Dianne Morales

12. How can the city play a more active role in reviving jobs in the creative industry and broadening access to the arts in local communities?

My economic platform focuses on building a solidarity economy, meaning that people and communities are prioritized before developers and large corporations. The arts are an invaluable tool for cultural education and socialization. I believe that grassroots community efforts must be prioritized in our recovery plan. I support a tax relief plan for small businesses, including nonprofit arts institutions. Rather than focusing on Wall Street or large corporations as the solution to our recovery, we should focus on providing tax relief, subsidies, and low-to-no interest loans to our small businesses so they can jumpstart our recovery by bringing jobs back to New Yorkers. Further, we should target outreach and City assistance for these programs towards neighborhoods most impacted by the pandemic. This will help to ensure that information and language barriers do not prevent valuable small businesses from getting the relief they deserve. One of the quickest things we can do to support these institutions is an immediate commercial rent moratorium. This is a significant cost for every organization, and a suspension would allow them to regain their footing and rehire artists. In addition to instituting a moratorium, my administration would seek to enact commercial rent stabilization so that organizations can plan out their long-term goals without worrying about an unreasonable rent hike.

Further, a Morales administration would lobby tirelessly at the federal and state level to demand more support. This new stimulus bill will be a great help, but it is not enough. I will fight this so our arts institutions and our communities get the investments they need. I would also ensure my administration restores and expands funding to arts and cultural institutions, particularly arts groups that primarily serve communities hardest hit by the pandemic. Rather than developing a list or arts groups in a silo, my administration would actively consult with communities to determine which institutions are most important to them. Further, I would continue to encourage schools to partner with arts groups. Students would not only benefit from more arts instruction, but they could be assigned projects that simultaneously teach them valuable skills and help these institutions solve pressing problems.

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NYC AiE Roundtable