LMCC gives $1.5 million to local artists

BY GABE HERMAN | The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council announced on Feb. 28 it was giving more than $1.5 million in grants and residencies to nearly 300 Manhattan artists and arts groups.

LMCC is granting more money than it has ever before — doubling the amount it granted to artists in 2017.

The funds are being distributed through four programs: Creative Engagement, for artists and groups; Creative Learning, for arts education and programming for people of all ages; UMEZ Arts Engagement, for arts projects specifically in Upper Manhattan; and SU-CASA, for bringing artists and their work to senior centers.

MICHIYAYA Dance Company is among LMCC’s grant recipients for this year in the “Creative Engagement” (Photo by Sam Hershberger)

Lili Chopra, LMCC’s executive director of artist programs, noted that artists’ money-raising skills aren’t always on par with their creativity.

“Individual artists are at the core of Manhattan’s cultural life, igniting a web of creativity throughout the city, and yet often lag behind organizations in building resources for their projects,” she said.

LMCC’s backers include the state’s Council on the Arts, the city’s Department for the Aging, and the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Tom Finkelpearl, the Cultural Affairs commissioner, said the grants would have a tangible impact on the cultural landscape.

“We are proud to support such a diverse group of over 200 grantees as part of a record-high city investment in culture across the five boroughs,” he said, “and we are eager to see the collective impact on New York’s vibrant cultural life in Manhattan and beyond.”

Among the grant winners are Blackberry Productions, for its documentary theater work “My Harlem Tis of Thee,” which tells stories related to gentrification; the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council’s Young Composer’s Program for youth to learn to write music; Los Pleneros de la 21, for a project that features a year-long lineup of Puerto Rican music and culture performances; and OPEN DOORS Reality Poets, for a play called Real Cuts Barbershop that addresses issues around street violence.

More information about the grants program can be found at lmcc.net .