New York – State of the Arts

LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island (photo credit: Zachary Tyler Newton)

Winding my way down from Troy, New York, I reflected on the conference I had just attended and what I learned from my colleagues around the state. One eye-opener was how many arts organizations own their own spaces. True, we were a small group, but a somewhat mighty one, members of the nearly new ArtsNYS, organized to fuel the arts in New York State. But, there seemed to be a new wave of real estate savvy in the room. At The Arts Center of the Capital Region in downtown Troy, for example, CEO Elizabeth Reiss is planning a hotel to complement the arts uses along River Street. Syracuse Director of CNY Arts Steve Butler is working on a six-county Arts and Entertainment district. In Wyoming County, (yes that’s in New York State), the Arts Director Jacqueline Hoyt administers programs from a restored historic building in downtown Perry, NY. Well, of course, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) can’t be outdone. Director, Diego Siegalini gave us the scoop on their recent $6 million dollar real estate venture which is LMCC’s Art’s Center at Governors Island. The 40,000 square foot former military ammunitions depot includes artist studios, galleries, performance space and a café. And in Narrowsburg, Delaware Valley Arts Alliance’s Director Ariel Shanberg is planning the restoration of historic sites as he did in Woodstock some time ago. I was surprised to also learn that Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts’ Executive Director Christine Pouch is doing business from a 98-year-old building that was originally a gas station! Our speaker, Phillip Morris, the CEO of Proctors, the performing arts center of the Capital District located in Schenectady and TheRep, in downtown Albany, has a central heating and chilling plant that supplies 12 neighbor buildings and businesses with utilities and heats a snowmelt system under the sidewalks around Proctors’ block. Suffice to say, it’s a dazzling group of cultural entrepreneurs doing what the arts do best – being creative.

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