In May 2017, the CreateNYC team reported back a combination of the big themes and recurring concerns from the engagement process and high level data from research. This provided New Yorkers an opportunity to look at a summary of what public engagement had revealed so far, and a chance to make sure that their major priorities were reflected in the final plan.
The 94 preliminary proposals contained in What We Heard outlined a vision for how best to make progress in the issue areas residents were asked to weigh in on. Through the end of May, New Yorkers were asked to respond to the What We Heard proposals and join the DCLA Commissioner at Office Hours hosted in all five boroughs to discuss them in person.
Through this robust and in-depth engagement, we heard from New Yorkers from all walks of life the importance they place on arts and culture. The engagement process reinforced that New Yorkers consider culture to be history, food, art, painting, theater, quilts, museums, dabke, fairs, music, libraries, poetry, science, fashion, parades, drum circles, festivals, zoos, gardens, dance, and more!
We learned some of our strengths are in the range of diverse cultures, plentiful quality programming, and amazing legacy of support for the arts and culture. Some of the challenges are equitable inclusion across all levels, access of information, and affordability. Through it all, we heard resoundingly that New Yorkers value arts and culture—and they want more of it!
New Yorkers showed up at CreateNYC Office Hours: What We Heard to join Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl in conversation about what we learned throughout the engagement process and to provide input on the preliminary proposals.
New York City is home to hundreds of small- and mid-sized organizations, networks, collectives, and initiatives producing quality programming and serving millions of New Yorkers. CreateNYC must acknowledge the expertise of these groups and build on their strengths.
REINFORCE THE NEED FOR PUBLIC SPACES
Actively encourage, support, and strengthen public spaces as vital places for creative expression and community building. Ensure that all communities are able to access and participate in cultural programs and are respected in their use.
GEOGRAPHICAL EQUITY AND SOCIAL INCLUSION
Support arts, culture, and science organizations as spaces for ALL New Yorkers. Increasingly support organizations with missions to serve a broad and diverse population of New Yorkers. Utilize existing neighborhood networks to support community-determined sites of culture.
Increase partnerships and collaboration across the city to allow for expansion and growth of the city’s rich cultural sector.
Increase interconnectedness throughout the sector, across issue areas, and most importantly between New Yorkers living and creating in the city.
The plan must explicitly acknowledge and emphasize artists. Look for avenues to increase direct funding for artists. Above all, artists are community members and want to be able to thrive in place.
So much is happening in New York City, that residents often do not know where to find arts and cultural programs. Organizations struggle to have their programs found by new audiences.
Throughout the process, more New Yorkers have become aware of and engaged with the cultural community. This momentum needs to continue. How can CreateNYC be an advocacy document for residents, artists, scientists, immigrants, and all New Yorkers?
LESSONS FROM PLAN
Over the long-term, DCLA and the City will continue to work together with the cultural community to identify barriers and work toward greater equity, access, and inclusion across the cultural sector.
Below are the key headlines of the engagement phase of the CreateNYC planning process. More details on specific feedback per issue area can be found in each of the issue area chapters and in the appendix.
ARTS AND CULTURE ARE FOR ALL
New Yorkers want to see barriers removed and access increased in order to create, present, and enjoy arts and culture regardless of income, race, ethnicity, immigration status, gender identity, and disability identity.
QUALITY ARTS EDUCATION FOR EVERY STUDENT
Parents, educators, and students themselves want access to arts, culture, and science curricula and programming taught by educators and artists —both in and out of school—that reflects the practices, histories, and cultures of all New Yorkers.
THE STAFF AND LEADERSHIP OF THE CITY’S ARTS AND CULTURAL SECTOR SHOULD MORE FULLY REFLECT THE DIVERSITY OF OUR CITY’S POPULATION
New Yorkers want to ensure that their communities are reflected at all levels of the city’s cultural organizations—now and into the future.
NEW YORKERS WANT EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF ARTS AND CULTURE ACROSS THE BOROUGHS
Arts and culture have positive effects on individuals, neighborhoods, and regions, but these impacts are not evenly distributed. Residents want to see greater support for culture and artists in New York’s under-resourced neighborhoods and historically underrepresented communities.
NEIGHBORHOOD CULTURE MATTERS
Residents want to protect and support local organizations that serve local audiences, local or locally relevant artists, and programming that speaks to local histories and identities.
SPREAD THE WORD
Residents want better, more streamlined ways to access information about cultural programming available across
WHAT WE LEARNED
More than 188,000 residents stepped up to share their priorities, concerns, and ideas about how we can make sure that—here in New York—culture is for everyone. As a result of the CreateNYC cultural planning process, DCLA will continue to engage with cultural workers, artists, dancers, residents, educators, and more through Office Hours with the Commissioner, keeping open channels for communication between the public and the agency and amongst fellow peers within the field. CreateNYC will continue to be an opportunity for collaboration and progress.