New York artists seeking studios, nonprofits facing rising rents, and musicians seeking rehearsal spaces may have some reasons to be hopeful about the future. In a new initiative called New York Works, the city government aims to cultivate creative sector jobs and to provide artists with workspaces.
On Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the New York Works initiative, which aims to create 100,000 well-paying jobs (think $50,000 a year or a realistic starting point to get there) over the coming decade in areas from tech and life sciences to fashion to virtual reality. The 10-year plan is backed by some $1.1 billion in currently earmarked city spending and an additional $250 million the city will account for in upcoming budget updates.
As part of the plan, the city is shooting for 10,000 jobs in the creative and cultural sector. That includes jobs in fashion, film and television, media and design, and music, in addition to visual art. (The city wasn’t immediately able to provide a breakdown of what portion of those 10,000 jobs will go to visual artists.)
“The creative sector is the soul of this city, providing hundreds of thousands of jobs in all five boroughs,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. “To help creative New Yorkers thrive, we need a diverse set of jobs and affordable places to present and create art. This plan will strengthen the entire cultural ecosystem.”
New York Works comes on the heels of a study released by the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) that, as Sarah Cascone wrote in artnet News in May, “painted a grim picture of New York’s affordability for artists.” One startling fact: “A full 40 percent of responding arts and culture workers said they were unable to afford art supplies and tools.”