Artists are also critical to the health of our economy. The arts and culture industries typically generate around $120 billion in revenue for New York State and account for nearly half a million jobs. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state has lost half of its performing arts jobs.¹
Support for New York’s artists and for the organizations that support their vital work is critical for a full economic and social recovery of the state, which relies on the arts and culture for 8 percent of its economy.
Creatives Rebuild New York (CRNY) is a three-year, $125 million initiative that will provide guaranteed income and employment opportunities for up to 2,700 artists throughout New York State. These two components will work to alleviate unemployment of artists, continue the creative work of artists in partnership with their communities and arts and cultural organizations, and enable artists to continue working and living in New York State under less financial strain.
Simply put, we must move beyond valuing the artistic product and begin to value the humanity of the artist. Artists need and deserve to be paid predictable and regular incomes.
CRNY aims to catalyze systemic change in the arts and cultural economy, recognize the value of artists’ contributions, and reshape society’s understanding of artists as workers who are vital to the health of our communities. The work will center the knowledge and expertise of artists and practitioners; distribute funds where they are needed most; and be evaluated equitably such that learnings can be replicated and integrated into future policy. Artists will serve as critical thought-partners in the design and implementation of both programs.