The New York state budget for 2011 has targeted the arts for serious cuts. Mayor Bloomberg proposed a 33% budget reduction along with a decrease in grant funding that would invariably trigger more layoffs and arts groups closing. In fact, according to a representative of the New York City Arts Coalition, this budget proposal hits art funding harder than any other state agency. Cuts to state arts funding agencies would affect large institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, smaller city art institutions and non-profit art organizations alike. To make matters worse, there has reportedly been a general drop in donations to charities.
To fully restore the arts budget to 2010 levels would require an estimated additional $50 million dollars in funding. The situation seemed bleak until a surprising intervention by the New York City Council that decided to restore approximately $30 of the $50 million in cut funding to the Department of Cultural Affairs to spend on the arts. The final budget voted in at $149.5 million will be used to support arts programming and cultural institution groups, such as museums, zoos and performing arts centers in city-owned buildings. The City Council’s decision recognizes the importance of New York City’s vital cultural community to the long-term welfare of the city.