FORUM: Art for Ithaca’s Future

An opportunity to voice your opinion about “new directions for the arts in downtown Ithaca”:

On Saturday, April 25th, the Downtown Ithaca Alliance invites community members of all ages to ART FOR A JUST & SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY, the theme for Art in the Heart of the City 2009 and the DIA’s contribution to Ithaca’s Earth Day ’09 celebration.

The event opens with a 12:00 Noon Parade for the Earth on the Ithaca Commons, followed at 1 pm by a Forum on Exploring Directions for the Arts in Downtown Ithaca in the Tompkins County Library Borg- Warner Room.

Everyone is invited to gather for the Parade at 11:00 a.m. The Parade will start from the Bernie Milton Pavilion at 12:00 noon.

The Exploring Directions Forum continues the exploration of a role for the arts in future downtown development which was launched last fall, as part of the DIA’s 2008 Art in the Heart of the City public art program.

Alastair Noble, internationally-renowned artist and former Cornell faculty member, will open with an overview of how artists working in public spaces are engaging sustainability themes. Kathy Bruce, whose bamboo and morning glory Graces were featured in Art in the Heart of the City 2008, will then draw on her own work to show how one artist might interpret Ithaca’s 2009 theme of Art for a Just & Sustainable Community. The Forum will conclude with an exploration of possibilities for creating a dynamic future for the arts in downtown Ithaca.

Specifically, panelists and participants will be asked to consider three key questions:

1. How should the arts factor into thinking about re-doing the Ithaca Commons?

2. What might ‘iconic art’ for downtown Ithaca look like?

3. How can the Downtown Ithaca Alliance engage local artists and the broader community in making public art a more prominent part of downtown life?

(add your questions here)

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Take Action: Albany to Cut State Arts Funding

I just want to get the word out.  The info below is directly from an email from Community Arts Partnership Director, Brett Bossard:

We need to send a powerful message to Albany describing the impact of the Governor’s proposed MID-YEAR cut of $7 million to the New York State Council on the Arts‘ (NYSCA) 2008-2009 budget.

Our State Legislators need to know there will be significant economic losses to the state and to our communities, and potential major job losses as well, if this cut is approved in the middle of a fiscal year.

Our friends at NYS ARTS have made it easy for you make your opinions heard; simply click here to send an e-mail directly to legislators for your district. You can use the pre-provided text or add some of your own comments. It only takes a few minutes to get your voice heard.

The last time NYS ARTS e-mailed the Governor and State Legislators, 14,300 emails were sent. This time let’s make it 20,000 emails. Numbers matter. Everyone pays attention when enough people speak out.

Please forward this message to everyone you know.

Important Facts

The Governor proposes an additional $7 million cut to the current local assistance (grants) budget.  This will eliminate almost all NYSCA funds that have not yet been awarded from the October and December 2008 grant cycles.  As a result 573 organizations (statewide) may not receive any funding, including those that hae general operating support pending.

Because NYSCA awards funds to local organizations four times a year (May, July, October, & December), the Governor’s proposal would create a serious inequity.  By the luck of the draw, these 573 organizations happened to have grants in the last two rounds of funding.  The State budget should not be balanced on their backs!

In Tompkins County alone, this cut could mean a loss of more than $120,000 in already approved funds at several of our major arts organizations. These include the Hangar Theatre, the Johnson Museum of Art, the State Theatre, the Cayuga Vocal Ensemble, NYS Baroque, and us here at the Community Arts Partnership.

This is the second reduction in the current budget; there was an almost 10% reduction a couple of months ago.  The first cut reduced the NYSCA budget from $48.5 million to $45.9 million. The Governor’s second proposed cut will bring the NYSCA budget down to $38.9 million – a total reduction of 20% from $48.5 million at the start of the current fiscal year. More details on Governor Patterson’s proposed budget and deficit reduction plan are available at the NYS Division of Budget website.

Please take a moment, and click here to send an email to your Legislators.