NYC inaugural 'cultural impact' grants partner arts nonprofits with city agencies


NYC inaugural 'cultural impact' grants partner arts nonprofits with city agencies

NYC 'cultural impact' grantees use the arts to enhance public assets. Pictured here: The West Side Community Garden in Manhattan. The MGCI grant will go to Success Garden in East New York, Brooklyn. (Charley Lhasa/Flickr)

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl have announced seven partnerships for the inaugural Mayor’s Grant for Cultural Impact (MGCI). The selected initiatives are meant to equitably enhance existing services or public assets while addressing issues like urban planning, literacy, public heath, and criminal justice.

“Our CreateNYC cultural plan called for thoughtful, innovative ways to integrate our [city]’s creative energy into public service. Today, we continue to put that into action,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio, in prepared remarks. “When [city] government works hand in hand with community anchors, we can deliver the cultural access and equity which all New Yorkers deserve.”

MGCI grows out of CreateNYC, the city’s cultural blueprint. That initiative found “major potential” for these types of government-nonprofit collaborations across the arts.

The participating organizations were selected through an application process and an open call. Each collaboration garners $50,000 in cash from the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) and $25,000 in matching funds or in-kind services from the partnering group. Taken together, the collaborations are worth over a half a million dollars.

In East New York, Brooklyn, neighborhood nonprofit ARTs East NY is teaming up with the Department of City Planning (DCP) for CivLab, a project to activate an underused public space in Success Garden, a slice of green on Williams Avenue between the Livonia L and Pennsylvania Ave 2/3 trains. While building off of the city’s rezoning of the neighborhood for higher density and more affordable housing, the project will try to integrate the arts into civic life.

“We are excited to take part in this extension of the CreateNYC Cultural Plan. This initiative will allow us to deepen our work with community members in revitalizing vacant spaces in the East New York community, replacing them with reflective beauty and pride,” said Catherine Green, founder and executive director of ARTs East New York.

Like the six other teams, ARTs East NY and DCP have until June 30—the end of the fiscal year—to carry out their program.

Other partnerships include the Bronx Documentary Center’s collaboration with the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, and a joint Carnegie Hall–Department of Probation initiative. A full list and project descriptions can be found here.