2013-01-16 / Features

Van Bramer Launches One Percent For Culture


(L. to r.); MoMA PS1 Director Klaus Biesenbach; The Chocolate Factory Executive Director Sheila Lewandowski; Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer; The Bronx Academy for Arts and Dance (BAAD!) Executive Director Charles Rice-Gonzalez; and Center for Arts Education Executive Director Eric Pryor. (L. to r.); MoMA PS1 Director Klaus Biesenbach; The Chocolate Factory Executive Director Sheila Lewandowski; Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer; The Bronx Academy for Arts and Dance (BAAD!) Executive Director Charles Rice-Gonzalez; and Center for Arts Education Executive Director Eric Pryor. On January 8, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, chair of the Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations Committee, announced his support for the One Percent for Culture Campaign at an event at MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, strengthening the growing coalition to support New York City’s cultural landscape.

The councilmember’s support adds to the rapidly growing coalition of cultural, business, civic leaders and artists throughout all five boroughs who recognize the vital role of the city’s 1,200-plus nonprofit cultural organizations.

“Through a coalition of hundreds of nonprofit cultural organizations and tens of thousands of New Yorkers we will continue to fight for essential funding we so desperately need for the arts,” Van Bramer said. “By increasing funding for culture and the arts in all five boroughs we will sustain New York City’s dominance as the world’s premiere cultural capital for years to come.”

One Percent for Culture is an unprecedented collaboration across New York City’s cultural and business communities aimed at educating New Yorkers about the value of nonprofit culture to New York City. The city has made great strides by increasing capital support for cultural organizations over the past decade, and this campaign seeks to ensure that the next administration understands the vital role culture plays in the city. Only with future operating support can these investments in cultural organizations provide long-term benefit to all New Yorkers.

The coalition, which has grown to 245 members, seeks to garner a commitment from the city to ensure that nonprofit cultural organizations across all five boroughs receive one percent of the municipal expense budget annually. More than 25,000 New Yorkers have already signed the One Percent for Culture appeal in support of investment in cultural organizations.

Nonprofit culture is essential to the economy and identity of New York City. Nearly 24 million tourists are drawn to the city’s world-class cultural offerings each year. Nonprofit culture creates more than 100,000 jobs and generates $7.6 billion in economic activity. Despite the measurable value of culture to the city’s fiscal health, nonprofit cultural organizations currently receive less than one-fourth of one percent of the overall city expense budget.

Sheila Lewandowski, executive director of The Chocolate Factory and One Percent for Culture Steering Committee member said: “Our cultural organizations have a profound impact on our local business communities. Not only do cultural organizations purchase from, and partner with local vendors, they also help attract customers and engage in creative placemaking, improving our communities. Nonprofit culture impacts New York industries and generates jobs in many fields including employing artists, business support, security services, construction, education, restaurants, finance, and more.”

Charles Rice-Gonzalez, executive director of The Bronx Academy for Arts and Dance (BAAD!) said: “Studies have proven, and my experience has witnessed that culture and community have a symbiotic relationship where one inspires and nourishes the other to improve life and make great art.”

Eric Pryor, executive director of the Center for Arts Education said: “The rich array of arts and cultural institutions across the city’s five boroughs provide invaluable opportunities for our city’s schoolchildren to experience and learn about the arts, culture, history and more. Unfortunately, far too many students attend city public schools that have no relationship or partnership with our city’s cultural institutions. The One Percent for Culture Campaign will help ensure that all of our 1.1 million students have the opportunity for a world-class arts education here in the cultural capital of the world.”

Klaus Biesenbach, MoMA PS1 director said: “Nonprofit culture is essential to our city’s economy and the vibrancy of our communities. Increasing the city funding for nonprofit culture will help ensure that cultural organizations thrive in all neighborhoods and all five boroughs.”

New York City is home to more than 1,200 cultural organizations and thousands of artists. These organizations and individuals create jobs, attract customers to merchants, and generate revenue for small businesses. They stimulate the minds of the citizens and tourists and provide vital supplemental education to millions of New York City students. New York City’s cultural community is a broad spectrum that includes performing arts centers, art galleries, dance troupes, orchestras, nonprofit theater companies, museums, community arts programs, zoos, and more.

For more information about the One Percent for Culture campaign or to join the coalition, visit www.OneForCulture.org.

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