New York City Department of Cultural Affairs

The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) is the department of the government of New York City[2] dedicated to supporting New York City's cultural life. Among its primary missions is ensuring adequate public funding for non-profit cultural organizations throughout the five boroughs.[3] 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 who live and work within the City's five boroughs.

New York City Department of Cultural Affairs
Department overview
Formed1976 (1976)
Preceding department
  • Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Administration - Department of Cultural Affairs
JurisdictionNew York City
Headquarters31 Chambers Street
New York, NY 10007[1]
Department executive
Key document

The Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA), which prefigured the contemporary DCLA, was created in 1962 by Mayor Robert F. Wagner Jr. In 1976, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs was established as a separate city agency, headed by the Commissioner of Cultural Affairs, who is appointed by the Mayor.[4]

Its programs include Materials for the Arts, a large facility in Long Island City that distributes free reused supplies to arts organizations. Its regulations are compiled in Title 58 of the New York City Rules.


Cultural Affairs Commissioner Years in Office Appointed by
1 H. Claude Shostal[5] 1976-77 Abraham Beame
2 Henry Geldzahler 1978-82 Ed Koch
3 Randall Bourscheidt (Acting) [6] 1982-83 Ed Koch
4 Bess Myerson 1983-87 Ed Koch
5 Mary Schmidt Campbell 1987-91 Ed Koch
6 Luis R. Cancel[7] 1991-94 David Dinkins
7 Schuyler G. Chapin 1994-2001 Rudolph Giuliani
8 Kate Levin[8] 2002-13 Michael Bloomberg
9 Tom Finkelpearl 2014-19 Bill de Blasio
10 Gonzalo Casals[9] 2020- Bill de Blasio


  1. ^ "Contact Cultural Affairs - NYC Department of Cultural Affairs".
  2. ^ New York City Charter § 2501; "There shall be a department of cultural affairs, the head of which shall be the commissioner of cultural affairs."
  3. ^ "About Cultural Affairs - DCLA". Retrieved 3 September 2019.
  4. ^ " - City Information, Services and Programs". Archived from the original on 20 August 2016. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
  5. ^ Breasted, Mary (5 May 1976). "Beame's Culture Chief".
  6. ^ "Contributor: Randall Bourscheidt".
  7. ^ Honin, William (7 Dec 1991). "Former Museum Head Named to Culture Post".
  8. ^ "Kate Levin".
  9. ^ Ludel, Wallace (11 March 2020). "Gonzalo Casals, director of the Leslie-Lohman Museum, is named commissioner of New York City Department of Cultural Affairs". Retrieved 20 April 2020.

External linksEdit