Arts & Culture

Under Mike Bloomberg, New York City became the largest funder of arts and culture in the United States, with more than $3 billion invested in the industry between 2002 and 2013. The arts industry helped form the backbone of the City’s economy and supported more than 320,000 jobs across the five boroughs.

Largest arts funder in the United States
Under Mike Bloomberg, New York City became the largest single arts funder in the United States.

In 2013, the overall creative sector generated $21 billion in economic activity annually and employed more than 320,000 people.
Public art installations
Funded more than 100 public art installations including The Gates, The New York City Waterfalls, and Discovering Columbus.

Progress: Arts & Culture


Funding: The Bloomberg administration allocated $1.8 billion to fund arts organizations citywide and $3 billion in capital investment for construction projects throughout the five boroughs, creating 1 million square feet of new cultural space.


Creative Sector: As of 2013, the overall creative sector generated $21 billion in economic activity annually and employed 320,000 people.

Theater: As of 2013, Broadway shows contributed $11 billion to the economy and Off Broadway shows contributed $96 million to the economy.

Film Industry: The number of people employed by the film industry grew from 100,000 in 2004 to 130,000 in 2013, and generated an economic impact of $7.1 billion.

Fashion Industry: Fashion NYC2020 is a set of initiatives to attract talent and support the City’s position as world’s fashion capital. In 2012, fashion companies generated $55 billion in sales and $10 billion in wages. Under Mike Bloomberg, New York City had more fashion houses headquarters than Paris.

Tourism: Of the City’s 52 million tourists in 2012, 24.5 million came for culture.


Public Art Installations: Under Mayor Bloomberg, NYC hosted nearly 500 temporary art projects including the Christo and Jeanne Claude’s The Gates (2005), Olafur Eliasson’s “The New York City Waterfalls,” and Paul Ramirez Jonas’ Key to the City (2010).

Economic Activity:The Gates,” generated $254 million in economic activity. Similarly, “The New York City Waterfalls” brought 1.4 million visitors to the waterfront and generated $69 million in economic activity. 


New Competitive Grant Process: The Bloomberg administration changed the way funding was distributed by creating a competitive peer-panel process emphasizing excellence, access and equity. As a result, there was a 20% increase in applicant pool for DCA grants.

Cultural Capital Grant: A new procurement strategy was adopted to expedite the time required to approve capital grants managed by arts organizations, an average of 8 months.


DDC Design + Construction Excellence: This initiative was launched to make it possible for the City to attract world-class architects and designers to work on civic projects. Examples:

  • Signature Theater: 3 theater centers designed by Frank Gehry 

  • Brooklyn Children’s Museum: Renovation designed by Rafael Viñoly

  • Museum of Chinese in Americas: Expanded new home designed by Maya Lin

  • Alliance of Resident Theaters/NY: Service organization for NYC’s 300+ non-profit theaters will have permanent shared theater complex designed by Toshiko Mori

  • Queens Museum of Art: Expansion designed by Nicholas Grimshaw

  • Brooklyn Museum: Façade renovated by Polshek Partnerships that created iconic neighborhood destination

  • Lincoln Center: Campus-wide redevelopment designed by Diller Scofidio+Renfro to modernize iconic facilities and improve access for more than 5 million annual visitors

  • Whitney Museum: New facility by Renzo Piano will anchor the High Line

Sustainability: Sustainability became a key component in public design. The Queens Botanical Garden was New York City’s first LEED-platinum building. 


Revitalizing Neighborhoods: Arts and cultural organizations helped revitalize neighborhoods such as Red Hook, Downtown Brooklyn, the Lower East Side and Far Rockaway, Long Island City and Manhattan’s Far West Side.

Free Materials: The Bloomberg administration provided 17.4 million pounds of reusable goods worth $65 million in past 10 years provided to 4,500 member organizations including cultural nonprofits, public schools and civic groups with arts programs.