News and Press Releases

For Immediate Release: October 18, 2017

Contact: Ryan Max,, 212-513-9323


Three open calls for DCLA’s Public Artists in Residence (PAIR) program are seeking artists to work with the NYC Department of Correction on Rikers Island; NYC Department of Probation; and the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence

The new Mayor’s Grant for Cultural Impact will provide up to six grants of $50,000 to arts and cultural organizations working in partnership with City agencies

These new and expanded programs follow recommendations from the CreateNYC cultural plan to coordinate the work of City agencies integrating arts and culture and increase support for programs in underserved communities

New York – Mayor de Blasio and Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl today announced open calls for two City programs that bring artists and cultural organizations together with City agencies to address some of New York’s most pressing civic issues.

  • One set of open calls is for the Public Artists in Residence (PAIR) program, which places artists-in-residence at City agencies to address civic problems through creative practice. Today, DCLA launched opportunities to work with three new City agencies: NYC Department of Correction on Rikers Island; NYC Department of Probation; and the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence.
  • The second set of open calls being announced is for the Mayor’s Grant for Cultural Impact (MGCI), a new $300,000 fund to support new or expanded partnerships between City agencies and nonprofit cultural organizations.

“When we launched CreateNYC, our first comprehensive roadmap to lifting up the arts across the city, the overlap of public services and culture was one of our first priorities,” said Mayor de Blasio. “We are thrilled to announce open calls for both the Public Artist in Residence program the Mayor’s Grant for Cultural Impact today – cultivating the critical relationships between municipal agencies and our city’s artists and cultural nonprofits, while focusing on access and inclusivity for low income and underserved communities.”

“Art and culture can provide a powerful means for achieving positive social change and improved wellbeing,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. “Many of our partner City agencies already understand this, and integrate the arts into their work in profound ways. But throughout the CreateNYC cultural planning process, we saw a strong desire for even greater integration of culture into our public services. With these new opportunities through the Public Artists in Residence program and Mayor’s Grant for Cultural Impact, we will be able to engage more New Yorkers with innovative programming, especially in communities where existing resources are limited. We look forward to the new and expanded projects that our partner agencies and the cultural community propose for these exciting programs.”

“Culture and the arts play a crucial role in making New York City great. As we highlighted in the CreateNYC cultural plan earlier this year, we must do better as a city in making sure that all neighborhoods and all boroughs have access to culture, and I am delighted to see the Mayor and Commissioner Finkelpearl’s announcement today to do just that. The Mayor’s Grant for Cultural Impact and the Public Artist in Residence programs will be game-changers by providing vital cultural resources to underserved communities and by making city agencies vehicles for cultural development and opportunity.  I look forward to seeing the first round of applications this fall,” said City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer.

Public Artist in Residence (PAIR) Open Calls
PAIR is based on the premise that artists are creative problem-solvers. They are able to create long-term and lasting impact by working collaboratively and in open-ended processes to build community bonds, open channels for two-way dialogue, and reimagine realities to create new possibilities for those who experience and participate in the work.

Through this open call, starting in January 2018 DCLA will launch the next cycle of PAIRs with a new group of New York City municipal partners. DCLA is currently seeking Public Artists in Residence for:

  • NYC Department of Correction, specifically for Rikers Island
  • NYC Department of Probation
  • NYC Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence

Each residency is supported through $40K from DCLA, the agency partner, or a private funder. These three open calls represent a total of $120K to initiate new PAIR partnerships with City agencies. Each PAIR is a minimum of one year. The residency begins with a research phase, during which the artist spends time at the agency meeting staff and learning about its operations and initiatives while also introducing their art practice and process to agency staff. The research phase concludes with a proposal from the artist outlining one or more public-facing participatory projects that will be implemented in partnership with the agency.  Artists receive a fee, as well as in-kind resources such as desk space with the partner agency, an access to DCLA’s Materials for the Arts creative reuse program.

Past PAIR partnerships have included placing artists-in-residence with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs; the Department of Veterans Services; the Department of Design and Construction; and the Administration for Children’s Services.  The deadline to apply is November 12, 2017. To learn more about the PAIR open calls, visit the Cultural Affairs website

Mayor’s Grant for Cultural Impact (MGCI) Open Calls
Through the MGCI, the City will award up to six grants of $50,000 each to arts and cultural organizations working in partnership with city agencies to address pressing civic issues. Programs supported through the MGCI will focus on low income communities and underserved populations, and how these residents can be better engaged by the City through cultural activity. The goals of the Mayor’s Grant for Cultural Impact are to:

  • Create opportunities that will demonstrate the effectiveness of arts and culture as a mechanism for impactful service delivery
  • Integrate art and culture into efforts to improve social wellbeing in low income neighborhoods
  • Allow city agencies to test new models for, or to expand, existing successful programs 
  • Support strengthened partnerships between cultural organizations and city agencies 
  • Expand NYC residents’ access to arts and culture by leveraging the reach of city agencies 
  • Broaden programming, funding, and audience-building opportunities for arts and cultural organizations

Funding will be provided by DCLA and will be allocated to the selected cultural partners. City agency partners must provide a minimum contribution of $25,000 to the proposed project, which may be in-kind. The deadline to apply is Monday, November 13, 2017; guidelines and application information is posted at

Many City agencies and nonprofit cultural organizations collaborate on programs that reach New Yorkers in neighborhoods across the city. The MGCI provides a unique opportunity to both build on these existing partnerships and to explore new ones. Current and recent examples of City agencies partnering with cultural groups include NYCEDC’s partnership with Arts East New York, reNew Lots; and SU-CASA, the Department for the Aging’s and DCLA’s partnership with five local arts councils to provide cultural programming in senior centers, funded by the City Council.

The City’s first-ever comprehensive cultural plan, CreateNYC, was released in July 2017. In the plan’s chapter on Citywide Coordination, objectives include supporting culture across agencies and strengthening interagency collaboration. The latest PAIR partnerships and MGCI developed out of both of these objectives, and represent major strides toward implementing CreateNYC.

“The CreateNYC cultural plan lays out a far-reaching vision for the role of culture in New York’s communities, and recognizes that there are great opportunities to expand and enhance cultural activity as a component of essential public services,” said Chair of the CreateNYC Citizens Advisory Committee Ben Rodriguez-Cubenas. “The Mayor’s Grant for Cultural Impact and new Public Artist in Residence open calls build on a number of strategies and recommendations in CreateNYC, and I can’t wait to see what new ideas and partnerships take shape.”

About NYC Department of Cultural Affairs
The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) is dedicated to supporting and strengthening New York City’s vibrant cultural life.  DCLA works to promote and advocate for quality arts programming and to articulate the contribution made by the cultural community to the City’s vitality. The Department represents and serves nonprofit cultural organizations involved in the visual, literary, and performing arts; public-oriented science and humanities institutions including zoos, botanical gardens, and historic and preservation societies; and creative artists at all skill levels who live and work within the City’s five boroughs. DCLA also provides donated materials for arts programs offered by the public schools and cultural and social service groups, and commissions permanent works of public art at City-funded construction projects throughout the five boroughs.

About CreateNYC
Released by Mayor de Blasio in July 2017, CreateNYC is the first-ever comprehensive cultural plan for the City of New York. Based on input from nearly 200,000 New Yorkers, the plan will serve as a roadmap to a more sustainable, inclusive, and equitable cultural sector that all residents have a stake in. Its strategies for supporting arts and culture throughout the city lay out roles for stakeholders at all levels—from residents on a single block to City agencies that encompass all five boroughs. Visit to learn more.