New York allocates $1 million for ArtsWestchester’s ReStart the Arts

ARtsWestchester LogoNew York allocates $1 million for ArtsWestchester’s ReStart the Arts

White Plains, N.Y. (May 7, 2021)—State legislators gathered with ArtsWestchester today to celebrate a $1 million award that will be regranted to arts groups in Rockland and Westchester counties through a new ReStart The Arts Grant Program to be administered by ArtsWestchester to help organizations recover from the COVID-19 pandemic recession.

The $1 million allocation in the 2021-22 state budget will allow ArtsWestchester to establish this new competitive grant program that local organizations can solicit for projects that will help them reopen or resume their programming. State legislators announced the award at the opening ceremony for ArtsWestchester’s Gallery featuring the new art exhibition “Together apART: Creating During COVID,” showcasing the artwork of more than 220 Hudson Valley artists. Today is the first day the White Plains gallery has been open to the public in more than one year.

“Like us, many of our affiliate arts organizations have been dormant for more than a year or they have operated virtually. They now require an enormous—and expensive—effort to reopen,” said ArtsWestchester CEO Janet Langsam. “I’m profoundly grateful to our state legislators for understanding the urgency and need for these resuscitation grants. The new funds will help arts groups restart their public programs and enable arts and culture to make a comeback in the Hudson Valley in 2021.”

A 2020 survey completed by ArtsWestchester found that 87% of responding arts groups reported that they were not faring well through the pandemic and two-thirds of local artists were unemployed. The 2020 national creative worker unemployment rate was estimated at 63%.

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, “It was wonderful to be with ArtsWestchester and CEO Janet Langsam for the reopening of their White Plains gallery today. The Westchester arts community has been hard hit by social distancing and lockdown measures at the height of the pandemic. This is why I, along with my Senate colleagues, fought for $1 million in funding for ArtsWestchester to ensure our local arts community emerges from this pandemic with the resources needed to come back stronger than ever. Today marks the start of that comeback.”

The “ReStart the Arts” initiative in Westchester and Rockland Counties was an effort led by the Affiliate Committee of ArtsWestchester, a group of arts leaders who serve as ArtsWestchester board members.

Says Genia Flammia, Board President of Youth Theater Interactions in Yonkers, “Organizations need to reconfigure and rebuild spaces, rewrite curricula, re-connect with audiences and artists and develop new content and presentation models that responds both to social distancing and social justice.”

Dave Steck, founder and executive director of the Yonkers-based YoFi Fest explains, “Right now there is a critical need for assistance, specifically for Westchester and Rockland Counties arts communities, which represent one of the State’s most artistically vibrant areas outside of New York City.  Westchester and Rockland’s economy cannot recover unless we restart the arts.”

Contact: Ernie Garcia, 914-762-1900

About ArtsWestchester

For more than 50 years, ArtsWestchester has been the community’s connection to the arts. Founded in 1965, it is the largest private not-for-profit arts council in New York State. Its mission is to create an equitable, inclusive, vibrant and sustainable Westchester County in which the arts are integral to and integrated into every facet of life. ArtsWestchester provides programs and services that enrich the lives of everyone in Westchester County. ArtsWestchester helps fund concerts, exhibitions and plays through grants; brings artists into schools and community centers; advocates for the arts; and builds audiences through diverse marketing initiatives. In 1998, ArtsWestchester purchased the nine-story neo-classical bank building at 31 Mamaroneck Avenue which has since been transformed into a multi-use resource for artists, cultural organizations and the community. A two-story gallery is located on the first floor of ArtsWestchester’s historic building on Mamaroneck Avenue.