Thanks to the Open Culture bill, sponsored by Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Queens), the arts are back in business! On Thursday, December 10, Van Bramer’s Open Culture bill successfully passed, allowing performing artists to take to the streets hosting ticketed performances. This bill will not only support performing artists around New York, but it will also directly impact the well being and success of Eryc Taylor Dance. With the premiere of Uncharted Territory: Dancers in Isolation Project only a few months away, the Open Culture bill will aid in ETD’s ability to secure safe, outdoor space for the live performances set to debut in March 2021!
Eryc Taylor Dance was eager to support this crucial and industry-changing bill. With the help and support of Dance/NYC and the nonprofit organization, New Yorkers for Culture & Arts, led by Lucy Sexton, ETD had the opportunity to testify at a City Council meeting in support of the Open Culture bill. You can read Eryc Taylor Dance’s testimony below and join us in celebrating the passing of this bill!
Hello, members of the committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations. My name is Mallory Markham. I am testifying today on behalf of New York City-based Contemporary Dance Company, Eryc Taylor Dance. I am here supporting INTRO No. 2068, allowing temporary outdoor space for art and cultural institutions affected by Covid-19.
Established in 2006, Eryc Taylor Dance is a nonprofit dance company whose mission is to create community by connecting through movement. ETD presents original performances, conducts master classes, makes grants for aspiring choreographers, and curates community city programs in supportive housing sites across all five boroughs.
Like most organizations, ETD was forced to radically shift course when the pandemic hit. Our company’s income was cut in half overnight due to canceled workshops, performances, rehearsals, and guest artist engagements.
Our latest choreographic venture, Uncharted Territory, was conceived in collaboration with our dancers and developed over Zoom. Going virtual was crucial to keep the company operational, but virtual means are limiting and unsustainable, especially for the performing arts.
Blocked-off street sections enabled restaurants to conduct business and add vibrancy for residents and visitors. The performing arts industry has taken an equal if not more significant hit due to closures and regulations and was given no such opportunity until now. A bill allowing temporary outdoor spaces for art and cultural institutions affected by COVID-19 is invaluable to organizations like ETD and countless others, including spectators.
According to data released by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2018, the performing arts sector accounts for $760 billion of the national gross domestic product. $114.4 billion of that is from New York State alone, making the performing arts an important figure in New York’s economy.
The performing arts industry has been significantly impacted economically and culturally due to extended closures and regulations, with little opportunity to resume our business. This bill would usher in a necessary option for our sector to rebuild. Art stimulates our economy and allows us to feel human; that is why it is essential for this legislation to pass.
Thank you for your time and for allowing Eryc Taylor Dance to bring our story forward.