David Johnston’s Testimony to the New York City Council, March 11, 2014

David Johnston

David Johnston testified before the New York City Council’s committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries & International Intergroup Relations yesterday. Here is the text of his testimony:


New York City Council Testimony, Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Cultural Affairs, Libraries & International Intergroup Relations Committee
FY 2015 Preliminary Budget and Agency Oversight

I am David Johnston, Executive Director of Exploring the Metropolis.  We focus on solving the workspace needs of New York’s performing artists.

We run two programs for the cultural community:

The EtM Con Edison Composers Residency pairs selected composers needing long-term workspace with cultural facilities that have underused space.  Last year00 New Yorkers attended free programs that showcased the diversity and creativity of NYC-based composers and their collaborators.

Our second program is the Queens Workspace Initiative, a two-year project to analyze the space needs of Queens performing artists, and cultural facilities.  Through surveys and focus groups with Queens artists and facilities, and research into existing data sets, we are analyzing the space needs in this borough, and we hope to propose solutions that address affordability, accessibility and availability.

We thank the City Council for your past support.  We welcome the new members and members of this committee. And I would particularly like to thank the new administration at this time for ending the budget dance, for giving us a baseline, and for proposing a DCA budget that is consistent with previous financial plans.  I am thankful and I hope this signals a new stability, so that all of us can properly budget for needs of the field and for our own organizations.

These prospects are encouraging,  but I urge you to continue to look for ways to expand support for the arts; through One Percent for Culture, for adoption of the Cultural Plan, and for making culture a priority not just in election years – and not just when everyone is flush from victory –but at all times.

We look forward to working with our new Council members, the new Office of the Speaker and this committee.




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