Late last year, it was reported that musicians, dancers, comedians, and other performing arts organizations within New York City would finally be able to use public outdoor spaces for ticketed events and performances beginning this spring and into the summer months following a unanimous decision voted on by the City Council.

On Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city’s Cultural Affairs Commissioner Gonzalo Casals officially introduced the “Open Culture” program, which will open up to 115 designated streets in all five NYC boroughs to be used for promoted performing arts events.

Required single-day permits to use any of the assigned streets will be awarded free of charge (with a $20 application fee), and the city has put together a team specifically to aid organizations in the application process while also connecting any event organizer/promoter with the necessary resources. Permit applications will be considered on a first-come, first-serve basis when they open on March 1st at 12 p.m., and the outdoor performing arts program will remain active until October 31st, 2021.

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The street locations of any performance or event will be determined by the New York City Department of Transportation, with one event per block/location. All approved events will be limited to 12 hours max, which includes the time needed to set up and breakdown of the production elements. Events using amplified sound will be required to start no earlier than 9 a.m. and end no later than 10 p.m. Interested applicants will also be required to submit a COVID-19 Safety Affirmation Plan.

“It will bring stages to our neighborhoods, and culture to the heart of our neighbors, and [will] give artists, cultural institutions, and creatives a place to showcase their talents as they recover from the pandemic,” Casals said during the chilly outdoor press conference, which was followed by a brief dance performance hosted by a local organization.

“This plan and Open Culture is going to streamline the application process, allow arts groups, both for-profit and non-profit, to get easily obtainable permits to perform live on the streets of all five boroughs of New York City, democratizing the arts in a way that we’ve never experienced before in our city,” NYC Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer also added during Monday’s press conference. “And they’re going to be able to ticket [through] online ticketing and charge for performances, which will allow a source of revenue to be had by cultural organizations and allow our artists to be paid.”

Watch the Mayor’s “Open Culture” announcement from Monday below. Click here to learn more about the city’s Open Culture permit application qualifications and guidelines. Click here to see all of the approved Open Culture street locations by borough.

New York City Mayor’s Office “Open Culture” Announcement – 2/8/21