“We must bring culture and the arts back to life,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said in the State of the State address this afternoon in announcing a “New York Arts Revival” initiative that will feature:
Statewide pop-up concerts featuring some 150 artists, beginning February 4th, culminating in the opening of Little Island at Pier 55 and the 20th anniversary of the Tribeca Film Festival.
A pilot program exploring how socially distant performances might be held safely in flexible venues whose seating is not fixed
Creative Rebuild Initiative, grants to put more than 1,000 artists back to work, and fund dozens of community arts groups.
Cuomo delivered this announcement in the Day 2 video of his State of the State address, jazzed up with snippets of videos showing curtains opening, the bright lights of Broadway, ballet dancer, a break dancer, a trumpeter, a violinist, a drummer — and pictures of both Little Island and Tribeca.
A transcript of the part of his address about the arts, explaining the details of his new arts initiative:
“We must accelerate the return of the arts. Cities are by definition centers of energy, entertainment, theater and cuisine. 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. And with Zoom many people have learned they can do business from anywhere. Compound the situation with growing crime and homelessness and we have a National Urban crisis. We must bring culture and arts back to life.
President John F Kennedy said and I quote “I see little of more importance to the future of our country and our civilization than full recognition of the place of the artist.” And almost no one has been hurt more by COVID than our artists. According to a study by the National Endowment of the Arts, 52 percent of actors, 55% of dancers and 27% of musicians were out of work in September 2020. In New York, the arts and culture industry accounts for almost half a million jobs and generate 120 billion dollars in economic output. But these are not just statistics.. They are our friends and our neighbor. These artists are part of what makes New York New York…. One thing is clear: We must act. We cannot wait until summer to turn the lights back on for the arts and provide a living wage for artists. We will not let the curtain fall on their careers or on the future of our cities.
Today I’m announcing that New York State is launching New York Arts Revival, a public-private partnership to bring the arts back. We will organize a series of pop-up performances and arts events across the state beginning February 4th, with more than 150 world-class artists including Amy Schumer, Chris Rock, Renee Fleming, Wynton Marsalis and Hugh Jackman will participate, along with arts organizations such as the Ballet Hispanico, Ars Nova, the Albany Symphony Orchestra, the National Black Theater, Pendragon theater in Saranac Lake and many others.
Scott Rudin and Jane Rosenthal will spearhead this effort along with the New York State Council on the Arts which works with more than 1,000 organizations across the state. This ground-breaking initiative will help revive the arts while celebrating New York’s resiliency in recovery from the COVID pandemic. Performances and exhibitions will be held at outdoor sites in New York City and across the state including state parks and other state properties.We will also use flexible venues adapted for social distancing like the Park Avenue Armory, St. Ann’s Warehouse and the Queens Theater.
The initiative will culminate with two landmark events — first the opening of Little Island at Pier 55, the remarkable park in performance space built as a gift to New Yorkers by the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation, and second, the 20th anniversary of the Tribeca film festival in June. Tribeca was founded in the aftermath of 9/11 to revitalize New York City through the arts and it will once again energize our recovery with the Tribeca 2021 edition.
This initiative will be a joint effort between the state and the philanthropic partners. New York State will provide staffing support, marketing and access to world-class open air and spacious venues. All events will follow state guidelines serving as a model for safely reopening the arts across the state and the country
We will also begin piloting large indoor spaces with testing and ventilation to explore what possible safety smart options exist.
Furthermore we will launch the Creative Rebuild Initiative in partnership with Elizabeth Alexander, president of the Mellon Foundation to put over 1,000 artist back to work and fund dozens of community arts groups, each playing a vital role in New York’s vibrant arts scene.
The show will go on, the bands will be back, and New York will be New York again. We will go to performances and we will applaud like never before.”