It’s hard to imagine that a 400-year old city which has historically been a world mecca for culture and the arts has never actually thought about creating an actual cultural plan. Now’s a great time as cities and towns across the world have started to examine and promote their cultural assets and milieu. The task was correctly handed to the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs or DCLA as its known. Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl is the perfect leader for this task.
The Hester Street Collaborative won the contract with a team that includes James Lima Planning + Development, NOCD-NY, BJH Advisors, and House of Cakes Design. It is a massive effort working under a nearly impossible deadline but the city made a great choice. To keep up with the effort bookmark CreateNYC.
The plan public kickoff event was held in the Bronx at the Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture at Hostos Community College on October 25th. It was a rousing event and a lovely evening. As someone pretty new to NYC (1st anniversary will be December 19th) it was wonderful to see so many of the people in the NYC cultural world I’ve met during 2016 including Charlotte Cohen of the Brooklyn Arts Council, Wendy Feuer of NYC DOT, Jennifer Lantzas of NYC Parks, Susan Chin of the Design Trust for Public Space, and Shirley Levy and Tom Finkelpearl of DCLA.
The event was excellent and very well attended. As I mentioned to Betsy McLean of Hester Street and James Lima of James Lima Planning, it went off like clockwork. It started with a rousing hour of short speeches and beautiful performances – just long enough but not too long. While all the performers were wonderful, Alice Sheppard’s dance was my favorite.
After the performances, everybody stayed for the after event with various informational tables, food, and conversation. I got to make a number of new friends and learned more about the process. It was a tremendous start! Here are a few photos I took:
FYI, the next big workshop events are in Queens,
Come to an event! Through the spring of 2017 there will be borough-wide workshops, focus groups, round table discussions, and community-based meetings convened by local organizations. Keep up at Create NYC!