News and Press Releases

For Immediate Release: August 16, 2019

Contact: / (212) 513-9323


$500,000 competitive grant program will support arts and culture programming reaching audiences whose primary language is not English

NEW YORK – The NYC Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) has announced the CreateNYC Language Access Fund to support cultural organizations’ efforts to increase access to cultural programming for audiences whose primary language is not English. Building on recommendations in the CreateNYC cultural plan, the new fund will support the creation and presentation of work for non-English-speaking audiences, bilingual cultural programming intended primarily for non-English speakers, and multilingual community engagement in the arts. The initiative aims to remove barriers to participation in arts and culture for the millions of New Yorkers who are non-English speakers, multilingual learners (MLLs), English language learners (ELLs), and sign language users.

“Half of all New Yorkers speak a language other than English at home,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. “Imagine the richness lost if those millions of people don’t – or can’t – contribute to the cultural life of our city as artists and audiences. DCLA is committed to ensuring that language is not a barrier to participation in NYC’s diverse cultural offerings, and to supporting the nonprofits that share this commitment.”

The goals of the CreateNYC Language Access Fund are to:

  • Support projects that deepen cultural organizations’ engagement with audiences whose primary language is not English, as well as multilingual learners (MLLs), English language learners (ELLs), and/or sign language users;
  • Support work created and presented in other languages, as well as bilingual or multilingual cultural programming;
  • Expand K-12 arts education opportunities and cultural programming for MLL/ELL students;
  • Motivate the cultural sector to think creatively and resourcefully about being accessible to and inclusive of individuals that are non-English speakers, ELLs, or sign language users;
  • Support the translation of cultural organizations’ programming and communications into multiple languages, including sign language.

With the release of CreateNYC in 2017, DCLA and Mayor de Blasio laid out a set of actions that would be addressed immediately. These included a commitment to support increased language access for communications and cultural programming to reach broader, more diverse audiences. Since 2017, DCLA has provided over $450,000 in added funding to non-profit organizations offering programming in languages other than English. The CreateNYC Language Access Fund increases this funding, and seeks to foster the creation of connections among New Yorkers through the arts and culture, regardless of the language they use.

The first cycle of the CreateNYC Language Access Fund will distribute a total of $500,000 through grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000. Awarded projects will be completed by June 30, 2020. Fiscal Year 2020 awardees may be eligible for a renewed grant in Fiscal Year 2021.

Application for the CreateNYC Language Access Fund is open to non-profit organizations that have submitted eligible Fiscal Year 2020 Cultural Development Fund applications or renewal requests. The submission deadline for this new grant opportunity is Monday, September 9, 2019. To learn more and read the guidelines, visit DCLA’s website.

“In the ultimate city of immigrants, we recognize our diversity as our strength and have forged ahead in making New York City inclusive and welcoming for all, regardless of English proficiency. With over 200 languages spoken across the city, the CreateNYC Language Access Fund beautifully centers the importance of language access in arts and cultural programming,” said Bitta Mostofi, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “At a time when many of our immigrant communities may feel under attack or unwelcome by our Federal government, art and culture have an even greater ability to transcend differences, challenge assumptions, and unite us.”

"It is critical that we break down language barriers and expand access to arts and cultural programming in different languages. Access to the arts and culture is a right," said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, Chair of the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries, and International Intergroup Relations. "I'm proud to support the CreateNYC Language Access Fund and all of its efforts to engage multilingual communities and to support artists and audiences whose primary language is not English. The City must do all it can to foster diversity and inclusion in our cultural sector."

 “CreateNYC prioritizes striving for equity in support for arts and culture, nurturing artists from underrepresented groups, and investing in NYC’s thriving and diverse neighborhoods,” said Ben Rodriguez-Cubeñas, Chair, CreateNYC Citizens’ Advisory Committee. “The CreateNYC Language Access Fund resonates strongly with all of those priorities. By removing barriers to communication within and among our city’s arts communities, we can open new pathways to access and expression for all New Yorkers.”

About NYC Department of Cultural Affairs

The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) is dedicated to supporting and strengthening New York City’s vibrant cultural life. DCLA works to promote and advocate for quality arts programming and to articulate the contribution made by the cultural community to the City’s vitality. The Department represents and serves non-profit cultural organizations involved in the visual, literary, and performing arts; public-oriented science and humanities institutions including zoos, botanical gardens, and historic and preservation societies; and creative artists at all skill levels who live and work within the City’s five boroughs. DCLA also provides donated materials for arts programs offered by the public schools and cultural and social service groups, and commissions permanent works of public art at City-funded construction projects throughout the five boroughs. For more information, visit