EtM’s David Johnston Gives Testimony at NYC’s Cultural Budget Hearing at City Hall

David Johnston


New York City Council
Cultural Affairs, Libraries & International Intergroup Relations Committee
Council Chambers – City Hall
Preliminary Budget Hearing Testimony FY17
Wednesday March 23, 2016 1 PM

Testemony City Hall My name is David Johnston and I am the Executive Director of Exploring the Metropolis. I would like to thank Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer and the Cultural Affairs Committee for the opportunity to testify today.
Since 1982, Exploring the Metropolis (EtM) has focused on solving the workspace needs of New York City’s performing artists. Currently, we administer the EtM Con Edison Composers’ Residency, in its eighth year, and the Choreographer + Composer Residency in partnership with the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning, now in its second year.
Since 2009, EtM has supported more than 45 composers, choreographers and performing artists, providing them with more than $375,000 worth of no-cost rehearsal space and cash support. In addition, EtM has provided more than $70,000 worth of support to NYC’s nonprofit cultural and community centers to maximize their space usage, and supported more than 50 free public programs for New York City audiences.

Previous EtM Composers-in-Residence have gone on to win awards, recognition and commissions from the Pulitzers, the Jerome Foundation, the Kleban Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Kronos Quartet, American Composers Orchestra, New Music USA, ASCAP Plus, the Prototype Festival and American Lyric Theater.

We are proud to partner with members of the City’s Cultural Institutions Group: Flushing Town Hall, the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning, and the Queens Museum.

I am here today, to join with other members of the cultural community, to ask for a funding increase of $40 million to the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) to be equally divided between the CIGs (Cultural Institutions Group) and the CDF (Cultural Development Fund) for grant making.

An increase in our DCA funding would allow us to expand opportunities for artists and audiences in the communities we are serving, like Flushing, downtown Brooklyn, Jamaica and Upper Manhattan. It would allow us to expand into other communities, like the Rockaways where we are planning a partnership with the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance for a residency in their newly renovated space.

Cultural organizations and artists are essential to our economy, and they contribute to our city’s cultural vibrancy which serves all our citizens. It is vital that the city continue to support the full scope of nonprofit culture.

We ask for a $40 million increase in funding to the Department of Cultural Affairs.

Thank for you opportunity to testify today.

David Johnston
Executive Director, Exploring the Metropolis


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