2,700 New York State artists to benefit from new $125 million program
A new program led by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will provide guaranteed income and jobs for up to 2,700 artists living across New York State.
The $125 million initiative, Creatives are rebuilding New York (CRNY), will issue unconditional monthly payments to up to 2,400 artists in financial need over the next three years. The program will also fund the salaries of 300 additional performers, who will be employed by dozens of partner community organizations across the state, for two years. Artists employed through the program will receive a salary based on New York State median income data, in addition to benefits and time dedicated to their practice.
“Support for New York artists and the organizations that support their vital work is essential for a full economic and social recovery in the state, which depends on arts and culture for 8% of its economy,” the website says. from the program. “CRNY aims to catalyze systemic change in the arts and culture economy, recognize the value of artists’ contributions, and reshape society’s understanding of artists as essential workers in the health of our communities.”
New York’s arts sector has been one of the hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a state comptroller report last February. The report found that two-thirds of the city’s arts, entertainment and recreation jobs evaporated in 2020. Statewide, about half of those jobs were lost. An even deeper crisis faces the city’s immigrant artists, who report dwindling sources of income with little or no help from local authorities.
According to the non-partisan organization Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, quoted on the CRNY website, guaranteed income “is intended to supplement, rather than replace, the existing social safety net and can be a tool for equity racial and gender.
The program first announcement in June 2021, is led by Arts Administrator Sarah Calderon, formerly Executive Director of ArtPlace America, a 10-year grantmaking effort that ended in 2020. According to the original announcement, the artists will serve as “essential partners” in the design and implementation of the initiative as key members of an advisory group that also includes researchers, organizers and leaders of local arts organizations.
Funding for CRNY comes primarily from the Mellon Foundation, with $10 million from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) and the Ford Foundation. Application guidelines for interested artists will be released on February 14.
The initiative joins NYC’s $25 million City Artist Corps program, announced last May, which promised to create jobs for more than 1,500 artists – some of whom have already been employed to beautify and activate public spaces with murals, public artwork and performances. It should be noted that CRNY and the City Artist Corps will only benefit a fraction of the more than 56,000 artists living in the city (as of 2015).
Last year, the City of San Francisco launched its own Guaranteed Income for Artists pilot project, which offers monthly payments of $1,000 to 130 local artists. Originally conceived as a six-month program, it was later extended and expanded with funding from Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.
“Put simply, we need to move beyond valuing the artistic product and start valuing the humanity of the artist,” the CRNY website states. “Artists need and deserve to be paid predictable and regular income.”