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?
For recovery of the arts and cultural sectors to be truly meaningful, we can’t be satisfied with simply restoring what we had. We have to acknowledge and address the barriers that have prevented too many New Yorkers from entering and thriving in the art world. High rents for living and work space, tuition costs, meager healthcare and job benefits, ballooning operating expenses — these are all costs that increasingly make New York City an all but impossible place for the once common “struggling artist” to even struggle. To create new on-ramps into the arts and broader supports for those already in the workplace, I will triple the number of city-backed summer jobs in the arts, require City grant recipients to pay decent wages, double down on arts education in city schools, and work with schools, vacant commercial spaces, and houses of worship to create new, long-term rehearsal and exhibition spaces.
As Comptroller, I have worked to increase opportunities for M/WBEs seeking to do business with the city. Through my M/WBE University program, my office has worked directly with M/WBEs to better understand barriers and offer valuable support in navigating the procurement process. Additionally, I issued an annual Making the Grade report card for each City agency, measuring how successful each agency is on spending and contracting with M/WBEs. In FY 2020, less than 6 percent of spending at the Department of Education went to M/WBEs. As mayor I would work to develop a targeted plan to work with the DOE and other agencies that have low M/WBE utilization.