Two weeks after it first sprouted on Canal Street, the Talking Transition tent is winding down, but optimism for the next administration is at a high. Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
Advocates for the arts are just one constituency feeling hopeful about the Bill de Blasio mayoralty, especially after the seeing the names on his transition team this week.
"There were so many people directly from the cultural world in that team, as well as people that we know are culture supporters, and even if that’s not their primary function. So we definitely feel like culture’s got a place at the table,” said Heather Woodfield of One Percent for Culture.
Woodfield's organization wants to see one percent of the city budget devoted to culture, which would be four times its current share and a goal she said more than two-thirds of the incoming City Council support.
"I'm hopeful that de Blasio will be willing to work with us to sort of end the budget dance of cuts and restorations and until we do that, that’s how we can start talking about increases,” Woodfield said.
Woodfield was one of the moderators of a panel at the Transition Tent Friday, which over the past two weeks has hosted dozens of similar discussions, not to mention the mayor-elect himself.
Randy Bourscheidt has been rumored as a potential commissioner for cultural affairs. Like others, he says he likes what he's heard from de Blasio so far.
"I was very encouraged by the fact that Bill de Blasio, way back in the primary, made a point of calling for arts education programs for every New York City public schoolkid. That's the starting point,” Randy Bourscheidt said.
Organizers behind the Transition Tent said appearances at the tent by both de Blasio and his wife Chirlane may be a sign he’s listening.
"We certainly hope that he is and I think that we have a lot of good ideas to offer him and a lot of the organizations and people that participated have great ideas that should definitely merit his attention,” said Peter Schottenfels, spokesman for Talking Transition.
Saturday is the last day of the Transition Tent, which will wrap things up with a 500-person, interactive town hall-style meeting, where New Yorkers can participate in person or online; the two co-chairs of de Blasio’s transition team will be attending.