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Artpark, where music, art, nature and culture connect. (File photo)
Artpark, where music, art, nature and culture connect. (File photo)

Artpark & Company: 'Artpark Works' initiative to rebuild arts & culture workforce, stimulate local economy


Fri, Jun 4th 2021 04:45 pm

This summer, Artpark & Company will help to rebuild the workforce of Western New York by hiring artists and other cultural sector professionals with the launch of a new $200,000 program, “Artpark Works.” This is thanks to a $100,000 grant from The John R. Oishei Foundation and KeyBank, in collaboration with First Niagara Foundation, aided by previously contributed $100,000 from M&T Bank and Cullen Foundation in general operating support.

The venue stated, “Arts and cultural workers in Western New York have been especially vulnerable to the pandemic. This program will support seasonal part-time and full-time positions, with an emphasis on those most affected by COVID-19: workers in underserved populations, including Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.”

The arts are a major engine of economic prosperity in Western New York and U.S. According to the 2017 Arts and Economic Prosperity study conducted by Americans for the Arts, the local sector contributed $352 million in economic impact, with $156 million in direct expenses, including engagement of 10,160 full-time employees. This shows that, for every $1 of cultural sector expense, the economic impact is doubled.

In a full year, Artpark contributes more than $13 million to the local economy. In 2021, “Artpark Works” will support over 100 artists, technicians and other cultural sector professionals with compensation for at least 131 weekly full-time-equivalent hours. These jobs will support both new and existing arts programming and enhance the public park’s experience.

“The arts community has suffered devastating losses during the past 14 months,” Artpark President Sonia Kozlova Clark said. “This funding is a much-needed fuel igniting our economy, collective imagination, sense of belonging, joy and hope. We thank our funders for recognizing the need and the value of the professional cultural sector workers, the wisest investment a community can make.”

Lawrence H. Cook II, senior vice president of programs for The John R. Oishei Foundation, said, “ ‘Artpark Works’ is a creative way to support individual artists who have been hit hard by the impact of COVID, while also offering strong programming for the community in Artpark’s beautiful setting. We are delighted to support this initiative, particularly as it is focused on underserved communities and people of color.”

Elizabeth Gurney, executive director of the KeyBank and First Niagara foundations, said, “We at KeyBank are committed to making Western New York a vibrant and inclusive region with opportunity for all. The arts are fundamental to economic development by fostering creativity and innovation. We are very pleased to support the work Artpark is doing to create jobs and provide opportunities that will further enhance our community.”

During the pandemic, Artpark produced 81 events specifically adapted for social distancing, serving close to 10,000 visitors. In a normal summer, Artpark presents and produces 150-plus programs, serving 150,000 visitors employing over 200 workers and dozens of independent artists and groups (delivering that $13 million in economic benefit).

This summer, with the help of “Artpark Works,” the venue is looking forward to presenting a full season of programs as restrictions ease.

Positions currently available at Artpark include:

√ Visual art residencies

√ Curatorial project manager

√ Performers and musicians for Artpark’s Fairy House Festival, Strawberry Moon Festival, “FREE Family Saturdays,” “New Music in the Park” series and other established Artpark programs.

√ Box office tellers

√ Parking toll operators

√ Concession workers

Inquire at artpark.net/artpark-works.

The Lewiston cultural institution known as Artpark was established in 1974 as a collaboration between New York State Parks and the cultural nonprofit institution Artpark & Company. Artpark is currently programmed and managed by an independent nonprofit Artpark & Co., and is widely regarded as a summer outdoor music venue and ranked one of the top 100 amphitheaters worldwide by Pollstar. Of its 150 yearly events spread across 150-plus acres of land in 110 days of summer, 90 are community and family programs delivered to 50,000-plus at low or no cost.

The John R. Oishei Foundation enhances the economic vitality and quality of life for the Buffalo Niagara Region through grantmaking, leadership and network building. For more information, visit www.oishei.org.

KeyCorp's roots trace back 190 years to Albany. Headquartered in Cleveland, Key is one of the nation's largest bank-based financial services companies, with assets of approximately $176.2 billion on March 31. For more information, visit https://www.key.com/.

Founded in 1998, the First Niagara Foundation carries out the philanthropic legacy of First Niagara Bank, which was acquired by KeyCorp in 2016. The foundation, in partnership with KeyBank, supports not-for-profit organizations dedicated to empowering individuals and neighborhoods primarily in Western New York.

The Cullen Foundation serves the residents of Erie County by providing funding and support that significantly enhances the education of students in grades pre-K through 12 and advances theater and the performing arts. In 2020, Cullen Foundation granted a total of $1,123,690 to 39 performing arts grantees in Erie and Niagara counties.

M&T Bank traces its origins to the founding of Manufacturers and Traders Bank in Buffalo. Today M&T Bank Corp. is one of the 20 largest commercial bank holding companies in the U.S.

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