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2005 New York City Candidates Respond to Survey on the Arts

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The Alliance for the Arts asked candidates for City office in the 2005 elections to respond to five questions on cultural policy. The questions concern the role of City government in New York's cultural life, ranging from funding cultural organizations to promoting arts education and cultural tourism.

Cultural endeavor is New York's most popular activity—26 million in attendance in 2004, according to a new Alliance for the Arts study. The arts are a vital sector of the city's economy and neighborhood life. Alliance research has shown they had an economic impact of $13 billion in 1995 and generated 40,000 jobs. Almost half of the 30 million tourists to New York City come for the arts.

The City of New York is an important cultural funder. The current Department of Cultural Affairs budget of $131.6 million represents .26 percent of the total City budget. At the same time, the City is a major funder of cultural building projects—$836.4 million for 161 organizations over the next four years.

The questions asked were:

1. Cultural budget
The expense budget of the Department of Cultural Affairs is currently $132 million. Would you support increasing the budget at least to its historic high—$139 million for 2001–2002 ($153 million in 2005 dollars)?

2. Capital projects
The capital budget now contains over $836 million over the next four years for cultural projects. Should the City invest more in its cultural infrastructure?

3. Arts education
Would you spend more on arts education in the public schools and education programs provided by cultural organizations?

4. Arts and the economy
How can New York City use the arts to promote economic growth in communities and for the city as a whole?

5. Cultural tourism
How can New York City attract more cultural tourists?

To see all the candidates answers, click here to visit nycartsvote.org.


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