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The City of New York will put some artists to work this summer with a $25 million program inspired by the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration (WPA). Announced yesterday, May 6, the recovery program will pay hundreds of local artists to beautify and activate public spaces across the city with murals, public artworks, performances, and more.
The new program, called City Artist Corps, is expected to create jobs for more than 1,500 artists in NYC, a fraction of more than 56,000 artists living in the city (as of 2015). At a news conference yesterday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio named the depression-era WPA as a direct inspiration for the initiative.
“We’re going to take inspiration from that model and bring it to today,” de Blasio said. “The City Artist Corp is going to employ artists as part of the comeback of New York City.”
New York’s arts sector was hit hardest during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report by the state comptroller in February. The report found that two-thirds of arts, entertainment, and recreation jobs in the city evaporated in 2020. An ever deeper crisis faces immigrant artists in the city, who report diminished livelihood sources with little to no aid from local authorities.
Gonzalo Casals, the city’s recently appointed Cultural Affairs Commissioner, called the NEW program a “historic investment in local artists.”
“A recovery for all has to include culture, which is such an important part of healthy, vibrant neighborhoods,” the commissioner said in a statement. “Building on efforts to lift up all residents and spur New York’s recovery, the City Artist Corps will bring public spaces to life in all five boroughs and make sure the Summer of New York City is a Summer of Art.”
“The impossibility of reforming Tony [Soprano] bears some resemblance to the crisis plaguing museums and toxic philanthropy today, where a culture of bullying and exploitation belies programming of socially- and politically-engaged art.”
As a critic, I’m dying to make a meta-critique of the ways my communities are represented on screen.
Over 50 years of the artist’s video and media work on how images, sound, and cultural iconography inform representation is on view through December 30.
Frey ponders why she felt comfort in television and film content that intellectuals often take pride in dismissing.
What does Rutherford Falls, a new TV series that prominently features two small town museums, tell us about the way people see the contentious stories on display in history and art institutions?
Over the course of three months, the resident artists in Going to the Meadow will collaborate and create with a curated set of continually changing materials.