Thursday , August 17 2017
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$5 Million Increase Proposed for Support of the Arts

Arts leaders from around the state cheered the news that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s 2015 budget proposal included a $5 million increase for the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and praised the effort of NYSCA Chairman Aby Rosen, who promoted it.
The increase is particularly significant since it continues an upward trend started in 2012-2013, when Governor Cuomo added $4 million in Regional Economic Development funds to the NYSCA budget. While arts advocates agree that this is a great step in the right direction, they will continue to work to restore NYSCA to its highest amount of local assistance funding, which was $54.3 million more than 27 years ago (in 1988-89 and 1989-1990).  There is also a proposed increase in NYSCA staff, bringing the total number to 30.
Arts leaders are quick to point to how such funding not only benefits arts and culture in this state, but is also a boon to local economies. New York State is home to 53,085 arts-related businesses that employ 335,683 people, according to studies completed in recent years.
The recent advocacy effort led by ArtsNYS was organized on behalf of all NYSCA recipients large and small. ArtsNYS is a network of arts councils and affiliated organizations from all over the state that redistribute NYSCA funds through the Decentralization Program, working closely with the cultural organizations in their community.
“We are extremely grateful that the governor has included this additional funding for NYSCA in the proposed budget,” said Tina Hastings, executive director of the Cattaraugus County Arts Council, which administers the Decentralization Program for Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Allegany counties. “This funding is crucial to the support and growth of the arts throughout the state and I am pleased to see that the governor has recognized the vital role of the arts with this $5 million boost.”
Starting in October, coalition members met with their legislators asking them to urge the governor to request an increase. They explained to legislators that nonprofit cultural organizations are in actuality small businesses that have struggled through the recession with diminished resources and greater demand for their services. Many of these businesses do not have the access to corporate or foundation funds, as do other more institutional players.
This week, the coalition again wrote Chairman Rosen, urging the state’s arts leader to recommend a $5 million lift to New York State Council for the Arts (NYSCA) local assistance program noting that he understands the plight of New York’s arts organizations and the vital services they provide.
“New York State Council on the Arts is pleased that Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget includes a proposal for an increase to the agency’s FY 2015-16 budget,” said Aby Rosen, Chair, New York State Council on the Arts.
Legislators were also buoyed by the governor’s arts increase.
North Syracuse Assemblyman Albert A. Stirpe, Jr. agreed that the increase in arts funds benefits not just cultural organizations, but the communities in which they are located.
“Cultural and arts organizations are vital assets for our communities — once established, these cultural assets will not move to another state or country; these assets remain rooted in place,” said the assemblyman.
The ArtsNYS coalition is comprised of 29 organizations, including the Cattaraugus County Arts Council (www.myartscouncil.net). For a list of ArtsNYS members, go to www.artsNYS.

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