Arts conference to discuss post Sept. 11 funding

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In the darkest hours after Sept. 11, the arts helped heal a traumatized nation. Yet that traumatic act of terrorism also inflicted a deep wound on the financial base of the arts in our country.

Recognizing this dilemma, the Alliance of New York State Arts Organizations opted to bring its annual New York State Arts Conference to New York City for the first time in its 27-year history and to place it downtown — at the Marriott Financial Center Hotel 85 West Street — as close to Ground Zero as possible.

“Rebuilding and Recovery: The Arts at Ground Zero” is the theme for the conference which takes place Oct. 17, 18 and 19. Honoring, remembering and looking to the future are on the agenda.

“A violent act of terrorism both revealed to us how important our arts and artists are to our community and damaged the financial base upon which our arts rest,” said a conference spokesman. “The fragile economic basis of arts organizations has been hit hard. Government funds are now needed for defense. As the economy worsens, businesses are cutting their funding for the arts. Individuals, watching their stock portfolios shrink, are less forthcoming to appeals to help the arts. And certain costs such as security and insurance have increased. What is to be done?”

That’s the subject of the 2002 conference.

Kicking off the conference at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 17, will be a screening of “We Are Family: The Making and Meaning of a Song to Heal a Nation,” Emmy award winning director Danny Schecter’s documentary of the recording session organized by famed songwriter/record producer Nile Rodgers to help lift a nation’s spirits after Sept. 1l. Rodgers brought together more than 200 celebrities along with police officers, emergency room doctors and others affected by the tragedy to rerecord his famous song, “We are Family,” as a musical call for tolerance and global understanding. Danny Schecter and Nile Rodgers will speak at the screening.

Following will be two days of workshops and seminars designed to empower those interested in helping arts organizations thrive in this difficult time. Speakers include Commissioner Kate Levin, City Department of Cultural Affairs; Richard J. Schwartz, chairman of the New York State Council on the Arts; Hal Payne, president of the Alliance board of directors; Assemblyman Joseph Morelle (D-Rochester); and many more.

For more information, call Judy Weiner or Pat Berman at 631-298-1234, Alliance of New York State Guide Arts Organizations.

Updated 7:24 pm, October 10, 2011
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