The NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and Hester Street (HST) worked with artists, cultural organizations, New York City agencies, arts and culture experts, and community residents to inform the creation of New York City’s first cultural plan. The plan is a roadmap that uses the lens of equity to guide the future of arts and culture in the five boroughs. We analyzed the City’s current cultural priorities, assessed how service to different neighborhoods can be improved, studied the condition of arts organizations and artists, and planned how the city can remain a place where artists live and work in a time of high rents and other economic pressures.

We engaged nearly 200,000 New Yorkers in 99% of NYC zip codes. We held 80 tabling events; 30 focus groups; 115 meetings; 6 large workshops; 40 research events; collected 10,000 surveys and engaged New Yorkers through a unique website, email list and social media. Resident feedback was incorporated with a broad range of research, data, and mapping into recommendations for sustaining and supporting arts and culture throughout the city.

The main goals were to maintain New York’s role as an international beacon for the creative community and to expand opportunities for residents and visitors to engage with the city’s unparalleled cultural assets. For one year before the plan’s release in June 2017, we asked New Yorkers to show up, speak up and step up at a series of borough workshops, focus groups and other events to tell us what culture means to them.

In July 2019, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs released the new CreateNYC Action Plan, along with a redesign of the CreateNYC website. The goal of the Action Plan is to streamline the original cultural plan to better communicate both progress to date and strategies going forward. The Action Plan reorganizes CreateNYC’s 90+ recommendations into five broad objectives with 22 supporting strategies, providing a more concise, accessible, and user-friendly format for residents, advocates, and all stakeholders.