The funding forecast for arts organizations across the state just got a few million dollars sunnier, with news that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s proposed 2015-16 budget includes a $5 million boost for the New York State Council on the Arts.
The state agency, which suffered crippling funding cuts through the 1990s and during recent the economic recession, would receive a total of $46.9 million under Cuomo’s proposal. The news came as a relief to hundreds of small arts organizations, which have become accustomed to doing more with less as the agency’s budget plummeted from its peak of $54.3 million in the late ’80s and early ’90s.
Twenty-nine arts groups, banding together under the umbrella organization ArtsNYS, mounted an intensive lobbying effort last fall in Albany and their home districts, and were evidently able to deliver a convincing argument about their importance to the economic vitality of their respective regions.
“Starting in October, coalition members met with their legislators asking them to urge the Governor to request an increase. They explained to legislators that nonprofit cultural organizations are in actuality small businesses that have struggled through the recession with diminished resources and greater demand for their services,” according to a release from the Arts Services Initiative of Western New York. “Many of these businesses do not have the access to corporate or foundation funds as do other more institutional players.”