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Photograph: Peter Mauss

NYC's new budget cuts funding to cultural institutions by 11 percent

It affects the city's zoos, the Bronx Children's Museum and many more organizations.

By
Shaye Weaver
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With a $9 billion revenue shortfall caused by the pandemic, New York City passed a tight $88.19 billion budget on Wednesday that reduces arts spending significantly.

The budget allocates $189 million, down from last year's $212 million, to the Department of Cultural Affairs, which doles out grants to the city's numerous cultural institutions, including: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Botanical Garden, the American Museum of Natural History, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Brooklyn Museum, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Queens Botanical Garden, the New York Hall of Science, the Staten Island Institute of Arts & Sciences, the Staten Island Zoological Society, the Staten Island Historical Society, the Museum of the City of New York, Wave Hill, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Studio Museum in Harlem, the New York Shakespeare Festival and others.

Ever since the pandemic hit NYC, museums and other cultural institutions have had to close and put off their seasons all in a bid to flatten the curve. And with no regular revenue coming in for the past three months, these cuts are even harder to take.

The Bronx Children's Museum especially is "being cut by all sides," its executive director Carla Precht told The New York Times.

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer chairs the cultural affairs committee and negotiated against even more cuts before ultimately voting against the entire budget because of a $15 million cut to arts education services in the Department of Education, the Times says.

Now that the budget is passed, 33 cultural institutions and museums that are on city-owned land or in city-owned buildings, must make due with smaller budgets

"We are all trying to figure out how we do what we have done with less," John Calvelli, the chair of the Department of Cultural Affairs, told the Times.

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