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Mayor Adams, Commissioner Cumbo Announce $5.5 Million for Universal Hip Hop Museum and New Capital Funding for Bronx Cultural Institutions

August 3, 2022

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Today's Investment Part of $127 Million in Capital Funding From Mayor Adams for Over 70 Cultural Groups Across NYC

New York – New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) Commissioner Laurie Cumbo today announced a total of $5.5 million – $2 million of which was contributed by Mayor Adams – in new capital funding for the Universal Hip Hop Museum to fit out its future 52,000-square-foot home at the Bronx Point development at Mill Pond Park. The museum's new facility will include several gallery spaces, a black box theater, interactive exhibits, and administrative offices. As part of DCLA's ongoing five-borough tour to highlight the city's cultural investments, Mayor Adams also announced new capital funding for Bronx-based cultural organizations, including the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the New York Botanical Garden, The Point Community Development Corporation, Pregones Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, Wave Hill, and the Bronx Zoo.

"Whether you are in Co-op City or Canarsie, New Yorkers deserve the opportunity to learn about some of the unique cultures in their backyard," said Mayor Adams. "Hip Hop tells the story of this city and the Bronx so vividly. It tells life amid poverty and crime, of turning pain into purpose, of making it. That's why I'm proud to announce our administration's commitment of $2 million in new capital funding for the Universal Hip Hop Museum, alongside $3.5 million from the local elected officials. The newer generation may not know about the history of hip hop in the Bronx, however, when we support our cultural groups, we allow the people of this city to connect and find these local jewels that serve as passports to historic destinations."

"Our cultural organizations make up the fabric of New York City, contributing as much to our economy as to our identity," said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer. "I'm proud of this administration's historic commitment to the arts through these capital investments in our creative institutions, which will help create more open, sustainable, and dynamic facilities across the Bronx, including the Universal Hip Hop Museum and many more."

"A global creative movement born right here in the Boogie Down, hip hop perfectly captures New York City's unstoppable beat and the Universal Hip Hop Museum is going to be a lasting testament to the people who started it all," said Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Laurie Cumbo. "We're committed to making sure the Bronx's vibrant cultural institutions have the resources they need to provide dynamic, world-class programming to Bronx residents and visitors from far and wide. Art and culture are driving our city's ongoing recovery, and I'm thrilled to join Mayor Adams at the Universal Hip Hop Museum to highlight these historic investments for New York City's cultural sector."

Anchored in the birthplace of hip hop, the Universal Hip Hop Museum is the only state chartered educational museum dedicated to celebrating and preserving local and global contributions to hip hop music and culture. The $5.5 million in new city capital support for the museum was allocated as part of the Fiscal Year 2023 budget – $2 million of which was contributed by Mayor Adams, $2 million which was provided by Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson, and $1.5 million which was allocated by the City Council.

"From Wave Hill, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Pregones Theater, the Bronx Zoo, the New York Botanical Garden, Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center, the Bronx Children's Museum, the Universal Hip Hop Museum, and so many others, we are grateful to the mayor and Commissioner Cumbo for prioritizing equity and fairness in making sure our cultural facilities receive the necessary support to keep their doors open," said Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson. "Our cultural institutions are the lifeblood of our borough, connecting us to the rich history and diversity of the Bronx, and it is important we give them the necessary funding to support their work in providing services to our children and families to enjoy."

"The Universal Hip Hop Museum is the official museum of Hip Hop culture. Founded by Hip Hop pioneers, we're proud to be the recipients of the continuous financial support of Commissioner Laurie Cumbo, the City Council, New York state and others to showcase, preserve, present, and protect Hip Hop Culture for generations to come," said Founder and Executive Director of the Universal Hip Hop Museum Rocky Bucano. "Hip Hop was homegrown in the Bronx, and now with that vital support, we're poised to become a global destination where visitors can learn about Hip Hop's storied past and vibrant future."

"NYCEDC thanks Mayor Adams and Commissioner Cumbo for their support of the Universal Hip Hop Museum at Bronx Point," said New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) President and CEO Andrew Kimball. "This city funding will go towards the completion of the nation's first-ever brick and mortar museum to celebrate all that hip hop is and means to its birthplace in the Bronx and visitors from around the world. NYCEDC looks forward to the museum's completion and all of Bronx Point, a project we led on with the community and which includes high-quality affordable housing and a revitalized waterfront."

"We applaud Mayor Adams and Commissioner Cumbo for further investing in the legacy of hip hop by adding an additional $2 million in capital dollars for the creation of this amazing museum," said New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner (NYC Parks) Sue Donoghue. "We are excited not only because our parks system has a 50-year connection to hip hop, but also because, as part of the Bronx Point project, we will add new greenspace to Mill Pond Park where future musical artists can get their start the same way the legends did."

Mayor Adams has invested a historic $127 million in capital support across the five boroughs, which – along with funding from the City Council and borough presidents – brings a total of more than $220 million in capital funding to 70 cultural groups citywide. This allocation has been made alongside a record-setting city expense allocation for DCLA of more than $237 million, and will be distributed through DCLA's grant programs to more than 1,000 groups across the city. This investment in New York City's cultural community will be distributed in support of a broad, equitable recovery that ensures all New Yorkers have access to the joy, education, and transformative benefits of cultural activity.

In 2017, the city announced a plan to create the Bronx Point mix-use development that will serve as the new location for the Universal Hip Hop Museum. The development will feature public open spaces, 350 units of permanent affordable housing, a state-of-the-art multiplex theater, education space, and a neighborhood food and beverage hall and incubator. The project is a partnership between the NYCEDC, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, and NYC Parks. L+M Development Partners and Type A Projects are the developers.

Construction of the Universal Hip Hop Museum core and shell is underway. Construction to fit out the space will begin in 2023, with completion anticipated in the fall of 2025.

"As chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Affairs, I firmly believe that the arts and culture are vitally important to our city, enhancing our lives in so many ways," said New York State Senator Jose M. Serrano. They also serve as a major economic engine, driving tourism and providing meaningful jobs within our communities. Many thanks to Mayor Adams and Commissioner Cumbo for their support of The Universal Hip-Hop Museum and many other deserving cultural institutions throughout the Bronx."

"As someone who has deep roots within the birthplace of hip-hop, making sure that we continue to honor and support the legacy of these musicians and their contributions to the world is very personal to me," said New York State Assemblymember Latoya Joyner. "This investment will be crucial in making sure that future generations continue to honor the cultural roots of hip-hop through the construction of this new museum. I applaud the mayor for this laudable investment in Bronx history and culture and look forward to the opening of this historic museum."

"The city's generous investment in Pregones/Puerto Rican Traveling Theater's (PRTT) capital construction and equipment projects fuels the sustained excellence of a company of artists proud to represent New York and the Bronx wherever we go," said Pregones/Puerto Rican Traveling Theater Artistic Director Rosalba Rolón. "Funded enhancements give individuals and families of all ages even more reasons to visit, know, and celebrate Pregones/PRTT as a must-do arts and cultural destination."

"Wave Hill is deeply grateful to New York City Mayor Eric Adams, the city of New York, the City Council and Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson for the generous funding for fiscal year 2023," said Wave Hill President and Executive Director Karen Meyerhoff. "With so many organizations across the Bronx still struggling to recover from the effects of the pandemic, your support is vital to driving tourism in New York City and revitalizing our communities here in the Bronx. Your investment is especially precious now."

"For 111 years, dozens of primate species were exhibited in a classic example of Beaux-Arts architecture on the historic Astor Court at the Bronx Zoo. After more than a century, structural issues, outdated infrastructure, and the need for exterior restoration forced the zoo to close the building to the public in 2012," said WCS Executive Vice President of Public Affairs John F. Calvelli. "Because of the investment from Mayor Adams and Commissioner Cumbo, this 120-year-old city-landmarked building will be reimagined as the World of Primates, an interactive exhibit where visitors will experience many different species of primates, their habitats, and learn about WCS's primate conservation work around the world. We thank Mayor Adams, Commissioner Cumbo and the Department of Cultural Affairs for their capital investments to ensure the Bronx Zoo remains an accessible, inspirational learning destination while cultivating the next generation of conservation stewards through our city's youth."

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