What We're Reading: Want more black creatives? Stop cutting arts funding

"On Inauguration Day in January 2021, many were left spellbound by Amanda Gorman’s 'The Hill We Climb.' As the youngest inaugural poet and first national youth poet laureate, Gorman’s words were both poignant and powerful." said Marissa Gutierrez-Vicario, Word in Black, for Afro News. "However, as the social media buzz surrounding her delivery began to subside, a critical question arose: how can we ensure that the next generation of Amanda Gormans have the resources they need to succeed?"

"Through the work of artists, cultural institutions, and community-based art organizations like our own, young people’s lives are continuously enriched; be it through the development of a new skill, the creation of their own piece of artwork, or the beautification of a public space after the completion of a youth arts program." 

"We believe that beyond the pandemic, arts and cultural experiences are going to be the bridge to a vibrant New York City — and to cities and small towns nationwide. Yet in order for all students to get the creative opportunities they need and deserve, cultural agencies need sustained funding for the arts.

According to a March 2023 Bronx News 12 report, the New York City Council has promised a $3 million dollar investment in public schools, which will be split between 120 schools in five boroughs." 

"It is estimated that principals from each school would receive roughly $24,000 which could go directly into teacher salaries or funding for art materials and art workshops in the classroom." 

"According to the Daily News, the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens will receive nearly two-thirds of this funding. While this is promising, arts advocates within the city say that the fight is not over yet and that we must continue to advocate for the arts in our community." 

"While organizations like the New York City Arts in Education Roundtable, which 'improves, advances, and advocates for arts education,' [with the purpose to 'elevate, enhance, and sustain the work of the arts education community'] applaud the current efforts of the New York City Council to prioritize arts education, the final Fiscal 2024 Budget will truly determine the city’s support for the arts." 

"Even though there has been financial support put into place in the short term, our communities have to advocate to maintain annual funding that is specifically geared towards arts in New York Public Schools. This includes future artists, creatives, visionaries, and cultural workers in a city that regards culture and community as an integral part of our lived experiences." 

Read the full piece here.