Friday, March 31, 2017

The Asian American Arts Centre is proud to provide the final version of the People's Cultural Plan! It will be officially made for public view soon.

It is important to note that everything posted on our blog pre-dates this version.

The People's Cultural Plan for Working Artists and Communities in New York City

Inequity in arts and culture is a persistent problem in New York City. The worsening climate of fear, intolerance, and fascism, especially affecting immigrants and people of color, must be countered with more than lip service in support of “diversity”: Only by implementing true equity in all city policies will the most vulnerable be protected from the multiple crises facing our communities.
Displacement and dispossession (also known by the euphemism “gentrification”) are the greatest threats to culture in NYC, because culture is rooted in place, and skyrocketing rent threatens to displace working class black communities and communities of color, working artists, and underfunded arts organizations. The contracting of real estate development firms James Lima Planning + Development and BJH Advisors LLC as NYC Cultural Plan consultants indicates that yet again, arts and culture are being used as a Trojan Horse to usher in still more displacement and dispossession. We demand a plan that calls for the elimination of these pro-developer policies and rezonings, for an immediate rent freeze, and for the development of more just rent control policies at the State and City levels.

The exclusion of artists and workers of color and the exploitation of artists and low- wage workers has always been a threat to culture in NYC. But in combination with the housing crisis, that threat is compounded, pushing most artists, especially those who are working-class people of color, elders or disabled, close to their breaking point. From low-wage workers servicing museums, to underpaid administrators of nonprofit organizations, to the unpaid labor of artists—workers across the supply chain contribute to making the arts a multi-billion dollar industry. We demand a plan that insures truly equitable inclusion (not tokenization) of artists and cultural workers of color, equitable and adequate wages, employee benefits, job protection, and upward mobility for all artists and cultural workers.

Cultural funding is among the most inequitably distributed resources in NYC, and the policies of the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) exacerbate that inequity by giving nearly 60% of its funding to Manhattan alone out of the five boroughs, and almost 80% of its funding to only 33 of the 1,000+ organizations funded. Inadequate funding to oppressed and exploited communities – and austerity in public services generally – operates in tandem with real estate development schemes to displace communities; inadequate funding to small and POC-run organizations makes it difficult to pay adequate wages and artist fees. We demand a plan with generous and equitable public cultural funding that directs all increases in DCLA funding to the neighborhoods, organizations, and artists who need it the most, rather than to institutions that are already receiving generous allocations, many of which are not adequately serving the communities they purport to.

We, the people, a multi-racial coalition of artists, culture workers and tenants from the many neighborhoods of NYC, demand a cultural plan with concrete policies to: 1. End displacement and dispossession in NYC; 2. Insure truly equitable inclusion of artists and cultural workers of color & equitable wages for all artists and cultural workers; 3. Distribute public funding equitably; and 4. Commit to rectifying the documented history of neglect, disinvestment and theft from communities, organizations, and artists of color in NYC, by investing new funds for these groups and supporting their self- determination. We further demand that changes in funding and housing policies be subject to community control – that the neighborhoods to be affected by policy changes determine the specifics. The most crucial component of equity is equity in power and in decision-making, and we will accept nothing less.

Because we recognize that indigenous communities, black communities and all communities of color have been disproportionately disenfranchised through historically unjust policy making at the municipal, state, and federal levels, as well as through the de facto funding priorities of private philanthropy, we call on the DCLA to endorse and support all of the following demands in its Cultural Plan for New York City, and we call on The State and City of New York to implement the necessary legislation that will lead to true equity for all New Yorkers.
As a sanctuary city, any cultural plan for New York must be supportive of the lives an contributions of tribally-enrolled indigenous people, black communities, communities of
color, and immigrants.
Different Themes
Written by Lovely

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