Apr 21, 2020
News

New York City may slash the Department of Cultural Affairs’ budget.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo by Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office, via Flickr.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo by Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office, via Flickr.

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio is considering cutting the budget for the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) by about 35 percent as part of a plan to stem the roughly $7.4 billion shortfall in tax revenue the city is facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The DCLA cuts, totaling around $75 million, would be part of a proposed executive budget that is around $6 billion less than the preliminary plan introduced in January.
The DCLA supports nonprofit arts organizations throughout the five boroughs in the form of direct funds, operational support, capital design, and construction aid. Last fiscal year, the DCLA received $212 million in funding, its largest allocation ever (for comparison’s sake, the National Endowment for Arts’s funding for 2020 is $162.25 million). The proposed new city budget would provide $137.5 million to the DCLA, although that number is subject to change as adjustments are made before the municipal government’s final budgetary vote on June 30th. As of right now, baseline funding for the department has only been reduced by 5 percent. If implemented, the cuts would mostly affect smaller institutions that rely on the DCLA for support.
The announcement of the proposed cuts come amidst a worsening state of affairs for museums both in New York City and across the country. The Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Los Angeles, Cleveland Museum of Art and many others have seen staff cuts, and many institutions have had to adapt their long-term plans to weather the crisis.

Further Reading: How Three Very Different Museums Are Dealing with the COVID-19 Crisis

Further Reading: Museums Are Finding New Ways to Connect with Art Lovers Online during Quarantine