The Power Players In Arts And Culture In New York City

Yoni Bokser is a lifelong New Yorker who has worked in government, politics, policy and economic development at the city, state, and international levels. At Empire State Development, his role is to make New York State the best place to create movies, television, and theater. To do this, he works with industry and government partners to craft programs, write policies, and facilitate productions all across the state.

Is there anything you are working on that you wish more people knew about?
Our office works with film and TV productions to ensure the industry creates good jobs throughout NYS, has a diverse workforce, and integrates cutting edge technologies. Our theater recovery program incentivizes shows to create job training programs and make their productions accessible to low-income New Yorkers. Our diverse supplier directory connects productions with local diverse businesses. We’re keeping NYS the center of the entertainment world, while delivering benefits to our economy and our local communities.

What advice do you have for the next generation of people determined to break into the world of arts and culture?
Work hard and network! There are great programs offered by public colleges, TV networks, film studios, unions, guilds and independent producers to jumpstart career pathways. We work to keep the industry thriving across NYS, and ensure there are incentives to come to NYS and hire diverse local talent for everything from acting to editing to set design and electrical work. We’re proud to keep NYS a great place to work and create art!

What can New York policymakers do to support the continued development of arts and culture in the city?
Visit, support and promote the local arts and cultural organizations throughout the state. Invest in workforce development and in future technologies so we can stay competitive in the ever-changing world of arts, culture and media. Talk to your local small businesses and learn how various arts and cultural entities have economic impacts throughout your communities.

If you could attend any event, show, or exhibit in the city tonight, what would it be and why?
New York is the show! Whether in Rochester, Albany, Ithaca or NYC, I love going to a local restaurant, sitting at the bar, reading a book and enjoying good food and watching the city go by. I’m also a big fan of walking up to theaters and rushing tickets for whatever is on or going through the Theatre Development Fund membership program which provides access to discount tickets for arts and culture.

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