West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Volume 77, Number 19 | October 10 - 16, 2007

Meeting to paint broad picture on condition of arts

By Audrey Tempelsman

On Mon., Oct. 15, at 6:30 p.m., Community Board 3’s Task Force on Arts & Culture will hold a public forum on the local state of the arts at the Theater for the New City, at 155 First Ave. between Ninth and 10th Sts. The discussion will focus on the conditions affecting arts and culture on the Lower East Side and in the East Village and Chinatown and what can be done to protect the creative vitality of these neighborhoods. 

“We’re in a crisis right now,” said Paul Bartlett, a member of the Arts & Culture Task Force. “Nonprofits can’t generate enough revenue to support themselves with the rents being asked for now. Everyone is losing space. 

“We need to see how we can work with our elected officials and city government to make it easier to produce art in this neighborhood and to exist as artists,” he said.

Artists, arts groups and culture groups and community members are asked to lend their perspective at the meeting. This way, task force member Sam Quan Krueger said, C.B. 3 can appropriately prioritize the issue of the arts’ survival. 

“There can’t just be a handful of people saying, ‘From our perspective these are the problems the community board needs to address.’ We need to hear this from the community itself. Then we can take stock,” he said. 

The task force hopes to hear about factors attributed to the success of local artists and arts groups, as well as those issues causing challenges.

The task force also hopes to examine existing resources, such as community spaces and gardens, that need the task force’s special attention and support. Finally, it is hoped that community members will share proposals for action. 

“The community boards used to be called community planning boards,” said Bartlett. “We’re trying to push them to be more proactive, to function more as advocates to create new policies, instead of just reacting to whatever proposal comes up. This forum, hopefully, will be just the beginning for us.”

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