News and Press Releases

For Immediate Release : December 9, 2021

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The largest Cultural Development Fund allocation in the agency’s history includes funding for COVID-19 recovery, arts education, and increases for organizations in underserved communities

See the full list of 1,022 grantees here

New York, NY – Today, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs announced grants totaling $51.4 million awarded to more than 1,000 cultural nonprofit organizations in support of public-oriented cultural programming across the five boroughs. These Cultural Development Fund (CDF) grants are part of the agency’s all-time-high annual expense budget of more than $230 million, and represent the largest-ever allocation for the CDF. They include both broad increases for organizations across the board, and more targeted funding to support priorities such as disability arts, language access, arts education, and support for organizations operating in and serving areas of the city hardest hit by the pandemic, particularly low-income communities of color.

“Because New York City plays such an important role in training, inspiring, and providing spaces for the world’s artists and creators, we have a particular responsibility to support these burgeoning visionaries in their craft—and, specifically, in their efforts to make their productions and creations more accessible. With that commitment in mind, today we announce the City’s highest investment in the arts community to-date through the Cultural Development Fund,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been . “This improved funding will encourage artists, creators, and producers across the city to continue to express their insights and stories on their own terms. And, with the Fund’s specific investment into the productions and creations of Black and brown New Yorkers, we can better ensure a Recovery For All of Us, deepening the City’s fight for a fairer future in the face of the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

“Through another challenging year, our cultural community has helped to bring New Yorkers back together, to reinvigorate our public and educational spaces, and to set us on the road toward a vibrant, equitable recovery for all," said NYC Cultural Affairs Commissioner Gonzalo Casals. "Culture is essential to healthy, vibrant neighborhoods, and there is no recovery for New York City without our cultural community. That's why, with this historic investment, we're directing support to systematically oppressed communities, to arts education, and to working artists, empowering artists and arts workers to collaborate with New Yorkers on creative programming in every corner of our city. We thank Mayor de Blasio and our partners on the City Council for this tremendous show of support.”

The $51.4 million – representing $45.5 million in Mayoral funds and $5.9 million in City Council member items - includes:

  • Increased awards for all grantees : With Mayoral funds added to DCLA’s budget when it was adopted in July 2021, all baseline CDF recipients received a total of $5.8 million in increases to aid in their recovery, with larger proportional increases for smaller organizations.
  • Investment in underserved communities : $5.1 million was directed to 654 groups working in underserved communities, including 33 priority neighborhoods established by the City’s Task Force on Racial Inclusion and Equity (TRIE), as well as neighborhoods identified by the Social Impact of the Arts Project (SIAP), where increased funding will support cultural programs proven through research to increase social wellbeing in lower-resourced communities.
  • Support for arts education : $1.5 million in Mayoral funding was set aside for arts education programs. This includes $375K to fund another round of the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable Emergency Relief Grant program , doubling the investment DCLA made in this fund last year as a way to support the hard-hit arts educator community. The remaining funding was used to increase grant support for 91 cultural groups providing arts education services in SIAP and TRIE neighborhoods.
  • Disability and Language Access : The Mayoral funding also includes $1 million for two programs that grew from CreateNYC cultural plan – the Disability Forward Fund and Language Access Fund – which have been integrated into this round of grants to continue to support organizations advancing this work. For Disability Forward, 50 organizations are receiving support for programs that engage people with disabilities as artists, cultural workers, and audience members. For Language Access, 51 groups will receive support for programming that increases access to arts and culture for those whose primary language is not English.
  • Support for artists and small organizations : A total of $2.93 million for five local arts councils serving each borough to regrant to small arts organizations and individual artists.
  • City Council support for local priorities : $5.9 million in City Council funds, designated by Council Members to organizations serving their districts, will support 258 grantees for a wide range of local cultural programming.

“As the Chair of the Committee of Cultural Affairs and Libraries for the past 12 years, there are few things I’m more proud of than the record amount of funding we’ve been able to allocate to cultural groups across the city,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer. “It’s only fitting that we’ll end this year with the largest Cultural Development Fund allocation in the agency’s history - one that will impact over 1,000 nonprofit organizations with targeted support that will keep them flourishing well into the future.”

"As Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Affairs, I'm keenly aware of the tremendous challenges faced by cultural groups throughout this pandemic,” said State Senator José M. Serrano. “An investment in the arts is an investment in our city's economic and emotional wellbeing, and New York City's recovery will go hand in hand with the recovery of our cultural sector. I am pleased that this funding is providing critical support for underserved communities, arts education, and disability and language access, and I thank Mayor De Blasio, Commissioner Casals, and the New York City Council for their commitment to the arts and culture.”

“Artists were hit hard when the pandemic upended New York nearly two years ago, and their recovery remains on-going. While the state has led the charge to rebuild a vibrant arts scene – introducing historic funding for grants and other assistance – we must continue the work to ensure that no one is left out of relief efforts,” said Assembly Member Danny O’Donnell. “I thank the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs for its continued support of the arts industry. The newly announced grants will increase funding across the board while prioritizing support for especially vulnerable artists, including low-income people of color. These are all positive steps that will help get New York where it needs to be post-pandemic.”

For the Cultural Development Fund, FY22 grants were awarded on a multi-year basis for the second year, meaning that all grantees from the previous grant cycle had their awards renewed, with the amount adjusted based on available funds and the priorities described above. Expanding eligibility for multi-year awards to all 1,000+ agency grantees was one of the reform measures announced last year as a way of streamlining the funding process and providing support and relief to cultural organizations as they struggled with the effects of the pandemic. DCLA will continue to integrate new reforms into its annual grantmaking process for the Fiscal Year 2023 cycle and beyond, reducing barriers to accessing public funds and making deliberate, proactive changes that foster greater equity in the agency’s funding programs.