Groundbreaking Program to Provide Grants to Local Artists

September 20, 2007

Assemblymember Kevin Cahill (D-Ulster, Dutchess) announced today that the Governor has signed legislation that will create a pilot economic development program for artists living and working in Kingston.

"As a lifelong resident of Kingston, I was happy to work hard to ensure that our city be included in this groundbreaking program. The benefits our society reaps from a vibrant and active arts community are priceless and these important grants will allow our local artists to continue to thrive," said Assemblymember Cahill.

Taking advantage of the fact that the City of Kingston was recently named as one of the ten best places for artists in America, Mr. Cahill worked with a small group of colleagues to pass legislation directing the New York State Council on the Arts to develop a pilot grant program, to be conducted in the cities of Kingston, Syracuse, Rochester and New York, to provide grants to working artists and arts organizations.

"With a long heritage as an arts mecca, our area was already on the cultural map. Now the arts community, especially in Kingston, is playing a vital role revitalizing urban and rural communities throughout New York State by living and working in neighborhoods long-abandoned by mainstream industry," said Assemblymember Cahill.

“The most striking thing about Assemblymember Cahill is that I have never met another politician so keenly aware of both the intrinsic value of the arts as well as the economic significance,” said influential local Kingston artist Hendrick Dijk of the grant program. “Thanks to his hard work, Kingston and Ulster County have the ability to become not only a thriving arts center but a draw to younger artists, an important result which everybody recognizes as a necessity in the positive growth of the society and culture in our community.”

The pilot program will provide grants of up to $20,000 to working artists and arts organizations. The funding is to be used to secure space for an artist's studios, performance or gallery, as well as living quarters. “This legislation will enable artists to continue shaping the unique character of the region and State through the assurance of a commitment to helping secure live-work space for the artists of our towns and cities,” notes Mr. Cahill. “This is a priceless asset and Governor Spitzer’s signature on this legislation reaffirms our support for the artistic community in New York State.”

“At ASK, we know the value of the creative economy, especially in revitalizing areas of our communities. What a treasure we have in Assemblymember Cahill in that he sees the arts as a significant force in the overall health of our region’s economy. His active interest was key in helping ASK acquire and renovate a 6,000 square foot building. Kevin Cahill’s ongoing support of the arts is commendable,” said Katharine L. McKenna, President of the Board of the Arts Society of Kingston.