More than 1,000 arts organizations across New York City will receive grants totaling $58 million from the Cultural Development Fund, the city announced on Thursday.
A portion of the grants will go to organizations within underserved communities, programs that are dedicated to disabled artists and audiences, and programs that extend access to the arts to groups whose primary language is not English.
“We are working really hard to make the arts accessible for everyone,” said Laurie Cumbo, the city’s commissioner of cultural affairs.
Among the grant recipients are the Parsnip Ship, which produces radio plays; Firelight Media, which supports nonfiction filmmakers of color; and the Noel Pointer Foundation, which teaches string instruments in public schools.
Cumbo said she was proud of the application process, which was revamped to include a virtual peer-panel review and paperless submissions, allowing more organizations to receive funding. Her experience was different as a grant applicant in the 2000s and 2010s.
“We were still doing it on the computer, and printing it out and making copies and running to the post office at midnight to drop off the application and making sure we met the deadline,” said Cumbo, who founded the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art in Brooklyn.
The money from the city is a significant investment in the arts. By comparison, the National Endowment for the Arts had a $180 million budget in its most recent fiscal year.
The minimum grant awarded by New York increased from $5,000 to $10,000, allowing about three-fourths of organizations to receive more funding than they previously did. And 125 of the grant recipients received funds from the program for the first time in at least two years.
Cumbo said she was excited to see the city’s investment in the cultural community. The organizations that receive grants “know that the arts are valued, important and are going to be part of the recovery of the city of New York,” Cumbo said.