Boro Beat: Boro arts groups need to get it while they can

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At a time when government budgets are tight, often it is the arts that is the first to suffer.

In Queens and throughout the country, public and private arts institutions are supported by a variety of levels of government aid. From the City Council to the state Legislature to the federal government, millions of dollars are handed out in direct or indirect funding to arts groups.

An example of indirect funding would be through an organization such as the Queens Council on the Arts and its regrant process that disburses government funds to local artists and arts groups.

Direct funding can come from a variety of sources — individual legislator’s member items funds, state arts grants, local arts grants and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Every year the NEA hands out millions of dollars to arts groups throughout the country. There are two rounds of funding for the arts endowment, and the NEA announced last week the recipients of funding for the latest round.

The NEA has released $66 million in the form of 903 grants nationwide ($7.7 million of which paid for 191 grants in New York state) in the second round of fiscal year 2003 funding.

It is a pleasure to see that with all that is being done to trim government spending, one item not hit hard for fiscal year 2004 is NEA grant funding. The total pool available to artists will be $117.48 million, an increase of $1.74 million from fiscal year 2003.

In the current round of funding, 13 Queens-based groups were given NEA awards in the categories of access, arts learning, heritage/p­reservation and leadership initiative.

The following are Queens groups awarded grants for access, arts learning and heritage/p­reservation. There were also awards that were given for creative projects.


American Museum of the Moving Image: $15,000

To support three curated film series. “World Film Showcase,” “Sound and Silents: Films in Two Versions” and “New York Film Critics Series” will include screenings of more than 50 films and appearances by filmmakers and critics.


Queens Museum of Art: $75,000

To support the exhibition Down the Garden Path: Artists’ Gardens Since 1960, with accompanying catalog and education programs. The project is a collaboration with the Queens Botanical Garden and the New York City Parks Department.

Queens Museum of Art: $30,000

To support the touring exhibition Joan Jonas: Performance Installations, with accompanying catalog and education programs.

Queens Theatre in the Park: $30,000

To support the Latino Cultural Festival and the year-long Latino Cultural Series. The festival and series, a three-week summer event, will feature music, dance, theater, film and family programming.

Queens Theatre in the Park: $10,000

To support the International Movements Project, a new annual commissioning initiative. Mexican choreographer Alicia Sanchez will choreograph a new work.

Fresh Meadows

Tung Ching Chinese Center for the Arts: $15,000

To support the 12th anniversary of the Traditional Chinese Theatre Festival. The celebration will focus on Beijing, Shaoxing and Cantonese styles of Chinese opera.


Queens Symphony Orchestra, Inc.: $22,500

To support an audience development project presenting subscription concerts throughout the borough. The decentralization plan will mirror the enclaves of Queens, one of the most ethnically diverse counties in the nation.

Jackson Heights

Community School District 30: $50,000

To support expansion of Local Learning. In partnership with City Lore and PS 11 in Queens, a number of community-based artists will work as artists-in-residence with students from the second through sixth grades.

Long Island City

Isamu Noguchi Foundation Inc.: $5,000

To support the conservation treatment of large-scale stone sculptures by Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988). Several of the works were recently relocated to the museum from the artist’s studio in Japan.

Museum for African Art: $40,000

To support the touring exhibition Material Differences in African Art, with accompanying catalog and education programs.

Museum of Modern Art: $35,000

To support the design and production of a site-specific architectural installation at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center. The project will create a public venue and provide critical exposure to emerging architects and designers.

Sculpture Center, Inc.: $12,000

To support In Practice, an exhibition series for under-recognized sculptors. Artists, selected from an open call by a committee of artists and curators, will be provided with an honorarium and fees for materials so that they can create new work.

Socrates Sculpture Park, Inc.: $40,000

To support a residency and exhibition opportunity for sculptors to realize large-scale work at a riverfront park in an industrial neighborhood. Artists are provided with access to space, facilities, materials, equipment, technical assistance and a stipend.


Shu Fang Qi Peking Opera: $25,000

To support the Third Annual Chinese Peking Opera Arts Festival. The opera company is planning two programs designed to attract recent immigrants and college students at Hunter College, as well as a Broadway audience at The New Victory Theatre.

Of course, government funding is only a slice of the pie that makes up arts funding. Groups sell memberships, tickets and other booster items to help raise funds. They also have corporate and private endowments — but those are few and far between for smaller groups.

Since arts funding outside of the NEA’s grants may be down at other governmental levels, the need for local support is stronger than ever. If there is an artist or arts group that you did not see on this list, odds are they may need some help. (The same also applies to those who did gain NEA awards. Let’s face it — the arts needs more money in general.)

For more information on how you can help Queens arts groups, contact them directly or call the Queens Council on the Arts for more information at 718-647-3377.

Posted 7:06 pm, October 10, 2011
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