(Sarah Bahr’s article appeared in The New York Times 1/12; via Pam Green. Photo: “New York City is not New York without Broadway,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Tuesday in unveiling plans for the arts. Theaters have been closed since March because of the pandemic.Credit…Daniel Arnold for The New York Times.)
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said that New York urgently needs to bring the arts back — not only to help jobless artists, but to make sure that New York City survives.
Declaring that New York urgently needs to revive its arts and entertainment industry if it is to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Tuesday that the state would begin taking a series of interim steps to help to bring back some cultural events in the short term and put more unemployed artists back to work.)
“We must bring arts and culture back to life,” Mr. Cuomo said as he continued a weeklong series of policy addresses outlining his agenda for the state.
The governor said that bringing back art and culture was crucial — not just to help artists, who have suffered some of the worst unemployment in the nation, but to keep New York City a vital, exciting center where people will want to live and work.
“Cities are, by definition, centers of energy, entertainment, theater and cuisine,” Mr. Cuomo said, noting the threats the city is facing from the rise in remote work, crime and homelessness. “Without that activity and attraction, cities lose much of their appeal. What is a city without social, cultural and creative synergies? New York City is not New York without Broadway.”
Mr. Cuomo said that the state would begin a public-private partnership to offer a series of statewide pop-up concerts featuring artists such as Amy Schumer, Chris Rock, Renée Fleming and Hugh Jackman; begin a pilot program exploring how socially distant performances might be held safely in flexible venues whose seating is not fixed; and work in partnership with the Mellon Foundation to distribute grants to put more than 1,000 artists back to work and provide money to community arts groups.
The governor said that the state could not wait until summer, when more people are vaccinated, to bring back performances.