Dec. 16, 2020 By Allie Griffin
The City Council passed a bill last week that will allow performers to host ticketed events on city streets.
The bill — sponsored by Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer — will establish an “Open Culture” program, modeled after the city’s “Open Restaurants” outdoor dining program.
The program aims to help artists who have struggled to find work since March — when theaters, playhouses and other performance venues were closed due to COVID-19.
Under the “Open Culture” program, eligible artists will be able to perform ticketed concerts, plays, comedy and other events on city streets and at various public spaces, beginning on March 1, 2021.
The Department of Transportation is required to come up with a list of open streets and spaces where eligible artists will be permitted to perform by Feb 1.
The program will be open to artists and groups that have received funding from the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs, or funding from one of the five borough-based arts councils in the past two years. Artists who are not part of these groups can partner with an organization that meets the eligibility requirement.
The legislation passed the Council unanimously last Thursday and is expected to be signed into law by Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“After an unanimous vote in the Council the new Open Culture program will bring song, dance, comedy, & performances to our streets – starting March 1st,” Van Bramer tweeted. “A big win for our artists and cultural venues, bringing joy & jobs to thousands!”
Artists who perform on streets will be able to charge patrons for tickets to watch their acts.
The program will require artists to apply for a permit in order to perform outdoors. The process is expected to be straight forward, as applicants will be able to self-certify online for just $20.
The “Open Culture” program will run through Oct. 31, 2021 — with the possibility of an extension through March 31, 2022.