David Submits Testimony for $30 Million Increase for NYC’s Arts & Culture

Katie Cox

Last week artists, arts advocates, and leaders in NYC’s cultural institutions gathered at City Hall to give testimony for a $30 million increase in NYC’s funding for the Department of Cultural Affairs. David Johnston, Executive Director of Exploring the Metropolis, submitted testimony in support of this advocacy effort.

New York City Council
Cultural Affairs, Libraries & International Intergroup Relations Committee
Council Chambers – City Hall
Executive Budget Hearing Testimony FY19
Thursday, May 24, 2018

“My name is David Johnston and I am the Executive Director of Exploring
the Metropolis. At this time, I would like very much to thank Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer and the entire Cultural Affairs Committee for their strong leadership and advocacy for this field.

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 Composer Residencies, the Choreographer + Composer Residency in partnership with the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning, and the EtM Ridgewood Bushwick Composer Residency.

Since 2009, EtM has supported more than 80 composers, choreographers and performing artists.

EtM has provided more than $130,000 worth of support to NYC’s nonprofit cultural and community centers to maximize their space usage, and supported more than 70 free public programs for New York City audiences, ranging from new music premieres to work-in-progress dance showings, composition workshops for visually impaired students, and even a new children’s opera.

By mid-2019, EtM will have provided more than one million dollars’ worth of no-cost rehearsal space and cash awards to New York City artists.

In the past nine years, previous EtM Artists-in-Residence have gone on to win recognition from the Pulitzers, the Jerome Foundation, the Kleban Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, Baryshnikov Arts Center Cage Cunningham Award, American Composers Orchestra, New Music/USA, MacDowell Colony, Larson Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

For the second year, EtM is joining #NYCInspires and New Yorkers for Culture & Arts to advocate for increased funding for arts and culture across all New York City communities. An increase in funding would allow the Department of Culture Affairs to bolster financial support for currently funded organizations, grow funding for arts councils to offer re-grants to individual artists, and add new funding that would increase cultural equity by supporting a wider array of arts and culture groups across all five boroughs.

We are asking for a $30 million increase in the City’s funding for the Department of Cultural Affairs to be equally divided between the Cultural Institutions Group and the Cultural Development Fund:

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.”

David Johnston
Executive Director
Exploring the Metropolis


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