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SNF and Lincoln Center extend collaboration to broaden access to vibrant public space

Aug 30, 2022
As civic institutions focus on continuing to emerge from years of disruption and restriction caused by the pandemic, New York’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is going a step further, asking how it can seize this moment to make its space and its programming accessible and inviting to a wider range of audiences than ever.

A major new grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), building on a longstanding partnership between the two organizations, will help enable Lincoln Center’s expanding efforts to reach out to and engage New Yorkers from every corner of the city and visitors from around the world.

The new grant carries the momentum of last summer’s Restart Stages, through which tens of thousands of people from all walks of life enjoyed free performances and activities at Lincoln Center as part of the SNF-LC Agora Initiative, which also formed an ongoing link with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) in Athens to promote global cross-cultural exchange. And it arrives on the heels of an even bigger and bolder lineup of free programming for all ages and interests at Lincoln Center, Summer for the City, where SNF provided lead support for community programming.

Embracing community, broadly defined, is fundamental to Lincoln Center’s outreach—from neighbors in its own backyard, to groups united by shared identity or interest, to a whole city bound together by the common experience of pulling through the pandemic and moving on to better days.

“We all recognize that public art and public space are at an inflection point,” said SNF Co-President Andreas Dracopoulos. “The question is whether we will attempt to get back to the ‘normal’ that existed before the pandemic or will use this moment to move forward, truly democratizing civic spaces, opening up access as broadly as possible, and embracing a definition of ‘public’ that encompasses every New Yorker and beyond. SNF is proud to support Lincoln Center in its efforts, at once bold and thoughtful, to continue to reimagine how one of the city’s premier public spaces can best serve people.”

“The last two years have made clear how essential the arts are to our communities’ well-being,” said Henry Timms, President and CEO of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. “Our partnership with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and their generous support helps empower Lincoln Center to extend welcome to all of New York City, inviting people from all walks of life to connect through inclusive cultural experiences.”

Lincoln Center’s approach to reaching new audiences is two-pronged, including imaginative new events curated by leading lights in the cultural sector and creative reworkings of its physical space that function in tandem with one another. Even as the Manhattan cultural institution responds to evolving conditions and incubates programming that plugs into contemporary cultural currents, Lincoln Center is taking a long view in envisioning its role in its neighborhood and the city, looking back to its earliest history and ahead years into the future.

SNF is proud to be a part of this effort to fully activate the enormous potential Lincoln Center has as a nexus of cultural programming, civic engagement, resources that serve the public at large, and inclusive community. Vibrant public space and robust civic infrastructure are key focuses of SNF’s global grantmaking work, which includes support for the new Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL), the New York Public Library’s recently remade central circulating branch, as well as for the SNFCC, an international cultural destination SNF gave to the people of Greece five years ago and continues to help flourish.