Governor Cuomo Announces ‘New York Arts Revival’ Program

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the launch of ‘New York Arts Revival’ program on January 12, 2021. After the devastating blow the live entertainment industry has taken from the Coronavirus Pandemic the ‘New York Arts Revival’ could be exactly the push New York needs to help save the live entertainment industry.

The ‘New York Arts Revival’ will be a combination of a public and private partnership and will be one of the most ambitious programs to promote live entertainment on a statewide scale. The program will feature and promote indoor and outdoor shows over the coming months and will feature upward of 150 performers. 

What is a city without social, cultural, and creative synergies?… We must bring culture and arts back to life… and almost one has been hurt 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 of 2020. In New York the arts and culture account for almost half a million jobs and generate $120 billion in economic output. But these aren’t just statistics. These are our friends and our neighbors. These artists are part of what makes New York, New York.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

Governor Cuomo’s plan to help save these artists and the industry is with the ‘New York Arts Revival’ program. The program will host multiple pop up performances starting on February 4, 2021 across the State of New York. The outdoor venues will be outdoor stages in prominent Cities across the state to State Parks. They will also use flexible venues adapted for social distancing. These pop up performances will include big names Amy Schumer, Chris Rock, Renée Fleming, Wynton Marsalis, and Hugh Jackman. Art organizations will also be involved with the ‘New York Arts Revival’ like the Ballet Hispanico, ARS NOVA, The Albany Symphony Orchestra,  The National Black Theatre, and the Pendragon Theater.  

Jane Rosenthal who is known as the co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival and Broadway and film producer Scott Rudin will be leading the charge in the ‘New York Arts Revival’ along with the New York State Council on the Arts according to Governor Cuomo. The program will culminate with the opening with the Little Island at a new 2.7-acre public park on Pier 55 in the Hudson River, close to Greenwich Village and the 20th anniversary of the Tribeca Film Festival. 

Not everyone is as thrilled about the ‘New York Arts Revival’ though due to the fact it didn’t seem to focus on the music industry as much as the other live entertainment industries. Lowell Wurster of Plattsburgh band Lucid spoke on Cuomo’s address saying, “He doesn’t mention anything about live music in there. If you can socially distance at Chris Rock show then you can do the same thing for live music. More than half my friends are out of work right now.  Most of them aren’t making ends meet by doing live streams. If they can find a safe and responsible way to have an audience for stand up comedian then they should be including live music in that mix also.” 

Greg Bell of Guthrie/Bell Productions shared a similar sentiment, noting the lack of specifics and attention to Upstate New York from Cuomo.

It appears that Gov. Cuomo is basically talking about the greater Metropolitan region when discussing his new Arts Revival. He does not appear to be considering the rest of the state at this time. I assume that he is planning to test the waters Downstate before making plans for the rest of New York. At best, we would be looking at outdoor venues, large theaters and large arenas that may be able to put on shows with social distancing. I do not see clubs and smaller venues benefiting from this at all. I do not know if the plan includes independent promoters doing Drive-In shows or small outdoor festivals returning or if it is geared towards large corporations like Live Nation and State or local municipality run events. While a step in the right direction, I think that it is unclear how much this new plan will affect live music overall.

Greg Bell, Guthrie/Bell Productions

Will the ‘New York Arts Revival’ help the music industry? It’s unclear if it will but hopefully musicians will be added to the docket and be included in the programing as much as performers from other entertainment industries.

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