6. Studies show that arts and cultural organizations led by people of color are often underfunded, resulting in limited capacity to provide critical support to young people and communities around NYC. What will you do to provide more leadership around an equitable distribution of resources to ensure their sustainability and growth?
I believe we must support an arts community that reflects the voices and experiences of all New Yorkers. I would conduct a review of arts funding to find ways to improve equity, but my main goal will be to grow the pie for everyone, not just shift resources from one group to another. Given my relationships in the private sector and the philanthropic community I am uniquely positioned to do so.
I will also work with the cultural community, and leaders in underrepresented communities, to put in place clear and standard criteria for additional institutions to become CIGs. That could include minimum period of operation, number of annual visitors, stability of private funding and other types of revenue. Would also prioritize diversity – both in terms of neighborhood, demographic, and type of institution.
As part of my Comeback Festival, I have also committed to funding grants for 1000 artists – and I will ensure there is equitable access to this support. This will include:
- Visual artists (murals, installations, public art and utilizing vacant storefronts as arts spaces etc)
- Performing arts (music, plays, dance, other shows) use underutilized vacant storefronts and other space to stage pop up shows
- Storytelling and story collection: Drawing inspiration from the oral history projects funded by the Works Progress Administration, which sought to capture on audio and video interviews with the few surviving americans who had been enslaved or were Civil War veterans, thus creating an invaluable historical record and research tool that preserved in perpetuity their stories, Ray will partnering with Universities on a similar initiative that would provide grants to writers and storytellers of all sorts to capture the stories of New Yorkers to create a historical record of NY during this time. This will then be transitioned into creating a portrait of New York City in advance of the 400th anniversary of its Charter.