CNY Arts, Inc.


CNY Arts Summer Newsletter

CNY Arts Summer Newsletter

Summer is finally in full swing! And you know what that means: sun, fun, and some of the best arts and entertainment that Central New York has to offer. Most importantly, warm weather provides an opportunity to gather and enjoy the remarkable innovations of our creative community. Every summer, Central New York attracts marquee entertainers, musicians, and world-class, multi-disciplinary art. This year is no exception. Whether you’re seated on the grass and enjoying the thrill of an open-air concert, or exploring a creek walk and learning more about our rich local heritage, there’s no better time to discover everything our region has to offer than summer in Central New York. 

Of course, many of these exciting events would not be possible without the enthusiasm of our audiences and generous support provided by our representatives in the local, state, and federal government. CNY Arts is proud to administer the vital grant funding that helps distinguish Central New York as a one-of-a-kind cultural destination. Like many forms of art, this important work is a collaborative experience. We’re delighted to announce that our team has recently expanded to ensure that our neighbors and peers continue to enjoy the high standard of arts and culture opportunities right in our own backyard. 

So, park yourself on the patio, hang in the hammock, or bask on the beach and read on to learn about all the exciting news that we have to share!


We’re thrilled to report that CNY Arts has received a $1 million allocation in the New York State budget for the second consecutive year. These resources were secured through a special funding initiative led by Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. In fact, $10 million more dollars have been designated for our regional arts council peers throughout the State this year, too. CNY Arts is deeply grateful to our elected representative and State officials for their steadfast commitment to supporting arts and culture in New York State. We would especially like to acknowledge Governor Hochul, Senator Stewart-Cousins, and the New York State Council on the Arts, each of whom demonstrated extraordinary leadership during the budget negotiation process. This year’s $1 million allocation will support agency administration, as well as grants-making, marketing, and technical support for our creators and constituents. 

Speaking of grants, CNY Arts would also like to thank the National Endowment for the Arts for a $35,000 award from the Grants for Arts program. Over 1,900 organizations nationwide applied to the NEA Grants for Arts program. Each proposal was presented to a panel of arts-sector experts from around the country. After a competitive review process, recommendations were made to the NEA for final determination. CNY Arts was one among just 356 peer organizations in New York State to receive NEA funding. These resources allowed us to operate our inaugural 2023 Festival Fund, designed to support festival programming throughout Central New York – just in time for the summer season! Festival Fund grant recipients represent a variety of disciplines and events, from music and theater to street fairs and cultural celebrations. Be sure to check out our online events calendar for more information.

In June, CNY Arts held a virtual award ceremony to acknowledge recipients of the 2023 Statewide Community Regrant (SCR) program. This year, 144 awardees from Cortland, Herkimer, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, and Oswego counties were selected for individual and organizational project support. Hosting a virtual award ceremony enabled access for all program participants, and even featured guest speakers who prepared recorded remarks, including a keynote address by Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins. Other speakers included Assembly members William Barclay, Pamela Hunter, Bill Magnarelli, and Senators John Mannion and Rachel May. Three SCR award recipients also spoke: Catherine Loomis, Vice President of Community Engagement and Creative Development at Arc Herkimer; Sara Watrous, Project Director at Cortland Area Communities that Care; photographer Zack Bolton; and poet Chantel Frazier. Ms. Frazier read aloud from her poetry collection titled “Beloved Bruised Orange.”

Projects supported by SCR can also be found on the CNY Arts online events calendar – our local artists would love to see you stop by!



For the first time ever, CNY Arts has been selected for a grant from Chashama, a New York City-based art organization committed to providing affordable venues for artists to exhibit their work and funded by the New York State Council on the Arts. With additional generous support from the City of Syracuse and the Central New York Community Foundation, CNY Arts in partnership with Chashama will repurpose the City Hall Commons Atrium, located across from Hanover Square, to provide a multidisciplinary gallery and programming space for Central New York artists. This special initiative is expected to run for at least twelve months, and provide at least six exhibits and a variety of programming throughout the year. 

Founded in 1995 by performing artist Anita Durst, Chashama partners with property owners to convert unused real estate for a variety of creative applications, including exhibits, classes, and studios, specifically emphasizing access and equity for artists who may not otherwise have an opportunity to share their work with the public, or develop their craft in a functional workspace. In Persian, Chashama means “inspiration.” And, true to their name, Chashama has awarded millions of dollars in real estate value, underwritten hundreds of workspaces for participating artists, and hosted numerous workshops to support and encourage under-served creative communities. With assistance from the New York State Council on the Arts, Chashama has expanded operations to several Upstate regions.

In addition to providing subsidies, Chashama is also actively involved in the transformation and the management of each space. Support provided by Chashama covers administrative fees, costs associated with buildouts and accessibility improvements, and artist honorariums, too. Although the City Hall Commons Atrium is not typically utilized as a gallery space, Chashama and CNY Arts are planning an innovative approach to the many programs and displays scheduled for the year ahead.

The inaugural exhibit will feature a multidisciplinary selection of local artists, each of whom received an award from the Arts and Culture Recovery Fund, a grant program administered by CNY Arts. Resources for the Fund were provided by the City of Syracuse through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). We also plan to display work to commemorate the 50th anniversary of “On My Own Time,” a CNY Arts program dedicated to encouraging the creativity and passion of avocational artists who practice their craft as a hobby. Additional programming includes a special event in observance of Pakistan Independence Day, as well as a celebration of Italian culture – and this is just in the first two months, so come on down! We can’t wait to show you what we’ve been working on with this special initiative.


Staff Departures

We’re a tight-knit team here at CNY Arts, so it’s always bittersweet to say goodbye to a member of our staff. In early July, we bid farewell to Brian Lee, who served as Grants Program Manager. Brian was a graduate of Wesleyan University, with a B.A. in Music and Neuroscience, and an M.A. in Performance Curation. Before working at CNY Arts, Brian specialized in nonprofit fundraising and arts administration in Chicago. Brian made an invaluable contribution to CNY Arts with his expertise and passion for elevating and sustaining arts and culture in our community. We’re proud to report that Brian will continue his career as Grants Manager at the Bronx Council on the Arts. We would especially like to acknowledge Brian’s diligence, accomplishment, and camaraderie during his time with us. We can’t wait to see where his new path will lead!


New Staff

Fortunately, we have also welcomed three staff who have joined the team to support and implement our programs and services. Just as the change of seasons implies transformation and opportunity, our newest colleagues each bring unique perspectives, experiences, and skills to CNY Arts. 

 Miguel Bustamante

 Miguel Bustamante is a graduate of Alfred University with B.A. in History. There, he and his colleagues published a new edition of the Kanakadea Review, an academic journal that circulates each year on campus. After graduating, Miguel moved to Syracuse with his loving partner and completed an internship at the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse. 

Miguel first met CNY Arts Executive Director Stephen Butler during a chance encounter while working retail. After learning about CNY Arts, Miguel was moved to apply for a fellowship. Miguel has always been passionate about art, heritage, and the stories that inform our history. At CNY Arts, he believes he can help preserve and promote these narratives. 

In his spare time, Miguel enjoys Dungeons & Dragons, video games, and other geeky subjects. Miguel looks up to J.R.R. Tolkien as a hero and inspiration, and wishes, like Vincent van Gogh, for people to know how deeply he cares.


Scott Hermann

Scott Herrmann is a visual artist who works in drawing and collage. An art history major at Syracuse University, he has had the opportunity to exhibit his work all over the region, most recently at the Upstate Cancer Center. He has twice been accepted by the Schweinfurth Art Center's annual Made in New York juried show. For the past thirteen years he has served as the President of the Board for Open Figure Drawing, a non-profit group that specializes in providing the region with figure drawing opportunities. Scott is also a former director of the Westcott Community Art Center. He enjoys reading, hiking, cycling, trying new restaurants with his wife, and really weird films and music. 

Margot Vangel

Margot Vangel is a Brooklyn native and Syracuse transplant. They are a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University (BA, Theatre) and Le Moyne College (MS, Arts Administration). Outside of working with CNY Arts, Margot is a professional Stage Manager for regional theatres in the Central New York Area. They are also a Lecturer in Stage Management at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. Their approach to the performing arts and stage management is to help create and foster environments that are compassionate, caring, and efficient and seek to bring that to the administrative level as well.

A Friend of the Arts

In Memoriam: Robert “Bob” Herz

In May, the art and culture community of Central New York mourned the passing of Robert Herz. Bob was a close friend to CNY Arts, and an advocate for supporting and sustaining our regional creative economy. Bob began this important work as an editor for two local publications: the Central New York Business Journal, and the Syracuse New Times. He would go on to serve as legislative aide to New York State Senator Tarky Lombardi Jr. for seventeen years, followed by ten more years of service with Senator Roy Goodman. During that time, Bob played a key role in developing New York State Elder Law and Arts and Culture Affairs laws.

Bob personified a true spirit of fraternity and entrepreneurship and applied his talent in a variety of multidisciplinary endeavors. Bob was a published poet and founder of the Nine Mile Magazine and Book series. He also developed InSource, a local business incubator. Remarkably, Bob’s breadth of knowledge and expertise spanned politics, literature, business, and even bioscience consultation!

We will miss Bob a great deal. As a native Syracusian, Bob made an immeasurable contribution to his home community. At CNY Arts, we endeavor to continue his legacy of service, compassion, and inquiry. 


On behalf of the Board and staff at CNY Arts, we wish you a safe, warm, and pleasant summer season ahead. As ever, thank you for your support and patronage. 

There are lights behind me, where my house is,
And on the meadows in summer
You can sometimes hear it, the thump-thump sound
Over the sound of bees, like a large human heart:
An ax. Someone cutting trees. Down through the meadow,
When I run there, I bring my hand forward, chopping air,
And so I could, when I say “time of year,”
As easily mean individual moments, not seasons.
It’s like this in memory too, when we pass from
Desire as sequence to a kind of nocturne,
Individual moments that make memory
A movement as on a train passing through…
Here are the tracks measuring each interval’s momentum—
Here is the sand rushing out of the hourglass,
That old crab walking sideways!
And here’s a seasonal change: beyond the hills, more hills.


“Seasonal Change, 3”

By Bob Herz