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State arts funding down by 10 percent

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The New York State Council on the Arts gets $31.6 million to spread around across the entire state this year — a number down $3.55 million from last year, and arts organizations in Queens can expect to take their proportional shares of those cuts as they apply for the council’s competitive grants.

“My advice is to assume you’re going to get 10 percent less than you did last year,” said Norma Munn, chairwoman of the New York City Arts Coalition.

Munn said she expects to see that flat rate applied across the board to organizations applying to fund their programs through multi-year grants. Organizations that apply for general project support, however, may see their funding disappear as the state council consolidates fields such as dance or music.

She added that the city Department of Cultural Affairs gives out much larger and more grants to organizations in the city than the state does.

Institutions such as schools that saw cuts in both NYSCA and state Education Department funding will be hit especially hard.

“The largest area is going to be arts education, because it gets cut on both ends,” said Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer, executive director of the Queens Council on the Arts.

Kathy Giaimo, administrative director of the Thalia Spanish Theatre Co. in Sunnyside, said the new cuts will be compounded on top of the 11 percent cut the theater had last year.

“We’re offering one less production each year and we’re hiring fewer performers. We haven’t given any raises to our staff in three years,” she said. “Everything keeps going up except our funding.”

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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