Announcing Statewide Community Regrant (SCR) Awardees!
Syracuse, New York – CNY Arts recently announced $510,000 in grant awards, made possible by the Statewide Community Regrant (SCR) program. Funding for this program was secured by a special state Senate initiative spearheaded by Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and administered by the New York State Council on the Arts. With support from the Senate, Assembly, and Governor, CNY Arts received $1 million. Approximately half of this funding was set aside for grantmaking for artists and arts, culture, and heritage organizations throughout Central New York and the Mohawk Valley.
“We are so grateful to the State legislature and our local representatives for their tireless support,” said Stephen Butler, Executive Director of CNY Arts. “Thanks to increased funding, we received over twice as many grant applications compared to previous years. This clearly demonstrates the need for more robust, continued assistance to the arts. We look forward to receiving these funds from NYSCA, as many of our awardees are hard at work on their projects and programs.”
According to the New York State Council on the Arts, the arts sector in New York State generated $126 billion of economic activity in 2020. Despite challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, arts and entertainment in New York State remain an important source of commerce, employment, and enrichment.
For many SCR recipients, funding will help expand programming, increase commissions, and provide arts-related services and education to their communities. Awardees reflect a variety of creative disciplines, and some are dedicated to the preservation of important heritage sites.
For Jim Farfaglia of Oswego, creating art was a way to provide comfort and encouragement to neighbors and members of his community. Funding from SCR allowed Mr. Farfaglia to expand his Postcard Poetry project.
“During the pandemic, I noticed how so many people felt isolated, especially in rural parts of my county. I had an idea of sending people a short poem – short enough to fit on a postcard – that would lift their spirits and help us feel connected to each other,” said Mr. Farfaglia. “Though the worst of the pandemic is over, there is still isolation in our world. I am grateful to CNY Arts for allowing me to offer folks a little bit of hope.”
Today, Mr. Farfaglia has more than tripled his number of subscribers, and his poetry is also circulated among support centers, nursing homes, and libraries.
Arc Herkimer is another recipient of SCR funding. Dedicated to serving individuals with disabilities, Arc Herkimer will produce a traveling exhibit titled Arts Without Boundaries, designed to showcase the artwork of their community members.
“Thanks to CNY Arts, our people can share their gift with the community,” said Catherine Loomis, Vice President of Community Engagement and Career Development. “Art is inclusive, and for people with disabilities it offers expression without restrictions and builds crucial self-esteem that they can take into every part of their lives.”
In addition to project-specific support and programming services, SCR funding will also be used to help some organizations advocate on behalf of underserved communities. According to Qiana Williams, Executive team member and Treasurer of the Black Artist Collective CNY, the grant award will be used to uplift black and brown artists, provide professional development for arts and culture workers, and spur economic growth.
“We are very excited that BAC and several of our members have been awarded funds from CNY Arts,” said Ms. Williams. “Being able to support our members in this way allows more room for them to freely create and not be subject to having their artistry misunderstood or mistreated, as it often happens in traditional institutions. We know this is a solid next step toward elevating the collective consciousness.”
CNY Arts has participated in SCR (formerly known as Decentralization) since 1997 and has awarded an average total of $199,000 each year. The impact of last year’s special Senate initiative increased that amount by 150%.
CNY Arts is the regional arts council, promoting, supporting, and celebrating arts and culture in Central New York. CNY Arts provides support and assistance to artists and arts organizations in a six-county Central New York and the Mohawk Valley region through access to grants, capacity-building assistance, education and training, and promotional services.