CB5 passes resolution in support of small theatre
Resolution passed by Community Board 5 on April 17, 2009
WHEREAS: Arts and Entertainment is one of the largest industries in New York City with the economic impact of non-profit 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) sites of creativity, experimentation and innovation, D) jobs;
WHEREAS: Small to mid sized theaters and other arts venues are a 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 a 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 that 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 constituted the revenue for fixed costs and employment;
WHEREAS: Community Board Five's smaller theaters have been an historic incubator for talent and product that eventually play the neighboring Broadway theaters;
WHEREAS: Our area (CB5, CB4, CB2) has 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: Community Board Five remains the most active, viable center for theater and performing arts;
WHEREAS: There exists 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, and NYC Council member Alan Gerson’s office are proposing bills to create a property tax abatement for commercial landlords that rent to non-profit cultural groups;
WHEREAS: The recent joint Community Board Forum on small to mid sized theaters was 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: Community Board Five 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: Community Board Five calls 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: Community Board Five 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: Community Board Five 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.