Bill de Blasio’sOpen Culture’ Program

This is one bizarre video:

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the Open Culture Program. This is his way of bringing back performance art to masked mandated, perpetually fearful New Yorkers who are still stewing in a pointless lockdown. De Blasio wants to bring back arts, in the freezing cold-on the dirty streets of his increasingly crime-riddled city.

Street performing? Haven’t people done this without permits for about 100 years already?

Mayor De Blasio wants to ‘open culture,’ but keep arts institutions, theaters, jazz clubs, comedy clubs, and concert venues closed. This is pure delusion. But what I find more puzzling is how people accept nonsense like this.

To be part of the state-approved “open culture,” one must pay to play. Since New York City isn’t allowing anyone to create public performances, the city will be in charge. People must get permits through the city to perform outside from now on.

Arts and cultural institutions and entertainment venues can secure a permit for a single day, socially distanced performance through Open Culture — a new permit type available from the Mayor’s Street Activity Permit Office.

Selected cultural organizations and community groups can apply starting on March 1. Unaffiliated individuals or groups who would like a permit should partner with a local cultural organization or community group. Applicants will pay a $20 fee for single-day permits.

Open Culture will continue through October 31, 2021, with the possibility of extension until March 31, 2022. All approved events will be limited to a maximum of 12 hours. Setup and breakdown must occur within the allotted time frame. Events using amplified sound can begin at 9 a.m. and must end by 10 p.m.

For safety purposes, these organizations must adhere to strict COVID-19 guidelines to hold events. The policies cover a wide range of topics, including location, emergency access, sanitation, sound, insurance, prohibited elements, enforcement, and more. Here are some examples of the guidelines:

  • Any device used to amplify sound requires a Sound Device Permit from the NYPD.
  • Security and closure of the street are the responsibility of the permittee.
  • Permittees must obtain No Parking signs from the local NYPD precinct in advance of the event.
  • A 15-foot emergency lane must be provided at all times with no obstruction by any event elements.
  • 5-foot pedestrian egress must be provided at all times on sidewalks.
  • Organizations must place limitations on crowding.
  • Applicants must submit a COVID-19 Safety Affirmation Plan.
  • Permittees are responsible for the cleanup and sanitation of the event space. Applicants must submit a site plan in advance.

“This is a job creator; this is a motivator,” said Queens Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, chair of the Council’s Cultural Affairs Committee.

I’d love to know how this will happen.

New York City used to be a place where people could create work independently and find their audience. In 2021, Bill de Blasio will choose who gets to be an artist.

Is this what people should be expecting when elected leaders talk about bringing arts and culture back to New York City? If so, it will be an abject disaster.

Clayton Craddock is an independent thinker, father of two beautiful children in New York City. He is the drummer of the hit broadway musical Ain’t Too Proud. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Howard University’s School of Business and is a 25 year veteran of the fast-paced New York City music scene. He has played drums in several hit broadway and off-broadway musicals, including “Tick, tick…BOOM!, Altar Boyz, Memphis The Musical, and Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar and Grill. Also, Clayton has worked on: Footloose, Motown, The Color Purple, Rent, Little Shop of Horrors, Evita, Cats, and Avenue Q. Share Think Things Through

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Clayton Craddock is an independent thinker, father of two beautiful children in New York City. He is the drummer of the hit broadway musical Ain’t Too Proud.