Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Good News! CB3 Arts Task Force Resolution Passed Unanimously March 24th

A resolution composed by the Community Board Arts Task Force that was the result of the CB 1-5 Public Forum on small theatre in NYC & a March 10 Arts Task Force meeting, passed unanimously last evening by Community Board 3, paving the way for other Community Boards to use this language to adopt similar resolutions.

The community board can now bring the resolution to elected officials, requesting further support:
WHEREAS: Arts and Entertainment is one of the largest industries in New York City with the economic impact of non-profit estimated to be $5.8 Billion and 40,460 jobs (NY Alliance for the Arts, 2005);

WHEREAS: Small to mid sized theaters and other arts organizations are an integral part of the Arts & Entertainment industry: A) as an entry point for actors, playwrights, and other artists, B) for the expression and exploration of the diverse culture of New York City communities, C) sites of creativity, experimentation and innovation, D) jobs;

WHEREAS: Small to mid sized theaters and other arts venues are a closely tied to their local neighborhood small businesses, for instance one theater in CB3 had 70 restaurants contribute food to a recent festival;

WHEREAS: Small to mid sized theaters and other arts venues are economic drivers of local neighborhoods, and are a crucial to the cultural and economic resilience and diversity of our neighborhoods;

WHEREAS: A cyclical economic downturn is the TIME TO INVEST in our neighborhood economic drivers and NOT TO DISINVEST in local economic drivers;

WHEREAS: The proposed disinvestment by the City and the State in community based arts may have an adverse multiplier effect on the small businesses and neighborhoods that they are based;

WHEREAS: Foundation funding and government funding are down by 20-40 percent, yet small to mid sized theaters and other non profit arts venues have fixed real estate costs;

WHEREAS: Government funders recommendations to small to mid sized theaters and other arts organizations to cut back on programming in this time of crisis will not work, as programming constituted the revenue for fixed costs and employment;

WHEREAS: CB3 has been a historic incubator and concentration of Off Off Broadway theaters and has lost much of its small theaters in the late 90s and other performing arts venues in the last decade due to real estate competition and speculation, resulting in spaces constructed for performance to be repurposed and irretrievably lost;

WHEREAS: Areas (CB2, CB4, CB5) surrounding CB3 have recently lost 25-30 percent of their small to mid sized theaters in the last five years predominantly due to real estate competition (New York Theatre Innovative Theatre Awards study, Dec 08);

WHEREAS: CB3 remains an important viable center for theater and performing arts;

WHEREAS: There exists innovative policies (land use, tax, public buildings) to sustain and retain theater and other performance venues that other cities and states have successfully used;

WHEREAS: The New York State Assembly member O’Donnell, and NYC Council member Alan Gerson’s office are proposing bills to create a property tax abatement for commercial landlords that rent to non-profit cultural groups;

WHEREAS: CB3 Art Task Force Town Halls, and the recent joint Community Board Forum on small to mid sized theaters have been well attended with extensive expert and public testimony on the loss of theater and arts venues, the importance of theater and arts venues for local communities, and the severe financial crisis hitting small to mid sized theater.

THEREFORE IT BE RESOLVED: CB3 calls on its elected officials to acknowledge small to mid sized theaters and other arts organizations to be crucial to the cultural and economic resilience and diversity of our neighborhoods, to recognize the arts as economic drivers and integral to local small neighborhood businesses;

THEREFORE IT BE FURTHER RESOLVED: CB3 call on its elected officials to develop and adopt land use , tax and other governmental incentives and policies to retain and secure theater and other arts and cultural venue spaces and to retain arts and cultural organizations in our district and the City of New York.

THEREFORE IT BE FURTHER RESOLVED: CB3 calls on its elected officials, and the Governor, to act in order to restore the 100 percent funding cut from remaining funds of the New York State Council of the Arts (NYSCA) for Fiscal Year 2009, to restore NYSCA funding to sustainable levels in Fiscal Year 2010, and not to discriminate against small to mid-sized theaters and arts organizations.

THEREFORE IT BE FURTHER RESOLVED: CB3 calls on its elected representatives of Congress to include small to mid-sized theaters and other arts organizations in job retention and economic stimulus funding, and not to discriminate against the arts and non-profits in urban stabilization, job retention, and other funding and policies assisting other small businesses.
THANK YOU to all who have attended meetings leading up to these events! It's because of our community that our voices were heard loud and clear through these otherwise distracting and difficult times. And THANK YOU to Shay Gines, John Clancy, Paul Nagel and Tamara Greenfield, who all spoke last night in support of CB3's Arts Task Force's recommendations

The next CB3 Arts Task Force Meeting will be April 7th; stay tuned for more information.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Public Forum UPDATES & ACTION ITEMS (FULL CB3 Board meeting TOMORROW!)

In case you're not receiving updates from the Theatre task force, most recent update with action items:
"Thank you for being one of more than 300 activists who attended the
February 17th Community Board Congress on Small to Mid-sized Theaters
and/or have recently asked to be included on this list.

We told you we would take the ideas from that night and work to put the
power of the Community Boards behind them.

That process began on Tuesday, March 10th. The Arts Task Force of
Community Board 3 met at Theater for the New City to discuss the forum and
events that have occurred since that night.

In attendance were approximately 30 outside observers. Invited guest
Caron Atlas kicked off the meeting speaking about opportunities for
combined community organizing and arts advocacy.

The task force drafted and unanimously passed a resolution in support of
our goals. Resolutions are the community boards’ mechanism for formally
conveying their concerns and policy initiatives to elected officials. A
resolution must first be passed by the appropriate committee. It is then
sent to the Executive Committee for comments and tweaking; and a final
resolution is crafted for presentation and vote at the full board’s
monthly meeting.

Action Steps You Can Take:

Come to the CB3 full Board meeting on Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 6:30 p.m.
at PS 20 at 166 Essex Street (E Houston & Stanton Streets).

Sign up to speak at Public Session between 6:00-6:30pm. You will be given
approximately 2 minutes in front of the mike.

Submit an impact statement if you were a victim of the NYSCA 2009 100%
funding cuts and bring copies to submit the individual board
members(approximately 40).

This resolution can be used by the other community boards as the basis of
similar letters or resolutions, so that small to mid-sized theaters can be
advocated for on a common basis and at the same time across all affected
Community Boards.

The State Legislature is meeting at the end of this month to specifically
discuss NYSCA Funding and its restoration. They read their mail. Our job
is show them that small to mid-sized theaters demand their support.

If you agree with the idea behind basic resolution (specific wording is
still being worked on by the CB3 Task Force), please considering coming
and showing support at this meeting. And if you were caught in the NYSCA
funding debacle, please consider sending us a one page impact statement
about how your organization was affected.

We will present these to policy makers as a compendium of (anonymous if

When further resolutions are taken up by the other Community Boards, we
will let you know about those meetings as well.

Thanks again for your interest and support.

David M. Pincus, on behalf of the theater/arts task forces of Community
Boards 1-5."

Check out our resources as well. Hope to see you tomorrow!