December 2, 2020

Urgent Advocacy Alert: New York City Council Schedules Hearing on Arts Education

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The following letter was sent out to the Roundtable mailing list on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. To stay up to date with weekly e-blasts about advocacy efforts, best practices, current trends, upcoming events, and more, please subscribe to the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable mailing list.

Scroll down for additional advocacy updates and information on ways to get involved in the #ArtsAreEssential campaign! For more information about the campaign, please click here.


Dear Roundtable Community, 

This season we are grateful to the many organizations, arts educators, and cultural workers who have worked tirelessly to engage New York City’s young people at a time when the arts, empathy, and community are needed most. 

We write to you now with an important call to action. 

The New York City Council has scheduled a hearing on December 15 to discuss Art & Cultural Educational Programming in NYC. This is a critical moment for our community to share how they have approached their arts education work during the pandemic. The Committee on Cultural Affairs is eager to hear how individual organizations and teaching artists are navigating current challenges and how the city can further support our work.

We are calling on YOU to submit written testimony to share your organization’s successes, challenges, and recommendations for how the city could support our field in the immediate, short-term, and long-term future.

Directions on how to register to submit written testimony are included below along with other advocacy updates. If you are interested in delivering live testimony at the hearing, please reach out to me directly for more information.

Thank you in advance for helping us advocate for this vital issue. The Roundtable will continue to advocate on behalf of our membership to address the challenges that lie ahead and to ensure #ArtsAreEssential now and always. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions at


Kimberly Olsen
Executive Director
NYC Arts in Education Roundtable

How do I Submit Written Testimony?

  1. Customize this template or create your own! Written testimony can be any length. You can submit testimony as an individual or on behalf of an organization.
  2. To submit your testimony, please visit the City Council’s website (
    • If submitting through the website, select “I only want to submit an online testimony”. Complete the form with your information.
      Please note:
    • For “Select a hearing,” please select “Tuesday, December 15 @ 10am – Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries, and International Intergroup Relations”. 
    • For “Subject of testimony,” please write “Arts Education”
    • The document must be submitted as a DOC, DOCX, PDF only.
  3. Submit to City Council. We believe the sooner, the better. However, written testimony may be 12/18).
  4. Spread the word! Share this email and resources with others in your community.

Other Advocacy Updates

Open Letter to Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza: 

In late-October, the Roundtable sent an open letter endorsed by 110+ organizations to Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza calling on them to designate arts education as an essential part of NYC public schools. 

Since sending our letter to the Mayor and Chancellor, more organizations have signed on! If your organization is interested in signing on, please complete this endorsement form. We plan to loop back with the Mayor and Chancellor’s offices with updated organization endorsements in the near future.

Not with an organization but want to show your support of arts in our schools? Click here to sign our companion petition.

Meeting with Government Officials:

The Roundtable has now begun meeting with government officials, including State Senators, State Assembly Members, Governor Cuomo’s Office, and City Council Members to talk about the open letter as well as current challenges, the impact of arts education, and education policy in NYS. The Roundtable will continue to share advocacy updates and action steps as they become available.