Governor Andrew M. Cuomo revealed that the state would begin taking a series of steps to help bring back cultural events and put unemployed artists back to work in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. “We need to act now,” he said on January 12. Among the planned initiatives includes a series of statewide pop-up performances, featuring artists such as Tony winner Hugh Jackman, Tony nominee Renée Fleming and Broadway alum Amy Schumer. These will begin on February 4 and are being spearheaded by producers Scott Rudin and Jane Rosenthal as well as the New York State Council on the Arts. Over 150 artists are set to participate in the New York Arts Revival.
These new initiatives also include building a program to examine how socially distant performances may be held safely in venues where seating is adjustable as well as a partnership with the Mellon Foundation to distribute grants to put over 1,000 artists back to work and provide funding for community arts groups, according to The New York Times. The plan will culminate with the opening of Little Island, the pier being built downtown, as well as the Tribeca Film Festival, which is set to celebrate its 20th anniversary in June.
Governor Cuomo also expressed the hope to expand rapid COVID-19 testing in an effort to allow people to be tested ahead of entering restaurants or theaters. “New York City is not New York without Broadway,” he said. Broadway still remains shut down through May 30 due to the ongoing pandemic.