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Another record-breaking year: ASI receives over $1 million from NYSCA to support WNY arts industry


Wed, Jan 25th 2023 08:05 pm

Total reflects a special regrant appropriation and 18 individual artist awards

In 2023, Arts Services Inc. (ASI) will receive an “unprecedented” $1.2 million in funding from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA). A special $1 million appropriation was awarded to bolster ASI’s existing statewide community regrant program.

Also included in the total award amount is $180,000 that will be equally distributed to 18 WNY artists selected for funding through NYSCA’s round three “Support for Artists” using ASI as a fiscal sponsor. The remainder of the funding reflects ASI’s traditional support from NYSCA for general operations.

In addition to ASI, six other arts councils that serve as statewide community regrant (SCR) administration sites will also be receiving the $1 million appropriation: Genessee Valley Council on the Arts, Arts Mid Hudson, CNY Arts, Huntington Arts Council, Arts Westchester, and Arts Center of the Capital Region. The appropriation came as the result of a statewide advocacy campaign organized by Arts NYS, of which ASI is an active member, and members of the New York State Senate. U.S. Sen. Sean Ryan formally announced the funding at a press conference in April 2022.

“This million-dollar appropriation will have a huge impact on the region’s arts industry,” said ASI Executive Director Jen Swan-Kilpatrick. “There are so many groups and artists that are still feeling the effects of the pandemic, and we see this as a chance to rebuild the momentum and energy that the WNY arts scene had prior to 2020. We are grateful to NYSCA, Gov. Hochul, local elected officials, and all of the arts advocates statewide who helped procure this funding.”

Of the $1 million, half will be regranted to organizations and individuals through the SCR program, and the other half will be used to provide professional development training, workshops and other services for the field. The first of these trainings, a series of day-long operating grant workshops for arts administrators, will take place in early February.

ASI has already begun the process of distributing the SCR funding, which takes the form of awards of up to $5,000 for community-based arts projects to nonprofits and individuals in Erie, Niagara and Chautauqua counties. With this appropriation, ASI will have almost twice the typical amount of funding to distribute across the three counties.

“Small grants can make a big impact on local communities,” said ASI’s Grants and Programming Director Holly Grant. “A $5,000 grant might seem small, but it can give an organization the opportunity to launch a new program series or keep an existing program’s admission cost free to the public.”

This year, ASI also fiscally sponsored 18 artists who were chosen to receive a “Support for Artists” award from NYSCA, up from the nine selected last year. Each artist will receive $10,000 for the completion of artistic projects that will allow for significant growth in their development as an artist.

“We’ve seen more and more WNY artists take the leap and apply for one of the most competitive grants in the state,” Grant said. “And it’s paying off.”

"I am very thankful to NYSCA and organizations like ASI for giving me this opportunity and creating similar opportunities for the artist here in WNY,” said grant recipient Muhammad Z. Zaman. “Grants like these allow me to create freely without financial restraint.”

NYSCA “Support for Artists” applications were accepted in the fields of choreography commissions, composer compositions, film and media, folk and traditional arts, interdisciplinary, literature, theater commissions and visual arts. Priority was given to applicants that will use their projects to serve historically underrepresented communities. For 2023, 426 projects were selected for funding.

“The 2023 NYSCA grant comes at a critical time in my career as a media artist, allowing me to continue a life-long media project examining my relationship with my mother and daughter,” grant recipient Dorothea Braemer said. “Holly and ASI have been phenomenally helpful and encouraging throughout the entire application process. This kind of support means the world to us artists!”

The following artists and projects fiscally sponsored by ASI were chosen for funding:

  • Aidan Ryan: “I Am Here You Are Not I Love You”
  • Darci Borgumil: “Floral and Container Garden Design”
  • Dorothea Braemer: “The Stories We Wear”
  • Elena Erokhina: “Dark Tales”
  • Eric Souther: “Spirals of Deep Time”
  • Jalen Law: “Dug’s Dive”
  • Jason Beaudreau: “Moving forward”
  • Ken Ferree: “The Immersive World of Touch Music”
  • Lizzy Hayes: “Pants Role Project”
  • Muhammad Zaman: “Morphing Essence”
  • Nancy Hughes: “Work Life, Life Work”
  • Phyllis Thompson: “Evolving Memories”
  • Sara Zak: “The New York Paintings”
  • Steve Rosenthal: “How Racism Costs Us All”
  • Sukanya Burman: “The Bayadere – Past, Present, and Future”
  • Tara Sasiadek: “The Bandaged Place”
  • Timothy Frerichs: “Waterways”
  • Tom McNulty: “Image & Emotion”

ASI: Where the arts meet business.

Arts Services Inc. (ASI) empowers the region's artists and arts organizations with connections to funding, learning opportunities, and community access to the arts. ASI is a resource hub for the Western New York arts and cultural sector.

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