9 January 09 | Chad W. Post

Thanks to the booming economy, Governor Patterson of New York State is having to make cuts to this year’s budget at a number of organizations, including the New York State Council on the Arts. Based on the current proposal, NYSCA would lose $7 million, which, according to the Alliance of NYS Arts Organizations would mean that all grants awarded—but not yet paid out—by NYSCA in October and December would be nullified. This reduction—the second of the fiscal year, thank you very much—will impact over 550 organizations, including ahem Open Letter.

We have two grants that were approved, but are stuck in this fiscal limbo: one to pay Margaret Schwartz for her translation of Macedonio Fernandez’s The Museum of Eterna’s Novel, and the other to support our Reading the World Conversation Series, which brings authors such as Bragi Olafsson, Dubrakva Ugresic, Salman Rushdie, and Umberto Eco to Rochester. Um, great.

As arts organizations across New York lose their funding, I’m glad to report that it looks like the New York Yankees will receive $260 million in tax-free bonds to help cover a stadium cost overrun of $370 million This coming on top of the $942 million they got just a few years ago. All to build a stadium that’s smaller that the former one.

At least both the arts and the Yankees will be reducing their audience base, although it’s ironic that this will happen thanks to one group losing money and the other gaining it.

(And yes, I know that the Yankees’ funding isn’t from the same pot as NYSCA’s, but whatever. They spend $432 million on three players and deserve a bit of bashing, especially considering that all NYSCA is asking for is a measly—in comparison—$7 million.)

If you’re interested in trying to help, the Arts Alliance has organized a special “Action Alert Arts Day” in Albany on Tuesday to lobby against these cuts.

Or you can use this form to send a letter to you legislator.

If you specifically want to help Open Letter, our translators and authors, you can always click on the link below . . .

Man, what a pleasant Friday.


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