New York City’s First-Ever Cultural Plan Legislation Becomes Law

On May 18th, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law– Intro. 419-A, in relation to a comprehensive cultural plan. Under the legislation introduced by Council Member Steve Levin and Majority Leader and Chair of the Cultural Affairs Committee Jimmy Van Bramer New York City will begin to analyze their current cultural priorities, determine how different communities are being served and how they propose to improve these services, study the condition of cultural organizations and artists in the city today, and plan how New York City can remain an artist friendly city in a time of skyrocketing rents and a variety of economic pressures. 

“There’s no doubt New York City is a cultural center of the world, and the arts are essential to our economy, our schools, and our vibrancy as a city. We are committed to ensuring all New Yorkers have access to cultural activities, and this comprehensive plan will help unify our initiatives aimed at lifting up all New Yorkers through arts and culture,” said Mayor de Blasio. “I want to thank Speaker Mark-Viverito for her leadership; Council Member Van Bramer, the Chair of the Cultural Affairs Committee; and Council Member Levin for sponsoring this legislation.”

“New York City would not be the cultural capital of the world without our artists. The passage of this legislation provides a unique opportunity to promote the vibrant culture that gives our city life while fostering an equitable, inclusive and artist-friendly environment,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “By developing and implementing a comprehensive cultural plan, we can make sure the contributions of all five boroughs are recognized and celebrated as integral parts of our city’s rich cultural fabric. Once again, I would like to thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, all of the advocates and cultural groups, and extend a special thank you to Commissioner Finkelpearl and the Department of Cultural Affairs for working with us to make this exciting and important legislation a reality.”

The plan requires the City to go out to communities throughout the five boroughs and find out what they want and need in a cultural plan and to incorporate these recommendations into a detailed plan. The legislation also requires the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) to establish a Citizens’ Advisory Committee, which will advise the development and implementation of the plan, and will review DCLA’s biannual reports on the progress of the plan – which are also required by the legislation. The plan itself will be reviewed and revised every ten years as necessary, and the CAC will be dissolved after making recommendations following its review of the second biannual report, or after five years. This bill was passed during the Stated Meeting on April 28.