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Another post with no photos - this just in from St. Lawrence County Arts Council:

We're telling all our friends in the arts that Governor Patterson is still planning to cut $7 million dollars from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) from the remainder of the 2008/09 budget. This proposed cut is located in the "Deficit Reduction Plan", attached to the '09/10 budget.

If this cut goes through it will have a severe effect on the SLC Arts Council and many other arts organizations around the North Country. This cut would slash the remainder of NYSCA's funds for the 08/09 year, so organizations that were waiting for decisions on grants would receive
zero funding for those grants. This will severely hurt many arts projects, programs, and operating budgets across NY State in 2009.

Over 600 organizations statewide will be hurt by this decision. In the North Country fifteen organizations were expecting funding decisions in October or December. (See list below).

In the case of the St. Lawrence County Arts Council our request for $39,000 for a general operating support grant for 2009 is in jeopardy. Without these funds we will have a very difficult year and may have to limit the services and programs we are able to provide. This, in turn, will have a negative effect on all the artists, organizations, and individuals we serve.

We are asking everyone who cares about the arts in New York and in the North Country to Speak up for the Arts! Tell your legislators that arts organizations and cultural services in our region are an essential part of our daily life. The arts are key to the economic development and vitality of our communities. The Governor's proposed cut to NYSCA would have immediate and profound negative effects on jobs and services here in the North Country.

Please speak up for the arts! We need your voice.

Hilary Oak
Executive Director
SLC Arts Council

From my letter to Gov. Patterson in October:

Dear Governor Paterson and staff,

Thank you for providing a simple way to contact you regarding this issue.
I am writing because I am very distressed to learn about the proposed budget cuts to NYSCA this year. If this proposal goes through, it will directly and negatively affect my family's ability to get by financially and will have a tremendous negative effect on many people in our region.
I work one day a week at the SLC Arts Council as the class coordinator. My income is quite small but very important as my husband's position at BOCES was cut last year and he is now working part time as a pre-GED instructor. If NYSCA's budget is cut, our organization will lose valuable funding that allows us to pay support staff and run community programs, like the arts classes that I schedule. I will lose my job.

With my job gone, no one will be around at the Arts Council to contact teachers, manage the classroom schedule and distribute publicity about our class offerings. Our community arts teachers will lose the income ($30.00 per teaching hour) they have been enjoying as teachers. For most of our arts teachers, this income is "extra" on top of pay from a regular job or supplement to a spouse's income but it is often the little extra that helps them get by at the end of the month.
The children and adults who attend our classes will miss out the enriching atmosphere of our classes. We have over 30 teachers who offer a tremendous variety of classes in multiple disciplines including watercolor painting, guitar, jewelry making, textile arts, drawing, harmonica, photography and a multitude of childrens' classes. These classes are much more than the crafty "make and takes" that people can participate in at a local Michael's or Joanne fabrics. These are two to three hour long sessions where students are taught and guided in a small group atmosphere by experts in their field. More than one former student has gone on to start their own successful small business based on skills and passions they discovered in our classroom.

In my own family, the results of NYSCA cuts could be devastating. With my job gone, our family may be forced to turn to government agencies to meet our financial needs this year. If the SLC Arts Council is forced to close its doors, I will lose my most important local market for my handmade wearables. The loss of that small cash flow would make it very difficult to sustain my new online venture selling my work and handmade jewelry supplies online.

I know that things are difficult everywhere but please understand that the Upstate economy is incredibly fragile. The proposed NYSCA cuts will affect 15 different arts organizations in Upstate NY in much the same way that they will affect the SLC Arts Council. Real families will lose important sources of income. Arts organizations will lose support staff that perform valuable service in their communities. Artists, teachers and performers will lose opportunities to earn their living through the performances, classes and exhibitions that these support staff manage. Children and adults in our communities will miss out on enriching and potentially profitable arts related experiences.

These jobs and these experiences are not expendable. They are essential to the social and economic well being of our region. The return within our communities on the investment for funding NYSCA is immeasurable. Please do not cut NYSCA's budget. If you do, it truly will be a cold and cheerless winter for the North Country.

Thank you.
Virginia Burnett

The following organizations in Upstate will be hurt if those funds are cut:

In Clinton county:
North Country Cultural Center for the Arts
Hill and Hollow Music
In Essex county:
Adirondack Film Society
Arts Council of the Northern Adirondacks ( Essex Arts Council),
Essex County Historical Society
In Franklin county:
Akwesasne Cultural Center
Franklin County Historical and Museum Society
Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks
In Hamilton county:
Adirondack Historical Association
Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts
In Jefferson county:
Jefferson County Historical Society
In St. Lawrence county:
St. Lawrence County Arts Council
WSLU-FM - North Country Public Radio

You can go to these sites to read more information about Gov. Paterson's Budget and to voice your opinion.




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