Decentralization Grants Benefit Local Artists, Community Groups

May 12, 2017
New York State is a leader in the arts but one of the things that our region has traditionally struggled with is obtaining funding to help support the arts. Since New York City is so big and provides much by way of culture and entertainment, much of the state funding for the arts has been driven downstate. However, in recent years there has been a shift in how funding has been made available. The New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) Decentralization Award Program provides more opportunities for small, upstate art groups to obtain funding.

Through the Decentralization Award Program, regional arts organizations are awarded funds by NYSCA. These regional arts organizations then hold their own grant application process in order to award smaller grants to local arts organizations and artists. This way of distributing funding helps reach a wider geographical area which gives art groups in rural areas a chance to obtain support and helps thousands of people Upstate have access to the arts. Recently, nearly 2,000 artists and arts organizations in the state were awarded grants through the annual process.

In the Central New York region, CNY Arts--an arts organization that works to connect the public to arts and cultural opportunities in a six-county region--awards these grants to local artists and organizations. Organizers at CNY Arts estimate they are only able to fund 50% of the applications they receive. Though the award amounts are small, these grants often make the difference as to whether the programming can be offered. The grants help fund things like local summer concert series, youth theater events, writing workshops, author outreach events, and fine art installations. These types of events have a positive impact on their respective communities, help add to the quality of life for residents, and enhance neighborhoods.

Our area recently received some good news. Eighteen groups in the 120th Assembly district were awarded a total of $26,500. Grant amounts ranged from $500 to $2,700. Arts grants recipients were:

  • Art Association of Oswego, Inc. for Art for YOUth 2017, $1,800
  • Camp Fire CNY at Camp Talooli for Art and STEAM Throwdowns, $1,500
  • Cleveland Historical Society for Children’s Glassworks Theatre, $1,000
  • CNY Arts Center, Inc. for performing arts season 2017, $2,000
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County for Nature Inspires, $1,000
  • Friends of Quirk’s Players, Inc. at G. Ray Bodley High School in Fulton for summer musical theatre, $2,000
  • Fulton Community Theatre, Inc. for the 2017 season, $2,000
  • 2017 Fulton Jazz Festival, $2,700
  • Northshore Community Chorus in Bernhards Bay, $500
  • Oswego Players, Inc. for “Grease,” $1,000
  • Preservation Revitalization of Pulaski for the local bands to play at the Pulaski Farmers’ Market, $500
  • Pulaski Congregational Church Laveck Concert series, $2,200
  • Salmon River Fine Arts Center for Drawing Families into Art, $1,600
  • Town of Schroeppel Music in the Park concerts, $500
  • Village of Lacona Music at the Market, $700
  • Village of Phoenix Canalside Music Series, $500.
  • Justin Mastrangelo, Upstate Printmakers Workshop, Oswego, $2,500
  • Richard H. Sivers, drama production “My War with the United States,” $2,500

Distributing funds through the Decentralization Grant Award program is a positive way to distribute funding to art programs. It is superior to the former, top-down approach where decisions were made from Albany and those decisions tended to skew towards downstate and large art institutions. The events and programs funded through the Decentralization Grant Awards help 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/. 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 North Second Street, Fulton, New York 13069, by e-mail at barclaw@assembly.state.ny.us or by calling (315) 598-5185.