Guest Opinion: Why Arts & Culture Should Be a Chief Concern for New Yorkers

BY JOE MAFFIA (candidate, NYS Assembly District 75) | Almost everyone loves art of some form. Whether it is in the form of music, paintings, sculptures, dance, theater, or cinema, art inspires people of all ages. It stimulates imagination, boosts self-esteem and dopamine (the feel-good chemical in your brain), and even inspires and empowers us in our darkest moments. But in New York City, art is also providing jobs for thousands, and is an essential portion of our local economy.

My Name is Joe Maffia, and I was able to create the Arts & Culture Party line because over 1,500 in Manhattan signed a petition showing their agreement with me that Arts & Culture matter to this city!

Arts, Culture, and tourism are essential to the 75th Assembly District, which is home to many Arts and Cultural treasures, including Chelsea art galleries, Broadway, Carnegie Hall, parts of Lincoln Center, Madison Square Garden, and Radio City Music Hall, and dozens of smaller theaters, galleries, and arts nonprofits.

Broadway plays such a critical role in the financial well-being of the region. Tourists who come here specifically for the Broadway experience pump money into the city by staying at hotels, taking taxis, eating in our restaurants, restaurants, and shopping. But our arts and culture draw is far more extensive than just Broadway, and I have a plan to promote and stimulate arts as a whole in New York.

I bring to that plan an interesting mix of skills and experience that make me the perfect candidate to create something for NYC that will both stimulate the economy and support the arts at the same time! For over 30 years I’ve built a reputation as successful and influential accountant.  However, I also have intimate ties to the arts. Growing up, I was a graffiti artist (“King of the 1 Train” aka the Broadway Line) back in the 1970s. My sister is an actress, and my daughter is also an artist—so I bring passion, experience, and a valuable skill set to the table to in the creation of this Arts and Culture plan for New York!

My plan will create Arts & Culture Districts (A&C Districts) around the
State. These districts will:

–Provide significant economic impact to cities, attracting business and

–Revitalize neighborhoods

–Increase quality of life for residents

–Support local arts and cultural nonprofits

The A&C district will offer investment tax credits and accelerated depreciation for investment and development. And it will provide further tax incentives for both tenants and landlords with unused commercial space when they provide pro bono space for:

–Musician and Performing arts rehearsal space

–Artist Galleries

–Artist Studios

–Arts and Cultural nonprofits

Former graffiti artit and current AD 75 candidate Joe Maffia (right) wants to create Arts & Culture Districts to champion our artists and generate tax dollars. | Photo by MJ Maffia

The Times Square area has excess space and could easily take advantage of this program to support Arts & Culture, especially as artists cannot otherwise afford the district.

In addition, I plan to provide State funding to local nonprofits to
support the arts:

–Development of exhibit art installations

–Funding for business improvement districts to support their
quality of life initiatives

–Increased funding for substance abuse treatment and preventive

–Funding for garbage removal and street cleaning

–Funding to address homelessness

Along with supporting the Arts & Culture professions of this city, I will work to bring arts back to our classrooms. The Arts can become a lifeline for children and teens, and I believe this is essential for them.

Please show your support for the Arts by voting for me on the Arts & Culture Party!

To visit the author’s campaign website, click here.



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