1998 - 2007

    1998 - DCLA moves to the former McGraw-Hill Building at 330 West 42nd Street.

    2000 - The Rose Center for Earth and Space opens at the American Museum of Natural istory, becoming one of New York City’s most visited cultural icons.

    2002 - Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg appoints Kate D. Levin Commissioner of Cultural Affairs.

    2003 - Cultural Development Fund (CDF) is developed to replace two former funding streams, the borough Arts Development Fund (ADF) and the competitive Program Development Fund (PDF).

    The Museum of Jewish Heritage opens the 82,000 square-foot Robert M. Morgenthau Wing, the first new construction to open in Lower Manhattan following the September 11 attacks, and is a vital symbol of downtown renewal.

    Mayor Bloomberg appoints the Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission, chaired by Agnes Gund.

    2004 - The Blueprints for Teaching and Learning in the Arts, created through an exceptional collaboration between educators from the public schools and representatives from the nonprofit arts community, is published. The Visual Arts and Music components are released in 2004, and the Dance and Theater components in 2005.

    The Museum of Modern Art reopens in Manhattan. The project had received $65M in capital support from the City and becomes a highly visible symbol for the City’s commitment to provide capital funding for cultural projects in non-City-owned facilities.

    Mayor Bloomberg establishes the Excellence in Design and Construction initiative to encourage City agencies to strive for excellence in design for all public works.

    2005 - After 26 Years of Planning, and in fulfillment of one of Mayor Bloomberg’s inaugural promises, Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s public art project The Gates transforms Central Park into a river of saffron-colored fabric.

    2006 - DCLA Oversees the Largest Budget in the agency’s history and relocates to the gloriously restored Surrogate’s Court House, across from the Department of Education’s headquarters and overlooking City Hall Park and Foley Square.

1982 - 1995

    1982 - Prior to 1982, Program funding is determined by DCLA; beginning in FY1982 line items are introduced into the Executive Budget.

    Under Mayor Koch, The Percent for Art Law is enacted, which requires that one percent of the budget for eligible City-funded construction is dedicated to creating public artworks. The Public Art Fund administers this program from its inception until 1986, when the program moves to DCLA.

    1983 - Mayor Koch appoints Bess Myerson Commissioner of Cultural Affairs.

    1984 - DCLA receives matching funds from NEA to administer the Greater New York Arts Development Fund, providing local arts councils funds to re-grant to emerging arts groups.

    1985 - First Percent for Art commission is completed: Jorge Rodriguez’s Growth at East Harlem Artpark.

    1986 - After Extensive City Involvement, New York Hall of Science is reorganized and reopens as a state-of-the-art, hands-on science and technology center.

    DCLA creates a uniform Public Service Award proposal procedure for Program Unit funding.

    1987 - Mayor Koch appoints Diane M. Coffey Acting Commissioner of Cultural Affairs.

    Mary Schmidt Campbell is appointed the next permanent Commissioner of Cultural Affairs.

    Two program funding processes are initiated for organizations not named in the City’s Adopted Budget: Arts Development Fund (awards recommended to the agency by joint agreement of Borough President and City Council) and Program Development Fund (awards based on competitive, peer panel review process).

    1990 - Mayor David N. Dinkins appoints Luis R. Cancel Commissioner of Cultural Affairs.

    1994 - Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani appoints Schuyler G. Chapin Commissioner of Cultural Affairs.

    1995 - The City’s Corporation Counsel determines that funds provided by DCLA can be administered as grants, rather than contracts.

1965 - 1980

    1965 - Facilities Built for the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadow Park are converted for cultural use and are known today as the Queens Museum, New York Hall of Science, Queens Botanical Garden and New York State Theater at Lincoln Center.

    1966 - John V. Lindsay takes office as Mayor and issues an executive order that broadens OCA’s sphere of concern, mandating for the first time that OCA deal not only with the performing arts but with all the institutions, museums, zoos, libraries, botanic gardens and theaters. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel replaces Dowling as Director of the OCA.

    1967 - OCA becomes part of the newly christened Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Administration (PRCA) and moves to the Arsenal building in Central Park.

    1968 - Department of Cultural Affairs created within the Parks Department. Doris C.Freedman becomes Director of Cultural Affairs.

    1970 - Dore Schary is appointed as New York City’s first Commissioner of Cultural Affairs within the PRCA.

    1974 - Martin E. Segal, Chair of the Mayor’s Committee on Cultural Policy, authors a report examining the economic impact of arts and culture on the tri-state area and recommending the creation of an independent Department of Cultural Affairs. The report also recommends the establishment of the Mayor’s Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission.

    1976 - Under Mayor Abraham D. Beame, Cultural Affairs becomes a separate agency and Claude Shostal becomes the City’s first Commissioner of Cultural Affairs.

    The 15 cultural institutions housed in City-owned buildings or on City-owned property that had been receiving their City support from the Bureau of the Budget, are added to the new agency’s budget. These institutions and future City-owned culturals would come to be known as the Cultural Institutions Group (CIGs).

    The Mayor’s Awards for Arts and Culture are inaugurated.

    1977 - Mayor Edward I. Koch appoints Henry Geldzahler Commissioner of Cultural Affairs.

    DCLA administers the federally funded Comprehensive Employment and Training Act Artists Project (CETA), the largest government-funded artist employment project since the WPA of the 1930’s, hiring more than 600 artists to provide cultural services throughout the City, as well as 300 CETA employees in maintenance, guard and other positions at cultural institutions. This program continues through 1980.

    1978 - Angela Fremont helps out the Central Park Zoo by announcing over the radio that the Zoo needs a refrigerator to house medicines for the animals. Within minutes, the Zoo’s office is inundated with phone calls, and Materials for the Arts (MFTA) is born. Through MFTA, DCLA gathers materials – including paint, furniture, electronic equipment, and costume trimmings – from companies and organizations and distributes them free of charge to arts organizations, public schools, City agencies, and arts programs at social service and community organizations.

    1980 - The Department of Cultural Affairs moves its headquarters to the former Gallery of Modern Art at 2 Columbus Circle, where the agency operated a gallery space and sponsored in-house cultural events for the first time.

    The Arts Exposure Program, administered with ArtsConnection, becomes the agency’s first targeted funding for arts education activities, providing earned income for 38 community based arts organizations chosen through a panel process.

    Free-for-all, a DCLA-initiated presenting program, uses a panel process to fund 68 arts organizations that bring more than 97 free performances to over 30 Parks throughout the City; awards range from $500 to $2,500.

1896 - 1964

    1869 - A Group of Private Citizens proposes a unique idea: New York City should construct and maintain a building for a museum of natural history, while a private board should build the collections and operate the institution. The City’s farsighted leadership agrees with the proposition and partners with the private sector to create what is today the American Museum of Natural History. By the end of the 19th century, this same model gives rise to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Staten Island Institute of Arts and Sciences, The New York Botanical Garden, and the Bronx Zoo.

    1898 - The Art Commission is created, an 11-member panel that reviews permanent works of art, architecture and landscape architecture proposed for City-owned property.

    1934 - Mayor Fiorello La Guardia appoints a Municipal Art Committee to advise City government on ways to stimulate New York’s cultural life during the hardships of the Great Depression. The Committee uses funds from the Works Progress Administration, the emergency Relief Bureau, and a number of foundations.

    1943 - Mayor Fiorella La Guardia and other City officials join with a number of prominent New Yorkers to create the City Center of Music and Drama as a municipal theater offering “hundreds of thousands of people...the opportunity of hearing the best [in music and drama] at prices they could afford.” The New York City Ballet and the New York City Opera both eventually became constituent organizations of City Center Theater.

    1959 - The Handel Medallion, the highest award bestowed by New York City to individuals for their contributions to the City’s intellectual and cultural life, is created to mark the 200th anniversary of the death of George Handel.

    1960 - Carnegie Hall narrowly escapes demolition when the City purchases it in 1960.

    City funds finance the construction of the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, home to Joseph Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival, providing free theater performances. At this time, the City also initiates program funding in the amount of $60,000.

    1962 - Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA) is created by Mayor Robert F. Wagner and Robert W. Dowling to promote and stimulate the cultural life of the City. Dowling is selected to fill the unsalaried position of Cultural Executive. A six-member staff is paid through the Mayor’s office.

    1964 - OCA Receives its first City-appropriated operating budget and program funds, totaling $100,020. City support for cultural programming is made available for free school concerts of the Brooklyn Philharmonia (now the Brooklyn Philharmonic) and the outdoor summer performances of the Metropolitan Opera, and Prospect Park Summer Theater.