Artists Are Necessary Workers

Dance/NYC is declaring loudly that #ArtistsAreNecessaryWorkers.

This campaign demands the acknowledgement, representation and integration of dance and arts workers into the decision-making that will envision our future post-pandemic. Artists serve New York City at every level: leading tourism, strengthening education, fueling the economy, and ensuring our health, wellness and imaginations. With this in mind, Dance/NYC has initiated a series of actions to highlight the importance of arts workers; build and amplify solidarity as a dance community and across the arts sector; and reimagine a world that is just, equitable, inclusive, and abundant.


Why Are We Advocating for Arts Workers Now?

We Are Needed To Reimagine Our World Post-pandemic.

As we look to the future post-COVID-19, New York City artists must be at the forefront of relief efforts and in working towards recovery. Witnessing the devastating impact this moment is having on our dance and artistic community, generations of compounded inequities have become more evident since this crisis began. The dance community continuously remains adaptable, vibrant and resilient. Nonetheless, arts workers must be financially sustained as we look to the future of our city and recognize that artists as our cultural bearers will be crucial in ensuring that NYC thrives again. These visionaries will craft our way forward and must be included in conversations about how we safely return to our workplaces and sustain growth in the near future.

We Contribute To The City’s Economy.

The dance community in New York City attracts and exports talent around the world, drives local tourism, and is central to some of the City’s most popular and lucrative cultural attractions — including Broadway. Dance/NYC's State of NYC Dance and Workforce Demographics Report has revealed that the dance sector contributes over $300 million to the City's economy, even as dance remains the discipline receiving the lowest amount of funding in arts and culture. Post-9/11, the cultural sector was crucial in stimulating the economy, particularly around driving tourism. We are the connective tissue across industries, from journalism, to wall street, from education to health and mental services. Our expertise positions us as significant contributors to the preeminence of our cultural capital. 

We Bring Vitality To Our City’s Children, Families, and Generations. 

Artists play crucial roles in providing social services to our most vulnerable, embodying entrepreneurialism and leading innovative thinking. As you may know, Mayor de Blasio announced significant cuts to the city’s budget, particularly impacting arts and culture, and the department of education — both vital services that ensure the well-being of children, families, and older New Yorkers. This triage has worsening ripple effects for arts workers themselves and the communities they serve. During this time of pandemic, artists, organizations, and arts educators have provided necessary virtual programming that has allowed us to process our collective grief, stay motivated and engaged, and imagine our City post-pandemic. This work is necessary and must be recognized as such.

We Model the Diversity of New York City.

Our work and organizations in dance celebrate, employ, and serve a diverse group of New Yorkers: We are people of color, disabled people, transgender and gender-nonconforming people, women-identifying and immigrant people, and people living in poverty. We are the birthplace of hip hop, salsa, and modern dance. We are places of preservation of folkloric and culturally specific dance forms. We are performance venues, presenters, educational institutions and festivals. We are New Yorkers dancing barefoot, on point, taps, sneakers, and Broadway. We are community organizers and administrators, educators and therapists, large organizations, and small community collectives. Together we represent over 5,000 individual dance artists, 1,200+ dance-making entities, and 500+ non profit dance companies.

What is Dance/NYC Doing?

In response to these actions, and in an effort to ensure that arts workers and the dance making community is not further anonymized Dance/NYC has: 

  • launched a visibility campaign to display our strength and power in numbers, 
  • written a letter to Mayor de Blasio to insist on dance having a seat at the table,
  • curated a series of public conversations with arts workers to discuss challenges, offer considerations and envision a way forward.


What You Can Do: 

EXPERIENCE our campaign video:

Video by Nel Shelby Productions
Video Editor - Amber Schmiesing
Assistant Video Editor - Mason Chapello

TAKE ACTION and advocate for artists:


TUNE IN to our conversation series on Facebook live. 



#DanceIsDignifiedLabor #DanceWorkforceResilience #dancenyc #nycdance

Dance/NYC convening is made possible, in part, by leadership support from the Howard Gilman Foundation and the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts.



Dance/NYC seeks partners and speakers with a variety of viewpoints for its events with the goal of generating discussion. The inclusion of any partner or speaker does not constitute an endorsement by Dance/NYC of that partner's or speaker's views.




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