Because NYC is 'the Art Capital of the World', Investing $25 Million in Artists is Good for the City
New York City — Jay-Z once described New York as "having an invisible Muse that floats above the city." Indeed, so far as the word museum comes from the Greek root muse, it's no wonder the City That Never Sleeps holds the record for most museums in the country. 100 to be exact!
Artists are to NYC what techies are to Silicon Valley. For this reason, the city's Artists Corps Program is just what artists need.
The pandemic seems to have hit the art world hard. In particular, here in the city. And as Andy Warhol once noted, regarding the pressures of being an artist in the very Mecca of the art world:
Just like New Yorkers themselves, the trees in New York [City] work harder than any others in the world.
On Thursday, officials announced the plan to lend financial support to artists around the city, many of whom saw their income plummet due to the pandemic.
Sure, art may be "good for the soul," but food and shelter are good for the body. And so, when the matter concerns securing basic necessities in the heart of a pandemic, quite naturally — the less disposable income New Yorkers have, the more disposal artists become.
“Our artists have been one of the hardest-hit communities during the pandemic," said Vicki Been, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development. "Making sure these essential workers have the support they need to succeed in New York City is inextricably linked to a recovery for all of us.”
Calling artists "essential workers" is the key takeaway, indeed! For, as noted, though artists may not be essential in other parts of the country, they sure are to New York City.
Whether it's the half-shaven head lady — seated cross-legged — painting on some canvas in SoHo or the guy breakdancing with eyes closed at some free pop-up performance, these artists . . . painting and dancing to the beat of their own drum are what makes New York — "the city so nice they had to name it twice."
From the traditional visual artists, who paint pictures with brushes, to the musicians who paint pictures with words — all stand to benefit from the program. The hope, then, seems to be for these artists to shower the city with creativity. Live performances and new murals and pop-up shows will again take center stage.
"Art and artists make New York City the cultural capital of the world, and the artistic community has an essential role in building a recovery for all of us," Mayor de Blasio said. "The City Artist Corps will tap into our greatest resource — New Yorkers' boundless creativity — to create jobs and make our city more beautiful and vibrant than ever."
In short, to ensure musicians and museums remain attuned to that "invisible Muse that floats around the city," and thereby make her visible, this artistic program seems to be just what the Muse ordered.