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White Plains-based ArtsWestchester Backs State Budget

Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Gov. Andrew Cuomo Photo Credit: File

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – White Plains-based ArtsWestchester joined with leaders from across New York state to express support for Gov. Andrew Cuomo's 2015 budget proposal, which included a $5 million increase for the New York State Council on the Arts.

ArtsWestchester CEO Janet Langsam also praised the efforts of NYSCA Chairman Aby Rosen, who advocated for the increase.

The added funds are particularly significant since it continues an upward trend started in 2012-13, when Cuomo added $4 million in Regional Economic Development funds to the NYSCA budget.

While arts advocates agree that this is a great step in the right direction, they will continue to work to restore NYSCA to its highest amount of local assistance funding, which was $54.3 million more than 27 years ago (in 1988-89 and 1989-90).  There is also a proposed increase in NYSCA staff, bringing the total to 30.

Arts leaders are quick to point to how such funding not only benefits arts and culture in this state, but is also a boon to local economies. New York state is home to 53,085 arts-related businesses that employ 335,683 people, according to recent studies.

“Cultural organizations and institutions are vital on so many levels – they improve our quality of life and add value to our economy,” said Langsam. “Every dollar spent on arts and culture translates into even more expenditures at restaurants, shops and businesses near cultural venues, so we are pleased the governor increased funding for the arts and will be reaching out to the Legislature to do the same.”

The recent advocacy effort led by ArtsNYS was organized on behalf of all NYSCA recipients large and small, including ArtsWestchester, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. ArtsNYS is a network of arts councils and affiliated organizations from all over the state that redistribute NYSCA funds through the Decentralization Program, working closely with the cultural organizations in their communities.

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