers and artists that enable them to thrive. The City will build on its history as a vibrant center for arts, culture, and science by leveraging private investment, supporting the worldwide promotion of cultural attractions, and ensuring that cultural organizations are part of the City’s economic development strategy. The City is committed to arts, culture, and science as essential components of thriving, healthy communities.


CreateNYC seeks to protect cultural spaces under threat and create new spaces to ensure live, work, and presentation spaces remain affordable for artists and cultural organizations across disciplines.

New York City benefits tremendously from being a place where artists live and work, in addition to presenting their work. The City will strive to preserve and develop long-term affordable workspaces, especially through the Affordable Real Estate for Artists initiative (AREA). City-owned spaces will be leveraged to include affordable artist workspaces and cultural facilities that reflect community priorities. The City will partner in the development of new affordable workspace models and increase access to work, performance, and exhibition spaces in new and existing spaces such as libraries, plazas, parks, and schools. Artists and cultural workers will have improved access to existing and newly developed, physically accessible, affordable housing through targeted outreach. Real estate readiness training and resource pooling will support the long-term sustainability of cultural organizations.


CreateNYC understands that supporting neighborhood character through the lens of culture promotes communities thriving in place.

DCLA is committed to helping existing communities and cultures thrive in place by extending support for its Building Community Capacity program and joining with private philanthropy to increase support for local arts and culture in low-income, underserved neighborhoods. The City will further protect and enhance its cultural infrastructure by integrating arts and cultural priorities in neighborhood planning and re-zoning efforts. By mapping data on cultural participation to inform equitable resource allocation, resources can be directed to arts, culture, and science programs in more neighborhoods across the five boroughs. Local arts councils will be resourced at higher levels to support more diverse communities, cultural organizations, and individual artists. Marketing campaigns and engagement with local community stakeholders will raise awareness of neighborhood-based arts and culture.


CreateNYC understands the value of and promotes opportunities for increased access to arts, culture, and science education for all New Yorkers, within and beyond the public school system.

The City promotes high-quality arts, culture, and science education for every child in New York City public schools—through arts instruction across grades K-12, the integration of arts and science education in Pre-K, and expanded arts education opportunities for English Language Learners (ELL) and students with disabilities (SWD). By replicating successful models, integrating arts and culture in other subjects, and providing more affordable afterschool programs and field trips, the City will work to increase access to culturally-resonant programming and explore opportunities for engaging students’ families.

Older adults will have opportunities to be artist educators and participate in creative aging programs. Access to City resources such as City-owned spaces and Materials for the Arts’ warehouse of free supplies diverted from the waste stream will be expanded. Career pipelines and professional development will support educators and teaching artists from underrepresented groups.


CreateNYC supports increased opportunities for artists to work in public space, recognizes the necessity for public space to remain inclusive for a diversity of people and cultures, and reduces barriers for community-specific programming in public space.

To increase opportunities for artists to work in public space and with public agencies, CreateNYC supports enhancements to artist-led and artist-initiated projects, such as the Public Artists in Residence program (PAIR). A resource guide will outline these and other opportunities for public art practice. To encourage and strengthen public spaces as vital places for creative expression and community building, the City will encourage diverse programming in neighborhood streets, plazas, parks, and community gardens, supported by technical assistance for plaza managers and community members.


CreateNYC ensures that arts and cultural coordination across City agencies connects the dots within government and expands opportunities to integrate arts and culture into the life of the city.

DCLA will partner with other City agencies to integrate the needs of the cultural sector in community and economic development planning processes. The City will help artists and cultural organizations navigate City regulations and permitting processes, and DCLA will host meet-and-greet sessions to facilitate collaboration between cultural organizations and City agencies. The City will establish partnerships—both public and private—to streamline information systems and more effectively communicate cultural funding opportunities.


CreateNYC recognizes that in a thriving arts ecology, all participants in the sector should have the resources they need to succeed in their work.

The City will foster expanded employment within the cultural sector and continue to explore how to provide good jobs with wages that allow artists and arts workers to thrive in the city. Financial management opportunities for cultural workers, connections between cultural organizations and business services, as well as grants to artists will increase support to the 21st century creative workforce. Collaboration amongst public and private partners will encourage cooperative organizational models, help community-based networks coordinate efforts to scale up, leverage citywide promotion efforts, and provide safe and open environments for DIY and alternative arts spaces. A Night Life Ambassador, working as a liaison between the City and the cultural sector, will promote a safe and creative night life. A streamlined Cultural Development Fund grant application process will ease the burden for applicants for City funding.

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