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Cultural institutions face more budget cuts from New York City

The 34 members of the city's Cultural Institutions Group, or CIG's, say there could be some big changes coming, as the city continues the cut their funding.

Greg Thompson

Feb 5, 2024, 1:48 PM

Updated 136 days ago

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The 34 members of the city's Cultural Institutions Group, or CIG's, say there could be some big changes coming, as the city continues the cut their funding.
While Mayor Eric Adams was able to roll back some of his most publicly unpopular budget cuts last month, like an NYPD hiring freeze and decreases in money for schools, he also announced even less money would go to the CIGs, which Dr. Raymond Codrington, the President and CEO of the Weeksville Heritage Center, calls "unprecedented."
With some of the CIGs now seeing cuts of as much as 15% in the cash they get from the city, Brooklyn Botanic Garden President and CEO Adrian Benepe admits "we're in a very hard place. These cuts represent a historic disinvestment in culture in new York city - we've never had cuts of this magnitude before, and it's really just not fair."
To offset the cuts, Benepe and Codrington tell News 12 everything is on the table - including decreasing operating hours and days, not being able to fill job openings, and even not being able to offer free tickets to children and schools.
"It's having an impact not just on how we run an organization, but on the basic fabric of life," says Benepe.
Things could get even worse. Both say they've been told CIG's could see another round of budget cuts this year in April, and then even more for fiscal year 2025, with the City Council voting on that budget in June.
"We need to really re-think about the importance of culture in our city and how it defines us," Codrington says. "Without access to that, I think new Yorkers are receiving short shrift. I think we can do better as a city and we need to do better as a borough."
Benepe and Codrington say the best thing people can do to fight the cuts is to advocate. That means calling City Hall and council members to let them know this is something voters care about.


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