Greene arts groups receive state grants

The Pratsville Art Project will receive $25,000 in state grant funding to boost local arts organizations.

PRATTSVILLE — A trio of Greene County arts organizations are set to receive state funding intended to bolster Capital Region cultural groups.

As part of its third round of 2021 funding, the New York State Council on the Arts has awarded $89,500 to the Wave Farm broadcast company in Acra, $49,500 to the CREATE Council on the Arts and $25,000 to the Prattsville Arts Project.

Nancy Barton, executive director of the Prattsville Arts Center, said the center has received four grants over the years from the federal National Endowment for the Arts and several previous rounds of funding from the state Council.

“The grant was particularly generous this year, which was really a validation for us,’’ Barton said on Monday. “They were really generous in speaking to us about our programs and said we were really operating at a level that they usually see for a much larger organization. They said they’d love to give us more money, but we have to raise our overall budget in order for them to do that.”

Barton explained that the Greene arts groups each applied for the grants individually, not as a group. She said the nonprofit arts center expects to receive state grant funding early in the new year.

“It’s a two-year grant, so it ensures we’ll be able to keep our programs going,” Barton said. “We also have a community library that this will help to support.”

Barton said the $25,000 will fuel the center’s operating budget in 2022 and can be used at the group’s discretion.

“This money is for general operating, so it’s a wonderful kind of support because you don’t have to have a project,” Barton said. “It’s for the whole season and whole year. We have some exciting things coming up. We’ll be doing a music festival again in one form or another, depending on COVID. We’ve had the Headed for the Hills music festival for the past five years and we’ll be bringing in a lot of exciting artists.”

Barton said the music festival will have a theme of Diversity on Main Street and will feature an array of avant garde and experimental performers. The music festival is slated to take place at a date to be determined this summer. In addition to performances and ongoing exhibitions, the arts center also offers social service programs, including an art therapy initiative.

Galen Joseph-Hunter, executive director of Wave Farm, wrote in an email Monday that the Acra experimental media organization will receive a major boost as a result of the state funding.

“We are so deeply grateful to NYSCA for this critical funding,” Joseph-Hunter wrote. “Forty-nine-thousand five-hundred dollars in general operating support will directly impact Wave Farm’s artist residencies, installations and our creative community radio station WGXC 90.7-FM: Radio for Open Ears in New York’s Upper Hudson Valley. In addition, NYSCA has awarded funding to all four of the Individual Artists’ applications Wave Farm fiscally sponsored for 2022 in the amount of $10,000 each. NYSCA has long been visionary in their support of electronic media and technology as an art form. The four sponsored artist projects and Wave Farm programs, which are driven by experimentation with broadcast media and the airwaves, will be significantly strengthened by this timely grant award.”

As part of the state initiative, the CREATE Council on the Arts will get $49,500 in grant funding for flexible organizational support.

“CREATE Council on the Arts is honored to be a grant recipient from New York State Council on the Arts,” Beth Schneck, deputy director of CREATE Council on the Arts, said in a statement. “We would like to thank Gov. Kathy Hochul, Sen. Michelle Hinchey, the New York State Legislature, and NYSCA for their commitment and dedication to the arts in New York. We are immensely grateful for this support that will continue to make the work of CREATE Council on the Arts possible, as we forge ahead to build a stronger regional advocate for the arts and creative economy in three counties, Greene, Columbia and Schoharie. CREATE supports and advances the arts and cultural community by inspiring creative engagement, while broadening and enriching resources and economic growth in the region.”

Barton said that the funding the Prattsville Arts Project will receive can assist in the revitalization of the town.

“It’s really exciting to see Prattsville come back,” she said. “We started the center after the flood in 2011 as part of the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) project to rebuild the town. It’s really exciting to get this kind of state and national support because it’s such a small and rural community.”

In a statement, Hinchey said the pandemic has derailed the state’s arts and cultural sector, which before 2020 had accounted for nearly half a million jobs and generated around $120 billion for New York annually. A 2020 study conducted by the Brookings Institution estimated that more than 280,000 arts industry jobs and $26.8 billion in sales have been lost in New York, second only to California.

“While many of the Capital Region’s arts institutions have reopened, the majority are working with budgets that have been decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hinchey declared in a statement. “That’s why this extraordinary level of state funding is being delivered right now, at this vital moment, to help our cultural sector workers survive this time of profound hardship and get a significant jump-start on their revival strategy. Without arts and culture, we lose so much of what gives our communities character, what brings us together for unforgettable experiences that can inspire our own personal growth, and what drives investment across our whole Capital Region economy. For nonprofits serving more rural upstate regions — like Prattsville Art Center, Wave Farm, CREATE Council on the Arts, and Old Songs, Inc. — this grant funding demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that arts and entertainment are accessible and successful in all corners of our state.”

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