The Arts are to New York as Corn is to Kansas

Photo Credit: Michael Fredericks

Photo Credit: Michael Fredericks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It snowed all the way up to Albany. It poured on the way back home. We went there in spite of the weather, as we had many times in the past.  We went to talk about the arts, it’s importance to our Empire State and the relatively meager amount of money, $40 million, allocated for it in the $154 billion state budget. You’ll never guess who greeted us as we entered the Albany inner sanctum. It was Jackson Pollack, Ellsworth Kelly, and Mark Rothko.  They were there in spirit and through their great works of art… 92 massive paintings and sculpture that line the halls of the Concourse entrance to the government offices. You can tour the Concourse at: http://on.ny.gov/226Q86z. It may indeed be the largest, most powerful public collection of American contemporary art made in New York during the 1960s and 70s. According to the Albany tourism site, the state’s embrace of abstract art positioned it as a forward-thinking patron, and its government as enlightened and advanced.  I was dazzled once again by this collection, put together by former Governor Nelson Rockefeller, to let the public at large know that the arts are to New York as corn is to Kansas. It reminded me once again why I braved the weather to Albany with my ArtsNYS colleagues (from Syracuse, Buffalo, Saratoga and other counties around the state) to seek an increase in arts funding for the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA).  Importantly, this funding is a lifeline for arts organizations throughout the state and in Westchester, too. It would be wonderful for the state government to revisit the genesis of this extraordinary collection, to once again position the arts as our most powerful export, revered around the world as a reason to visit New York State, and admire its innovative spirit. If you agree, go on www.ArtsNYS.org to let your legislator know.

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