Governor Cuomo has been giving his annual “State of the State” address this week, and yesterday he focused on safely bringing back the arts.
Before COVID-19, arts and culture made up about 8% of the New York State economy, a $120 billion industry that provided almost 500,000 jobs. Sadly, over 2 million arts jobs were lost in the nation over the past year, with tens of thousands of those being in NY. [featured image source: Instagram / @nyclovesnyc]
Still, the Governor announced a plan to help save the industry. “What is a city without social, cultural, and creative synergies?” he asked. “New York City is not New York without Broadway.”
First, the state will start a public-private partnership to organize “pop-up” performances and arts events across the state. This would begin in February, even earlier than the city-specific “open culture” program that is bringing the arts to NYC streets in March.
The effort already has over 150 artists and arts organization on board, including but not limited to:
- Amy Schumer
- Chris Rock
- Hugh Jackman
- Renée Fleming
- Ballet Hispanico
- Albany Symphony Orchestra
- The National Black Theatre
The performances will be at outdoor locations in NYC and across the state, from parks to venues that have been adapted for social distancing, like the Park Avenue Armory and St. Ann’s Warehouse. They will also begin “piloting large indoor spaces with testing and ventilation to explore what possible safe and smart options exist.”
He also pointed to rapid testing as key to bringing back events and activities, citing a recent Buffalo Bills game where 7,000 fans were tested by the New York State Department of Health before the game (with drive-thru testing).
“Why can’t we use rapid testing to open restaurants in orange zones, theaters, offices? There are so many options,” he said.
All of these pop-up events will lead up to two major happenings: the opening of the highly anticipated Little Island at Pier 55, NYC’s first-ever floating park, and the 20th anniversary of the Tribeca Film Festival in June.
The state will also partner with The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to launch a “Creatives Rebuild” initiative, which will invest in small community arts organizations and help provide work to 1,000 artists who have been impacted by the pandemic.
Looks like the spring will be a fantastic comeback for NYC, and NY state in general!