A Legislative Column by Assemblyman Will Barclay
Our state government provides millions of dollars in funding for various agencies and infrastructure.
However, it’s often the smaller investments in local programs and individuals that people notice and appreciate.
Grants of less than $5,000, for example, can make a significant impact on the quality of life for residents and provide a sense of connectedness for communities through special events, music series, and public art workshops.
The New York State Council for the Arts Decentralization Award Program is evidence of how small investments spread throughout the state can create meaningful events for local communities and benefit all.
CNY Arts, an arts organization that works to connect the public to arts and cultural opportunities in the area, receives funding from NYSCA to award arts grants throughout a six-county region.
The NYSCA Decentralization Grant Program was created by the State Legislature in 1977 specifically to ensure that a percentage of NYSCA funding was determined and distributed with local control.
These grants help fund things like local summer concert series, youth theater events, writing workshops, author outreach events, and fine art installations. It seeks programs or individuals that aspire to provide community connections or enhance the culture of a neighborhood.
I was recently able to attend a celebration honoring the recipients of the 2016 NYSCA Decentralization Grant Program.
Artists and arts groups gathered from Cortland, Herkimer, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga and Oswego counties at Syracuse Hancock International Airport for the event hosted by CNY Arts.
In total, almost 100 groups and individuals received $191,940 – a 20% increase over the previous year.
Eighteen groups and individuals from the 120th Assembly district were awarded a total of $31,750.
Grant amounts ranged from $500 to $5,000.
Beneficiaries included Friends of Quirk’s Players’ Inc. (Drama Festival in Fulton); Art Association of Oswego, Inc. (ART for YOUth); Cleveland Historical Society (Children’s Glassworks Theatre); CNY Art Council, Inc. (CNY Scholastic Art Show in Phoenix); CNY Arts Center, Inc. (Arty Art Installations, Fulton); Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County (Nature Inspires, Mexico); Friends of Quirk’s Players, Inc. (“Oklahoma” in Fulton); Fulton Community Theatre, Northshore Community Chorus in Bernhards Bay; Oswego Players Inc, Preservation Revitalization of Pulaski (Local Band feature at farmers’ market); Pulaski Congregational Church (Laveck Concerts); Salmon River Fine Arts Center, Inc. (Drawing Families into Art); Town of Schroeppel (Music in the Park); Village of Lacona (2016 Music at the Market); Village of Phoenix (Canalside Music Series); Jim Farfaglia (Sharing History of Oswego County Pioneer Search and Rescue); and Ron Throop (Moscow and Oswego Stuckism).
There are three types of competitive grants awarded by CNY Arts: Community Arts Grants are awarded to community-based nonprofits, groups, collectives or artists for arts programming or projects; Arts Education Grants support arts education projects in the K-12 public school setting; and Individual Artist Grants support the development of new work by artists that demonstrate substantial community involvement during the process.
My colleagues and I have advocated for this funding to remain in the state budget and fortunately, funding levels in the 2016-17 budget are on par with last year’s budget.
People from all over the district mention how much how much they appreciate these concerts and productions.
The funds enrich our area’s culture and often help make important social connections for people in our communities.
For information about CNY Arts, visit http://weare.cnyarts.org/
For information on NYSCA, visit https://www.nysca.org
If you have any questions or comments or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office by mail at 200 N. Second St., Fulton, NY 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185.