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HomeCoronavirusMayor De Blasio Releases Guidelines For “Open Culture” Program

Mayor De Blasio Releases Guidelines For “Open Culture” Program

Mayor De Blasio Releases Guidelines For “Open Culture” Program

Cultural organizations can apply to produce performances and arts programming in designated streets starting March 1

Mayor Bill de Blasio announces the opening of the Open Culture Program to allow live performances on designated streets. Dock Street between Front Street and Water Street, Brooklyn. Monday, February 08, 2021. Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today released guidelines for the City’s Open Culture program, which will permit outdoor cultural performances on designated city streets this spring. Open Culture will provide stages for artists and cultural groups in all five boroughs, putting artists back to work and providing New Yorkers the opportunity to enjoy the arts safely in their neighborhoods.

“Arts, culture, and live events are the heart of New York City. Today, we’re bringing them back,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “From Open Streets, to Open Restaurants, to Open Culture, New York City has found creative and sustainable ways to connect New Yorkers to their neighborhoods while staying safe from COVID-19. I’m honored to support the cultural institutions who make our city great, and I can’t wait to see our creative community in action.”

“Art and culture make New York’s communities stronger, more vibrant places and they provide jobs for cultural workers across the five boroughs,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Gonzalo Casals. “The pandemic has hit the cultural community hard, particularly the performing arts sector which thrives on live, in person experiences. With Open Culture, we’re thrilled to raise the curtain on dozens of streets across the city as new sites for culture, community, and engagement, and we look forward to seeing our artists and cultural groups bring them to life later this spring.”

“New York City can’t come back without the creative economy, which has been severely impacted by the pandemic with so many live music and performing arts venues unable to operate since March of last year,” said Anne del Castillo, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. “The Open Culture program allows people to safely experience our performing arts offerings while supporting the venues, cultural institutions and talented performers who make our great city the creative capital of the world.” 

“Open Culture will provide critical revenue and recovery opportunities for hundreds of arts and entertainment organizations, while giving New Yorkers brand new ways to enjoy their neighborhoods. We are proud to work across city agencies to write the playbook on creatively using public space to meet needs during this time,” said Ellyn Canfield, Executive Director, Citywide Event Coordination and Management.

Modeled on the City’s successful and nation-leading Open Streets program, Open Culture is a new permit type available from the Mayor’s Street Activity Permit Office (SAPO) allowing for ticketed performances, rehearsals, classes, and workshops. Arts and cultural institutions, as well as entertainment venues, can secure a permit for single day, socially distanced performances at over 100 street locations throughout all five boroughs. Following the release of these draft guidelines, applications will open to eligible organizations March 1, 2021 and will extend through October 31, 2021. Eligible organizations include:

  • Arts and Culture Institutions: Members of the Cultural Institutions Group (CIG); recipients of Cultural Development Fund (CDF) support; recipients of borough arts council funding in 2019 or 2020; or other groups are eligible for CDF grant funding but haven’t received before.
  • Cultural Venues (Performance Venues): Entertainment facilities designed to be used for a performance in front of a live audience; this could include concert venues, theaters, and other establishments.

SAPO will accept applications on a rolling basis starting March 1, 2021. For complete guidelines, visit SAPO’s website.


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