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EC Department of Environment & Planning, Greater Buffalo Cultural Alliance begin development of cultural plan


Wed, Jun 12th 2024 06:00 pm

Community input sought on developing plan to incorporate arts & culture into fabric of Erie County life; 3 public meetings scheduled, online community survey activated for public input

Submitted by the Press Secretary to the Erie County Executive

Erie County, in partnership with the Greater Buffalo Cultural Alliance (GBCA), has begun the development of a cultural plan intended to provide a framework for local and external entities to work together to incorporate a vibrant arts and culture sector into the everyday fabric of our community to raise the region's profile.

In 2022, not-for-profit arts and culture spending in Western New York totaled $192 million, generated $381.4 million in economic activity, and supported 8,221 jobs (Western New York Region, Arts & Economic Prosperity 6, Americans for the Arts).

Seeking to embed arts and cultural development more deeply across community sectors (e.g. business, tourism, education, workforce development), the plan will provide guidance on how to promote, encourage and increase support for and output from the region's artistic and cultural assets for a shared future that is flourishing and resilient. Critical to this process will be the plan's ability to ensure and elicit equity, inclusion, collaboration and transparency.

Erie County residents and visitors will be the foundation of the cultural plan's development. Through engaging and collaborative focus groups, community events, surveys and public meetings, the engagement process will capture the stories, culture, feedback and insights of residents and visitors.

To facilitate online engagement, a cultural plan community survey will be available June 17 for anyone to take at erie.gov/CulturalPlan. Physical copies of the survey will be available at libraries and in county offices. Call 716-858-1916 for a copy of the survey.

In addition, three public meetings have been scheduled for in-person participation:

√ Southtowns public meeting – Monday, June 24, from 6-8 p.m. at the Emery Park Ski Lodge (2084 Emery Road, South Wales). Click here for a park map

√ City public meeting – Tuesday, June 25, from 6-8 p.m. at Torn Space Theatre (612 Fillmore Ave., Buffalo) 

√ Northtowns public meeting – Wednesday, June 26, from 6-8 p.m. at Clarence High School Lecture Hall (9625 Main St.). Please park in the rear of the building.

 √ If you cannot attend in person, please join us virtually: Register here (https://shorturl.at/KJCiK) for access to the webinar.

The cultural plan process began with the appointment of a steering committee and an advisory committee. These groups include residents, artists, business owners, and cultural art organization leadership.

Rounding out the plan’s project team are AEA Consulting and Jacques Planning & Consulting Services, who were selected through the county’s RFP process to facilitate this planning work. The consulting team provides a unique combination of national cultural and creative planning experience, community engagement and planning, research, data analysis, and consensus building.

The final cultural plan document will recommend actionable and creative strategies that utilize resources locally, nationally and internationally. The document will be a clear and well-rounded action plan, with a framework for cooperation, and creating and assessing impact.

The cultural plan process is funded, in part, by Erie County, Fund for the Arts, Cullen Foundation, and Fierle Family Foundation through the efforts of GBCA, and a NYS Empire State Development Strategic Planning and Feasibility Study grant.

For more information on the cultural plan, participation, and the plan team, visit https://www4.erie.gov/culturalplan/; on the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning, visit https://www3.erie.gov/environment/; or on the Greater Buffalo Cultural Alliance, visit http://greaterbuffaloculturalalliance.com/about/.

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