Testimony on New York City’s Cultural Planning

Monday, February 27, 2017

Testimony on New York City’s Cultural Planning


On behalf of the service organization Dance/NYC, I am pleased to submit these five (5) specific priorities for advancing the art form of dance through the City of New York’s cultural planning and implementation that have emerged through field research, programming, and workshop discussions with our board and advisors:

I. Strengthened and equitable City funding for dance. Recent trend analyses of 89-Department of Cultural Affairs-funded dance groups show their aggregate City support declined 31% over six years, from FY2008 to FY2014 (State of NYC Dance and Workforce Demographics);

II. Dance education for every child in every public school and increased dance education activity by DCLA grantees. Dance/NYC joins the movement PS Dance! (a fiscally sponsored project of Dance/NYC) in advocating for the City’s continued leadership as both a dance and dance education capital;

III. The development and protection of affordable workspace for dance artists. The challenge of affordability in dance has gained urgency following a spate of rehearsal space closures in an increasingly competitive real estate market;

IV. Increased ethnic and racial diversity and the meaningful integration of disabled people in the dance workforce. Complementing recent demographic research by Ithaka S&R on DCLA grantees, Dance/NYC’s State of NYC Dance and Workforce Demographics research underscores entrenched patterns of exclusion of African, Latina/o/x, Asian, Arab, and Native American (ALAANA) populations and disabled people by dance organizations. Dance/NYC joins a new Disability/Arts/NYC Task Force in advocating for the disability arts and offers specific planning recommendations in its Disability. Dance. Artistry. report; and

V. New policy, programs, and funding for dance artists who work outside of the nonprofit structure and are currently ineligible for direct funding by DCLA. Dance/NYC’s Discovering Fiscally Sponsored Dance Makers research makes the case for support of this segment, and with support from The New York Community Trust Dance/NYC is currently leading (with nine [9] partner fiscal sponsors) a cross-disciplinary research and convening project to understand the demographics and goals of fiscally sponsored artists.

Finally, Dance/NYC advocates a City budget increase to realizing planning goals. Only through a bold and boldly funded plan will the City be able to address inequities that exist in the field and harness the urgent opportunity for national leadership in public support.

Dance/NYC invites the City Council to join Dance/NYC for its annual Symposium this coming Sunday, March 5, 2017, which will use cultural planning as an organizing device to gather critical dance community input. Please also join us and our partners on March 26, 2017, for a convening on the future of fiscally sponsored artists and arts project.

Dance/NYC thanks the City Council, DCLA, and CreateNYC planning team for their leadership and willingness to receive testimony and act on our recommendations.


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