Coronavirus Update New York City: 1st street performances as part of 'Open Culture' program

Coronavirus update for NYC
NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City is marking one year since the arts shutdown Friday with the first performances as part of its new Open Culture program, which permits outdoor cultural experiences on designated city streets.

The program opened for applications on March 1, with the goal of providing stages for artists and cultural groups in all five boroughs -- putting artists back to work and providing New Yorkers the opportunity to enjoy the arts safely in their neighborhoods.

The outdoor, socially distant commemorations of the pandemic shutdown anniversary in each borough were organized by industry leaders and kicked off in Queens with performances by Joan Ashley and Caren Calder from the all-women percussion and vocal ensemble "Alekande," with guest dancer Dionne Monsanto.

The LaGuardia Performing Art Center at LaGuardia Community College was selected as the site to welcome back the performing arts in the borough.

The citywide events are being coordinated by Culture@3pm, a group of 700 arts leaders from the city's arts and cultural institutions united by the duel themes of #CultureRemembers and #CultureForward.

The Long Island City performance was followed by events at:
--11 a.m. to noon: ID Studio Theater, East 140th Street between Third and Alexander avenues in the Bronx
--11 a.m. to 1 p.m.: El Museo del Barrio, 104th Street between Fifth and Madison avenues in East Harlem
--1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.: Leimay, North 6th Street between Berry Street and Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

"Arts, culture, and live events are the heart of New York City. Today, we're bringing them back," Mayor Bill de Blasio said when the Open Culture program launched. "From Open Streets to Open Restaurants to Open Culture, New York City has found creative and sustainable ways to connect New Yorkers to their neighborhoods while staying safe from COVID-19. I'm honored to support the cultural institutions who make our city great, and I can't wait to see our creative community in action."

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo revealed an ambitious plan in January to resume public performances in the state, with the goal of reviving a vital industry that has been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic.


Modeled on the city's Open Streets program, Open Culture is a new type of permit available from the Mayor's Street Activity Permit Office allowing for ticketed performances, rehearsals, classes, and workshops.

Arts and cultural institutions, as well as entertainment venues, can secure a permit for single day, socially distanced performances at over 100 street locations throughout all five boroughs.

Applications are now open to eligible organizations and extend through October 31, 2021.

Eligible organizations include:
--Arts and Culture Institutions: Members of the Cultural Institutions Group (CIG); recipients of Cultural Development Fund (CDF) support; recipients of borough arts council funding in 2019 or 2020; or other groups are eligible for CDF grant funding but haven't received before.
--Cultural Venues (Performance Venues): Entertainment facilities designed to be used for a performance in front of a live audience; this could include concert venues, theaters, and other establishments.

For complete guidelines, visit SAPO's website.

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