2023 Statewide Community Regrant Award Ceremony
Syracuse, New York – On June 8, CNY Arts hosted the annual Statewide Community Regrant (SCR) Award Ceremony. Administered by CNY Arts and in partnership with the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), the SCR program provides grants, technical assistance, marketing, and other services to artists and arts, culture, and heritage organizations throughout Central New York and the Mohawk Valley. The Award Ceremony was held to acknowledge the hard work and creative achievement of the 144 awardees for 2023.
Thanks to a special State Senate Initiative spearheaded by Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and managed by NYSCA, CNY Arts received a $1 million allocation. $510,000 of these funds were redistributed among successful candidates during the 2023 SCR grant cycle. This was a 150% increase in funding typically available for the field.
As a result, more than twice as many artists and art organizations applied compared to previous years, and requests for funding exceeded the total amount available for support. Award recipients represented the six Central New York counties served by CNY Arts, and each received an award in one of three categories: individual artist, teaching artist, or organizational projects.
This year, the SCR Award Ceremony was held virtually, enabling access for all program participants. Guest speakers included several State representatives, including a keynote address by Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins. Other speakers included Assembly members William Barclay, Pamela Hunter, Bill Magnarelli, and Senators John Mannion and Rachel May.
“Thank you to [Executive Director] Stephen Butler and the entire team at CNY Arts for the opportunity to address you virtually today. I’m proud to recognize and congratulate all the grantees and I thank you personally for enriching our communities with your talents,” said Senator Stewart-Cousins. “We are truly fortunate to have a vibrant arts culture in New York State, one that is nurtured from the grassroots level by organizations like CNY Arts. Investments in the arts go beyond cultural enrichment. They generate jobs, stimulate tourism, and contribute to the overall growth of our communities.”
For many SCR recipients, funding will help expand programming, increase commissions, and provide arts-related services and education to their communities. Awardees reflect a variety of creative disciplines, and some are dedicated to the preservation of important heritage sites.
Three award recipients also spoke on behalf of the awardees and used the opportunity to describe the impact and scope of their projects and share examples of their work.
“Thank you to CNY Arts for allowing us to realize our vision,” said Catherine Loomis, Vice President of Community Engagement and Creative Development at ARC Herkimer. “‘Artists Present’ will display pieces of art designed and completed by individuals with and without disabilities. For people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, art is a way to express themselves, show emotion, and connect with others. Our artists developed skills in advocacy, teamwork, and decision-making throughout the process.”
Other grant recipients, like Syracuse native Chantel Frazier, read aloud from her poetry collection titled “Beloved Bruised Orange.” Ms. Frazier’s work was inspired by her experience as a young African American girl growing up on the South Side of Syracuse.
Through her poetry, Ms. Frazier said that she wished to “Shed light on the societal misconceptions surrounding the teenage upbringing of African American students, [and] wash away the idea of a recycled, bruised community, never waking up to their calling of healing themselves.”
In Cortland County, the organization Cortland Area Communities that Care (CATC) worked with photographer Zack Bolton to document the lives and experiences of upstate New York residents affected by the opioid crisis.
“Our work centers on prevention, like youth substance abuse and drug overdose prevention, as well as literacy,” said Sara Watrous, Project Director at CATC. “This work is typically a lot of data and research, and so we just felt really lucky to pursue this project – a project that uses art and storytelling to create community change.”
In a pre-recorded statement during the Award Ceremony, Senator John W. Mannion, who represents parts of Onondaga and Oswego counties, announced that the 2024 New York State budget would also include a second increased allocation to continue support for the SCR Program through the Senate Majority Leader’s second initiative.
“I have been a vocal advocate for increased funding for the arts in New York State,” said Senator Mannion. “I believe that the arts are essential. I am proud to have helped secure $1 million dollars in funding from the State this year, and recently help pass an additional $1 million for next year’s arts regranting efforts.”
During the closing remarks, Mr. Butler expressed his gratitude to NYSCA for their dedication to the SCR program and their support for regional arts councils across New York State. Mr. Butler also shared a message from Mara Manus, Executive Director of NYSCA, congratulating all the awardees.
Formerly known as “Decentralization,” SCR was first devised in 1977 by the New York State Senate and administered by NYSCA. This new redistributive model established a funding stream for the arts sector to each of the State’s counties through a process of local decision-making. Since then, millions of dollars have been redistributed to members of New York’s creative economy. CNY Arts is proud to help administer SCR funding throughout Central New York.
CNY Arts is the regional arts council, promoting, supporting, and celebrating arts and culture in Central New York. CNY Arts provides support and assistance to artists and arts organizations in a six-county Central New York and the Mohawk Valley region through access to grants, capacity-building assistance, education and training, and promotional services.