Cuomo emphasizes artist rebound in second installment of State of the State

January 11, 2021- Albany, NY- Governor Andrew M. Cuomo delivers his 2021 State of the State Address in the War Room at the state Capitol (Darren McGee- Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s “reconstruction” plan following the COVID-19 pandemic – when it resolves – will put a focus on an arts revival, claiming that it will be critical to keeping the attraction to New York City alive.

Invoking the words of President John F. Kennedy, Cuomo said Feb. 4 will be the start of a public-private partnership to bring performances and exhibitions to outdoor venues across the state such as the Queens Theater and Pier 55.

“Almost no one has been heard more by COVID than our artists. According to a study by the National Endowment of the Arts, 52% of actors 55% of dancers and 27% of musicians were out of work in September 2020 in New York, the arts and culture industry accounts for almost half a million jobs and generates $120 billion in economic output,” Cuomo said.

In the public-private partnership with Philanthropic partners, according to Cuomo, the state will be providing spaces, staff support and marketing. There will also be a pilot program for opening large indoor spaces with testing and ventilation.

One of the partnerships the state plans to forge is with Elizabeth Alexander, president of the Mellon Foundation, with the goal in mind of putting 1,000 artists to work by funding community arts groups.

“We must act, we cannot wait until summer to turn the lights back on for the arts and provide a living wage for artists. We will not let the curtain fall on their careers or on the future of our cities,” Cuomo said. “Today I’m announcing that New York State is launching New York arts revival, a public private partnership to bring the arts back. We will organize a series of pop up performances and arts events across the state beginning Feb. 4, more than 150 world-class artists… will spearhead this effort.”

Cuomo believes some of the changes imposed by COVID-19 will be permanent, however. He warns New Yorkers to expect some adaptations to the New York way of life to remain after the COVID-19 pandemic is in the past.

Cuomo also plans bring a cheaper internet to New Yorkers with average broadband plans costing an average of over $50 per month, leaving some families without telemedicine or access to a means of applying for jobs as well as barriers in education.

Cuomo plans to mandate that internet service providers lower their rates to $15 per month for all low-income households.

Over-availability of hotel and office space is also an opportunity that Cuomo spoke on during his Monday installment of the State of the State address. Hotel and office could be used for homeless and supportive housing, Cuomo said, though a comprehensive plan is not forthcoming at the moment.

The proposal, however, will include granting building owners the flexibility in a legal sense to make these conversions.

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