The state governor of New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that several programs are set to be put in place this month in a bid to support live music and performances, stressing the importance of the contribution arts and culture makes to the economy.
The industry has taken one of the most severe financial hits of all due to the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in the United States – the most devastatingly affected country in the entire world with a tragic estimated report of 465,000 deaths at the time of writing this article.
Cuomo has shared that a series of 300 free pop-up performances entitled “NY PopsUp” will run from February 20th, beginning in New York City through to Labor Day, a national public holiday celebrating workers. Labor Day in the USA falls on September 6th this year.
According to the New York Times, the pop-up events “are part of a public-private partnership”, with the series being run by prolific directors Jane Rosenthal and Scott Rudin together with the New York State Council on the Arts and Empire State Development.
The first part of the series will begin at the Javits Center in New York City as a free performance for healthcare workers; with performers Jon Batiste, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Cecile McLorin Salvant and Ayodele Casell travelling across New York’s five boroughs following the first performance.
The pop up events are scheduled to be held at “flexible venues that do not have fixed seats” as well as outdoors to protect the public’s safety, of course – with events to be held at parks, street corners and on the footsteps / outside hospitals. In a statement to the New York Times, Cuomo said:
We’re trying to thread the needle. We want the performances. We don’t want mass gatherings. We don’t want large crowds.
Following this, Cuomo stated that the government needs to engage more actively with the arts sector for economic recovery:
It’s not going to be a situation where the economy is just going to come back. We have to make it come back. New York leads, and we’re going to lead in bringing back the arts.
The mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio also announced further initiatives regarding the arts, releasing new details on the Open Culture program which allows for “a new permit type available from the Mayor’s Street Activity Permit Office allowing for ticketed performances.”
De Blasio also shared details of a new city program titled ‘Curtains Up NYC‘, which will be offering financial aid (federal grants) to art institutions.