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Artpark developing master plan for a better future


There is a new Artpark on the distant horizon, with better finances and changing geography.

Time has changed the look of Artpark - and not for the better. Created from a debris pile left over when the Niagara Power Project was built in the 1950s, the Lewiston cultural attraction had a rich birth, troublesome adolescence and is now looking forward.

Artpark is creating amaster plan, with that ready in about six months. Executive Director Sonia Clark said that is when the engineering and estimating work starts, to figure out what change will cost and how long it will take.

Credit Artpark

"What construction we're going to undertake first and how much that's going to take is going to come at a later stage and defined in phases," Clark said. "It is likely we will come up with one large number that over next 20 years, we anticipate spending such and such number, which I'm not prepared to name yet."

She said the need for some changes is apparent, like better connections to adjacent neighborhoods and better visibility to the stage from the outside.

"The stage itself, the outdoor stage, what we call amphiteater is angled in such a way that a large portion of our audiences do not see the stage," she said. "So there's a way to improve the sightlines by redirecting the stage, for example. There's a better way to connect Artpark with the village, Lewiston Village and the community around it."

However, more grants have improved the financial picture.

"There's a balance that can be achieved and we are already on our way there," Clark said. "Through literally new grant applications, we are now supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, NYSCA, New York Council on the Arts and so many other foundations that never supported us before. So we doubled, more than doubled, this year. We're going to be close to triple the contributed revenue as when I found them in 2015."

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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