© 2024 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Arts Groups Await Word on Erie County Funding

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – Dozens of Erie County's cultural organizations are waiting to find out if they will be left out of the county funding mix for the third year in a row. A public hearing Monday night at county hall gave the arts community and others one last chance to persuade lawmakers.

The Giambra Administration proposed restoring cultural funding to the 2004, pre-budget crisis levels. But lawmakers are now looking at cutting some, or all, of that restoration to balance the budget.

Laurie Dean Torrell is Executive Director for the Just Buffalo Literary Center. She says small and mid-size groups have hit the wall.

Arts leaders say they will continue to lobby lawmakers all this week with a flood of calls and letters. Linda Grant is Director of Arts, Culture and Tourism for the county. She said they will argue that the arts are vital to the region's economy.

Lawmakers say they are listening. But Majority Leader Maria Whtye said arts groups are by no means the only ones crying out.

She said lawmakers are working to restore more funding for the libraries, the convention and visitors bureau, probation, the jails and others.

On top of that, lawmakers have to close a roughly $1.5 million hole created because they opted not to approve Giambra's proposed new fees. So, Whyte said there are difficult choices.

Whtye said other areas for possible cuts include about a dozen new jobs, some vacancies, and non-union pay raises. The amended budget will be presented tomorrow, with a vote expected Friday.

Click the "listen" icon above to hear Joyce Kryszak's story now or use your podcasting software to download it to your computer or iPod.