David Gives Testimony at City Hall for NYC Arts & Culture

Katie Cox

New York City Council
Cultural Affairs, Libraries & International Intergroup Relations Committee
Council Chambers – City Hall
Preliminary Budget Hearing Testimony FY21
Wednesday March 4, 2020 11:30 AM

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 and the EtM Choreographer + Composer Residencies, now taking applications. Capping five years work in the borough of Queens, last August we moved our administrative operations to a shared workspace at the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning, in order to be closer to the artists and communities we serve.

In the last decade, our residency programs have:

•  Provided more than $1,000,000 worth of no-cost rehearsal space and cash awards to New York City artists.

•   Supported more than 100 composers, choreographers and performing artists with free space and stipends, and provided more than 50,000 hours of free rehearsal space.

•  Supported more 80 free public programs for thousands of New Yorkers.

Previous EtM Artists-in-Residence have gone on to win recognition from the Jerome Foundation, Grammys, Latin Grammys, Pulitzer 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.

Artists at all career stages in NYC need this support not just emerging artists. Workspace can be prohibitively expensive even for those at a more established level.

Last year, we were happy to receive a sizeable increase in Cultural Development Fund awards from DCLA.  We ask that these increases be baselined in order to build upon the work of CreateNYC.

For FY 21, we fully support increased funding for workforce development for the Cultural Institutions Group, including our partners at JCAL and Flushing Town Hall.  We also ask the Council to remember that smaller organizations like EtM need increased funding in order to properly pay and retain our own workforce. EtM makes it a policy to offer health coverage to all employees, full and part-time. This policy increases our administrative costs, but it is one we feel is necessary.  

Thank you to Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer and the Cultural Affairs Committee for the opportunity to testify. We would also like to thank Councilmember Van Bramer for his exemplary stewardship of this committee over the past decade.


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