New York, NY – July 18, 2017 – The following is a joint statement from interim co-chairs of the newly established New Yorkers for Culture and Arts, John F. Calvelli, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs, Wildlife Conservation Society, and Andrea Louie, Executive Director of the Asian American Arts Alliance:


“New York City’s culture and arts organizations applaud Mayor De Blasio and the New York City Council for recognizing the importance of strengthening culture and arts in New York City and building on last year’s one-time increase in this year’s FY18 city budget for a total of $18.5 million in expense funding for the city’s 1,500-plus cultural organizations.


“These organizations help make New York City a cultural capital of the world. They provide New Yorkers in all five boroughs the opportunity to learn about and experience a vast array of cultural disciplines including dance, music, art, film, history, wildlife and more that serve as inspiration in life and career.


“Access to culture is an important part of what makes New York great. Culture and arts organizations are not only educational resources for the communities they serve, they drive tourism to the boroughs and impact the economic health of the neighborhoods around them.


“Through the NYCInspires campaign, people from all over the city have voiced their support for increased funding for culture and have shared their stories about how culture in New York City inspired them as children to devote their lives and careers to pursue a life that reflects those beginnings – bettering the city, their communities, and future generations.


“On behalf of the more than 1,500 cultural organizations – big and small – we thank Mayor Bill De Blasio along with Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer, Finance Committee Chair Julissa Ferreras-Copeland and all Councilmembers for their increased support and for helping make New York City realize its full potential for those that live and visit here.”