Arts Services Initiative of Western New York

Arts Services Initiative of Western New York

Arts Services Initiative of WNY's NYS Governor Candidate Survey 2018

Western New York is widely viewed as being in the midst of a renaissance, while it is also noted that for many citizens and neighborhoods significant challenges remain. As both a key contributor to the former, and a key resource for the latter, arts and culture plays a significant and unique role in Western New York’s health and future. Numerous studies and reports have shown:

  • The not for profit cultural sector and its audience in Western New York has an annual economic impact of $352.1 million dollars (Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 Report);
  • This sector generates $40.3 million in local and state tax revenue (Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 Report*);
  • There are over 50,300 arts-related businesses located in total in New York State (2017 Creative Industries Report, Americans for the Arts);
  • With the reduction of in-school visual and performing arts classes, there is greater demand for arts and cultural engagement for youth out of school and in the community;
  • Arts education helps children develop higher level skills such as critical thinking and problem solving;
  • The arts have a positive impact on the development of local communities and social networks;
  • The arts contribute to innovation within a community;
  • Arts and culture is a key component of Visit Buffalo Niagara’s tourism efforts and a frequent lead mention in national and international stories about the community; and
  • Cultural amenities are utilized in the attraction and retention of new economy businesses and knowledge workers to the region.

New York State and Western New York have served, and continue to serve, as leading supporters of the cultural sector in numerous ways, in addition to federal support to the WNY region through national initiatives. As is clearly shown above, this support benefits the people of Western New York, those visiting the area, businesses located here, and government itself. Our Governor plays a key role in government and decision making, and therefore we ask candidates for NYS Governor their thoughts on these issues.

*A complete and detailed Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 Report can be found at HERE.

1. Name: Howie Hawkins

2. Office Sought: Governer of New York

3. Current Occupation & Employer: Retired UPS Teamster truck unloader

4. The current 2018 funding of the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) is $46.9 million, spending just $0.42 per NYS resident. Would you support a plan to increase state arts funding to NYSCA to $1 per NYS resident, so that arts organizations in your district can present even more accessible arts programs for all of its residents?


Optional Comment:

But $1 per resident is far too low. I support New York State coming up to the European average of 0.6% of GDP, which in 2017 would have been $468 per resident.

5. Several of the Regional Economic Development Council plans throughout the state include arts and culture as a priority or targeted industry, but the Western New York plan only mentions it in the context of tourism. If elected, would you advocate for the inclusion of arts and culture in the WNY Regional Economic Development Council plan and for a cultural representative to sit on the Council?


Optional Comment:

I support an arts and culture representatives on the Regional Economic Development Councils in the short run. But I think we need to radically democratize funding and access to arts and culture.

I support generous funding of arts and culture programs in public schools.

I favor an arts and culture voucher to every voter, which can be used to direct state funding to the art and culture programs of their choice. Current funding by grants controlled by political and economic elites is biased toward the interests and experience of the elites to the detriment of working class and people of color communities. The vouchers would enable more community-based arts programs like Locust Street Art.

Arts and culture funding should support affordable studio space and performance space for artists.

I favor a state-level Arts and Culture program akin to Works Progress Administrations' 1935-1942 Federal Project Number One, or "Federal One," which focused on employing unemployed visual artists, musicians, theater workers, and writers in producing public art and culture for the broad public to enjoy.



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