Resolution passed unanimously (no abstentions)
by Community Board 3
March 24, 2009
WHEREAS: Arts and Entertainment is one of the largest industries in New York City with the economic impact of non-profit arts 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) for sites of creativity, experimentation and innovation, D) for jobs;
WHEREAS: Small to mid sized theaters and other arts venues are 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 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 in which 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 constitutes the revenue for fixed costs and employment;
WHEREAS: CB3 has been a historic incubator and concentration of Off-Off Broadway theaters and has lost many 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 being 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 exist 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 has proposed increased capital funding, and NYC Council member Alan Gerson’s office is proposing a bill 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.
Next up: CB4 Theater Task Force Meeting, on Tuesday, March 31 at 6:30 p.m.
CB 4 Office, 330 W. 42nd St., Between 8th and 9th, 26th Floor.