News and Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 15, 2020



Through the Cultural Development Fund and City Council support, Cultural Affairs is distributing funds to over 1,000 cultural nonprofits – the largest ever number grant recipients – including nearly $10 million earmarked for COVID-19 relief and arts education programs

A full list of grant recipients is available here

New York, NY – The NYC Department of Cultural Affairs has announced over $47.1million in grants to 1,032 cultural groups, including new investments and measures to support the city’s vibrant nonprofit cultural sector as it continues to struggle through the COVID-19 pandemic. These include substantial changes to streamline the agency’s annual grantmaking process; allocating funding to organizations serving BIPOC communities hardest hit by the pandemic; dedicated support for organizations providing arts education programs, which have been a critical resources for families; and increased allocations for all 1,000+ grantees, with larger increases for small organizations around the city.

“Culture is what makes New York City great. It brings people here, connects them to each other, makes our communities healthy, vibrant, and safe, and will be a key part of the City's renaissance," said Deputy Mayor Vicki Been. "Working with our colleagues in the City Council, we’re proud to provide significant support to our city’s cultural organizations and workers during this extraordinary time."

"Cultural organizations and creative workers are part of the fabric of communities across New York City, and they've suffered alongside their neighbors throughout the pandemic," said GEC. "With these grants, we're continuing to invest in the cultural life of our city, especially in areas hardest hit by the pandemic. We can't address the enormous challenges that lie ahead alone, but we've focused on providing long term stability to the smaller organizations that are most vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19. Our cultural community has shown us just how integral it is to the health of our city over these difficult months, and we are committed to collaborating with and supporting this community as we work toward long term renewal and recovery,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Gonzalo Casals.

The $47.1million in fiscal year 2020 cultural program funding includes:

· $28.5 million included in the agency’s budget for the Cultural Development Fund (CDF).

· $12.6 million in increased funding allocated by the Mayor and City Council, which has been invested largely in arts education and COVID-19 relief (see below for details).

· $4.9 million from the City Council in the form of member item discretionary awards to 434 groups.

Support for Arts Education and COVID-19 Relief

NYC’s cultural organizations and workers have been devastated by the pandemic, with lost revenue, layoffs, and other major actions taken to address the unprecedented financial damage. The $47.1 million in grants announced today includes $12.6 million in new investments, added in partnership with City Council, that will support the cultural community through the ongoing public health crisis.

$9.75 million of these new funds are going specifically to support the cultural community in response to COVID-19 based, in part, on the COVID-19 impact survey commissioned by DCLA earlier this year:

· $4 million in across-the-board increases to all CDF grantees, with larger proportional increases for smaller organizations.

· $3 million increase for 621 organizations working in low-income neighborhoods and those most affected by COVID-19 are receiving additional funding as part of today’s announcement.

· $2 million for the five local arts councils, to be distributed to individual artists and smaller nonprofits.

· $750,000 for arts education organizations and to support the Arts Educator Emergency Relief Fund. DCLA’s COVID-19 impact survey found that greatest loss of artistic employment comes from arts education organizations. This funding will be split between support for 25 organizations providing arts education programming across the city, as well as funding for the New York City Arts in Education Roundtable for the Arts Educator Emergency Relief Fund .

The $12.6 million will also support CreateNYC initiatives, including the Language Access Fund, Disability Forward Fund, and Mayor’s Grant for Cultural Impact.

New Measures to Streamline Funding Process and Offer Long Term Stability

The Department of Cultural Affairs’ annual grant program, the Cultural Development Fund, supports approximately 1,000 cultural nonprofit cultural organizations working in every community across New York City. This year, in recognition of the unprecedented challenges these groups are facing, DCLA is streamlining the agency’s funding process:

  • Multi-year awards for smaller CDF grantees : For Fiscal Year 2022 grants, nearly all of the 1,000+ groups currently receiving CDF funding for FY21 will again receive support at a comparable level (pending the City budget adoption process), providing longer term stability and giving these groups the ability to plan ahead for funding. These “multi-year grants,” as they’re known, have historically only been available to groups with budgets over $250,000 a year, will now be available to all CDF recipients.
  • Support for program adjustments, including virtual engagements : DCLA has worked with grantees since March on adjustments to the scope of their proposed programs to allow FY20 City funds to be used for programming; so far, over 98% of reviewed applications have been approved for programs adjusted to accommodate current public health circumstances.
  • Reduced matching requirement: The agency is reducing the matching requirement so that groups can use City funds to cover up to 75% of a program’s cost, and streamlining additional application requirements.

“The arts and culture sector has been economically devastated by this pandemic and its recovery is vital to the full recovery of our city. It’s never been more important to support arts and culture in our city and the City Council is proud to provide these vital grants during this difficult time,” said New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

"These funds are essential to sustaining arts and culture in New York City, bringing performances to neighborhoods across the city and arts education to students of all ages. Culture never stopped after shutting their doors due to COVID-19, and will continue to bring joy through these programs. Funding for culture & the arts isn't a luxury, its more important than ever that we fund these groups and artists,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer.

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 non-profit 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. For more information, visit