New York City's Comptroller Scott M. Stringer is a familiar face to many in the indie theater sector. He has been showing up to League of Independent Theater events since 2009 and has helped guide our mission to speak directly to our elected officials about the needs of small theaters and the artists working in them. While Mr. Stringer is not facing a challenger in the Democratic primary on Sept. 12, 2017, he appears to be running against a Republican, a Libertarian, and a Green Party candidate in the general on Nov. 7, 2017. He is a passionate arts advocate and we are proud to support his reelection bid.
Why is independent theater important to New York City?
Supporting New York’s thriving independent theatre scene is essential to preserving our City’s status as the cultural capital of the world. I have been a passionate advocate for the arts throughout my career as a public servant, including assisting in the formation of the League of Independent Theater in 2009.
Unfortunately the incalculable benefits theatre and arts programing provides to the fabric of our city is under threat. The Trump Administration’s proposal to defund the National Endowment for the Arts would result in the loss of millions of dollars of funding for NYC cultural organizations, threatening jobs, tourism, and arts education programs.
To help galvanize opposition to these devastating cuts, my office recently issued a report -- Culture Shock: The Importance of National Arts Funding to New York City’s Cultural Landscape – showing how the NEA has delivered over $32 million in grant funding to theatre groups within the City over the past sixteen years. These grant dollars have helped produce enduring works of art and have enriched the lives of so many New Yorkers. If reelected, I will continue to fight for the NEA and for independent theatre so that our city can remain a vibrant, and thriving center for the arts.
What is different about campaigning in 2017?
Despite serving in office during periods of great turmoil and change, the stakes have never been higher. The administration in Washington poses an existential threat to constituencies and services throughout our city. Insulating New York City from new and disastrous policies affecting immigration, climate change, and financial security is essential to preserving the character of the City we love.
What makes you an arts-friendly candidate?
In my first months as City Comptroller, I released a report showing how schools across our city were in violation of New York State laws mandating arts education, resulting in deeply unequal access to arts education for children living in some of the City’s lowest-income communities. My report, “State of the Arts: A Plan to Boost Arts Education in New York City, revealed that as many as 28 percent of schools lacked a full time, certified arts teacher and that ten percent of schools reported having no dedicated space for arts instruction. In the world’s cultural capital, one out of four middle and high schools lacked partnerships with the City’s many renown arts and cultural organizations.
As a direct result of the report and the advocacy of arts organizations from across New York, the administration allotted $23 million dollars to arts education in schools and hired 120 permanent arts teachers. Knowing how exposure to the arts – including independent theatre -- can transform the lives of children, I am enormously proud to have helped bring quality arts programing to schools across the city.
What is your favorite place to unwind in your district or in the city? What is your favorite treat after a long day of campaigning?
After a long day of events, it is great to go with my wife, Elyse and our two boys, Max and Miles to a favorite playground and restaurant in a NYC neighborhood.
How can League members get involved in your campaign and who should they contact?
If reelected I pledge to continue to advocate for the arts in new York City. Our cultural heritage and pioneering arts scene is what makes this city a vibrant center of the creative economy. I would be honored to have the support of members of the League of Independent Theater. You can help me advance our goal of working towards a thriving, affordable New York City by contacting our Field Director, Nicole Alesio, at firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved!