Schimminger Announces Funding for Twin Cities Cultural Organizations

September 1, 2006

The Western New York Assembly Majority Delegation recently secured a total of $48,000 in funding for cultural organizations in the Tonawandas, Assemblyman Robin Schimminger announced today.

Schimminger chairs the Western New York Delegation and noted, “These funds will go a long way to preserving arts and cultural events in the Tonawandas. Assisting these valuable institutions in their development, maintenance and growth will ensure a healthy cultural community for the future while boosting tourism development in the Twin Cities.” Benefiting from the funds are the Tonawandas’ Council on the Arts/Carnegie Arts Center, the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum, the Railroad Museum of the Niagara Frontier, and the historic Riviera Theatre.

The Carousel Society of the Niagara Frontier will receive $17,000 to expand educational programs offered at the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum and outreach into Western New York schools. “This funding is key to cultural tourism development within the Tonawandas,” said Teresa Gallagher, the new Director of the Carrousel Museum. “It is only through a density of attractions that this community and Western New York can become a tourist destination with parallel economic benefits for our small businesses, our young people seeking jobs and community vitality.”

The Railroad Museum of the Niagara Frontier, located on Oliver Street in North Tonawanda, is being funded for repairs and upgrades to its historic cabooses and locomotives, which will then provide a safe and educational venue for public viewing. “This $5,000 grant will allow us to preserve our two historic cabooses as well as work on two industrial locomotives, giving us more to offer the community and railroad enthusiasts throughout the region,” stated James Van Brocklin, 1st Vice President of the Niagara Frontier Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, which operates the facility.

The historic Riviera Theatre will use $11,000 in grant money to refurbish the projection booth and replace lamp houses and lenses on its 1926 arc lamp projectors. The Riviera Theatre and Organ Preservation Society, owner of the theater, has worked diligently in past years to bring the theater up to par as a performing arts center. Not only does the theater offer production companies a professional setting in which to work, but not-for-profit groups such as the YWCA of the Tonawandas use the venue for showing movies. This modernization, along with new carpeting being installed with a prior state legislative grant, will allow for yet more use of the theater. According to Frank Cannata, Executive Director, “We are very excited to be able to make these upgrades to our projectors. It is very difficult to get people who can operate the old-style projectors. The replacement of the lamp houses will significantly cut down the number of hours of training necessary for operators and hopefully increase the number of volunteer operators. The new lenses will ensure a brighter, clearer picture for our audiences to enjoy.”

The Tonawandas’ Council on the Arts/Carnegie Art Center received $15,000 in funding for art education programs for children and professional development workshops for artists and arts organizations in Western New York. "I am extremely pleased about this support from the Western New York Assembly Delegation and the New York State Assembly for our arts education and arts management programs. It demonstrates a true understanding by our area Assembly members that there is a real need to support these types of education programs as well as the professional development of arts administration professionals and artists within the Western New York cultural community,” stated Ellen Ryan, Executive Director of the Tonawandas’ Council on the Arts/Carnegie Arts Center.