City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer introduced legislation (Intro. 2398) that would make the temporary Open Culture permit program permanent and year-round.
More than 220 Open Culture permits have been granted since the program’s inception, with more than 450 outdoor performances and rehearsals taking place across the five boroughs so far.
The program was created in response to traditional performance venues closing their doors in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since its launch, the Open Culture program has become a vital tool for cultural institutions, performance venues and artists to share their work with the public, earn revenue and activate city streets with music, dance and performance art.
“By making the Open Culture program a permanent fixture in New York City, we will not only provide an additional lifeline for our artists, performers and vital cultural organizations, it will also create an exciting new norm for diverse performances throughout the city,” Van Bramer said.
In addition to making the Open Culture program permanent, his legislation will expand eligibility requirements to allow more arts organizations and artists to apply, and will also increase the number of available streets for permits.
The bill also creates a new annual reporting requirement, evaluating benefits and challenges of the program, potential funding, and production support from the city, as well as reviewing applicant feedback.
“Open Culture is an important first step using streets in every neighborhood for culture of every kind,” New Yorkers for Culture & Arts Executive Director Lucy Sexton said. “With more support for the artists bringing music, dance, words and art to our neighborhoods, the program could show the world that NYC prioritizes culture and community.”