2015 Year in Review (and a look ahead to 2016)

Looking back at the year, CNY Arts has much to be grateful for! 2015 began with the news that we had received another I Love New York grant from New York State’s Empire State Development for our collaborative marketing system at to better promote our region’s arts and cultural offerings.

Our work in ENGAGE CNY, the ten year cultural plan developed in 2014 through a Regional Economic Development Council grant from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), continues to evolve. The plan is already being implemented regionally: CNY Arts program staff members, Elizabeth Lane, grants manager and Matthew De Bellas, marketing manager meet regularly with constituents in satellite offices in Oneida and Oswego counties, in cooperation with our partners, the City of Utica and Oswego County Administration.

On another ENGAGE front, The Arts in Higher Education Consortium convened two large meetings with representatives of some of the 17 colleges and universities. We are thankful to the John Ben Snow Foundation, the Sam and Adele Golden Foundation for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for providing funding to the Consortium to work on goals to engage students and recent graduates in the region.

As the year ended, CNY Arts was happy to learn that the “Big Idea” (developed ENGAGE CNY) to create Arts and Entertainment Districts was included in the package of projects that was submitted to the Upstate Revitalization Initiative competition by the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) team. Thanks to the great work done by so many in our region, Central New York received one of the $500M awards under the leadership of Rob Simpson, president/CEO of Centerstate CEO and Kent Syverud, Chancellor, Syracuse University. The planning process for the project is being developed now and will soon be underway. We are very grateful to the Allyn Foundation, for providing $10,000 in technical assistance funds for the CNY Arts board and staff to strategize their work on these projects.

CNY Arts also is receiving important New York State Department of Education funding, through the efforts of Senator John DeFrancisco, to distribute close to $85,000 in scholarships for advanced training for gifted students in the arts. We were happy to learn that NYSCA was providing close to $20,000 for teaching artist training for those wishing to work in the schools and an additional $90,000 for CNY Arts to distribute in grants to help art service providers across the state build their capacity. And again, at the end of the year, NYSCA REDC provided $63,000 to our collaborative marketing system so we can develop a digital cultural map for people traveling in our region. Work on that project has already begun! To support all of CNY Arts’ efforts, we were grateful to receive a $15,000 grant from the Central New York Community Foundation to upgrade our information technology equipment and programs.

Around these events, we managed to distribute more in arts and technical assistance grants from the County of Onondaga and NYCSA than at any time in our history with $199,950 from the State and $1,121,514 from the County. CNY Arts is so grateful to County Executive Joanne M. Mahoney, the Onondaga County Legislature, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature for their sustained support for arts and culture grants in our communities. And with great success, we continued our long-running programs On My Own Time, in partnership with Everson Museum of Art, and the Michael Harms Theater Festival as well as produced the second annual Dasher’s Magical Gift, a narrated holiday ballet for families which was seen by close to 7,000 children this year!

What a fantastic end to 2015!

We greatly appreciate all who offered their support in 2015, and we look forward to promoting, supporting, and celebrating the arts in Central New York in 2016.

Steve Butler
Executive Director
CNY Arts


Posted On: January 27, 2016
Listed As: CNY Arts News