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?
The arts are essential to our city’s economy, our city’s diversity, our city’s cultural vibrancy and the holistic health of our society. The next Mayor must understand that supporting the arts means supporting our diversity. The next Mayor must understand that supporting the arts means supporting our workers and economy — and strengthening the backbone of our city.
The City can play an extremely active role in reviving jobs in the creative industry, and I’ve outlined a few ideas in my economic recovery plan which include: providing $1 billion in direct relief to businesses, venues, and individuals; mobilizing the City to purchase 250,000 tickets at venues around the city and distribute them to frontline workers and students; opening City grants and financial supports to individual artists and for venue operation costs — not just capital costs; and converting vacant retail space into art studios and hubs along commercial corridors throughout the five boroughs.
One of the core challenges artists and people in arts education face is the cost of living in New York. I have a housing plan to build a new generation of deeply affordable housing. But, for artists in particular, rent isn’t just about housing — it’s also about workspace and rehearsal space. One way forward to supporting our artist community while bringing them deeper into our education network is to connect artists to affordable space to rehearse and practice in every neighborhood of every borough — specifically schools. Opening up public school theaters and gymnasiums to dancers, musicians, and actors during the nights, weekends, and summer months will be transformative. There are over 1,000 of these spaces across the city, they are located in every neighborhood, and they have separate entrances apart from the rest of the school building. There’s no reason we shouldn’t make this vital resource available to our arts community and use it to create more opportunities for our students to get involved and connected to local arts communities.