Tuesday, February 8, 2011

New Arts Advocacy Group Announced: ARTS NYS Coalition

Times Square Chronicles featured the following post on a new arts advocacy group:

New York City is the heartland of arts and entertainment including commercial and non-profit theatre. In fact, it is the cultural center throughout the country. However, the NY State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) is proposing the largest cuts of any State agency. It seems like a small part of the budget, .0003%, but in reality, with current economic times as they are, perhaps it represents a good portion. Without having a complete budget at hand and someone competent to explain it, I’m like most New Yorkers . . . trying to figure it all out. What is known, however, is that funding for the State Council on the Arts has been consistently reduced by nearly 30% over the past 4 years, representing the largest cut to any state agency. If we’re to continue our place as a major cultural arts center, we must have the funds necessary.

As a state, we have many attributes of which to be proud, but the arts are the soul of New York. Everyday, artists and arts groups throughout the state provide New Yorkers and the multitude of national and international visitors with pleasure, education, new ways of seeing the world, and enormous economic benefits.

Nonprofit cultural organizations in New York City are major contributors to the city’s economy. This sector is the second-largest component of the arts industry and is closely tied to the commercial sector. These organizations also share a labor pool of artists and other creative workers with the commercial sector and often develop artistic products that transfer to Broadway or is otherwise utilized commercially. A similarly complex interaction occurs between museums and commercial galleries and auction houses.

The nonprofit arts industry is labor-intensive. Half of the direct spending by all nonprofit cultural organizations goes to wages and benefits, and about 11 percent is for fees and services, including outside artistic fees. The majority of the employees are city residents, and many of the vendors and workers who supply goods and services to these institutions are located either within the city or in nearby suburban counties.

New York City is also a mecca for those who work in commercial theaters also apply their artistic talent and technical expertise in nonprofit theater and in the motion picture and television industry.

Who is ARTS NYS Coalition?They are a group of colleagues who joined together to ensure that the public has access to information on the state of the arts in New York State. Currently, the coalition includes the New York City Arts Coalition and the Arts Councils of Dutchess, Greene, Onondaga (Syracuse) and Westchester Counties, Huntington, Northern Adirondacks, Saint Lawrence and Southern Finger Lakes regions, Arts Alliances of Harlem and Buffalo, New York Folklore Society, NYS Alliance for Arts Education, and Museum Association of New York.

Thus far, the coalition has established this website, http://www.artsnys.org/, which will be a resource for data on the arts in New York State as well as information on pending legislation at the state and federal level. This website, in partnership with Americans for the Arts, will provide contact level providing information for elected representatives and will allow individuals to send their representatives customized messages.

ARTS New York State Coalition will also plan and coordinate state-wide advocacy events for 2011 which will provide the arts community with opportunities to meet with elected officials to discuss arts funding in the 2011/12 New York State Budget as well as other issues. A designated Arts Day in Albany is scheduled for Tuesday, February 8, 2011 in addition to many arts advocacy events planned in local districts during the week of February 7 – 13, 2011. Today we have a new governor, who is facing serious budget deficits, and we need him and his administration to be aware of the extent of the past cuts and the need for thoughtful care as they develop the budget for 2012.

It is very urgent that the Governor of our state hear from those who enjoy and treasure the arts in New York State. Send your message to Gov. Andrew Cuomo today.

Lest we forget, cuts to the arts is not only state wide, but on a Federal level as well. In addition to contacting your local representatives, do the same with State Senators and Congressional reps.

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