January 2014
CNY Arts
Year in Review

With the close of another year, we at CNY Arts take the time to reflect on 2013 and see what's coming up for 2014.
A Message from Stephen Butler, Executive Director
A Message from Catherine Gerard, Board President
NYSCA Decentralization Program
On My Own Time - 40th Anniversarry
Arts Marketing and Promotion
Michael Harms Theater Festival
The Adventures of Rudolph
Special Thanks
to CNY Arts' Supporters
CNY Arts would not be able to do what we do without the following individuals and organizations:
The 2013 IDEAS Funders: 
Central New York Community Foundation
Cultural Resources Trust
Gifford Foundation
John Ben Snow Foundation
Reisman Foundation
Peter Dunn, Heidi Holtz, Nora Spillane, Jonathan Snow, John Eberle, Bob Falter, Meg O'Connell, Olive Sephuma, Dirk Sonneborn, and all of the foundation staff that have provided valuable insight.
Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney, Deputy County Executive Bill Fisher, Chairman Ryan McMahon, and the Onondaga County Legislature.

NYSCA Executive Director Lisa Robb,  
Leanne Tintori Wells, SLP Program Director, and Arian Blanco, Program Officer.
David Holder and the 
Syracuse Convention and Visitor's Bureau
Carole Brzozowski and 
SU Arts Engage 
Linda Dickerson Hartsock and the Connective Corridor
United Way
And all of our donors, sponsors, volunteers, advisers, and partners too numerous to mention. Thank you all so much.

CNY Arts

NYSCA logo
CNY Arts is supported by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency,

Onondaga County seal

......along with support by Onondaga County and

the IDEAS Collaborative.

CNY Arts


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The Landmark Theatre and Symphoria partnered to bring Video Games Live to Syracuse with the help of an Onondaga County Economic Development Grant.

The heART of the Holidays campaign connected Syracuse audiences with discounts for restaurants, hotels, and the arts.

The Art Association of Oswego received a Decentralization Award for their collaboration with the Migrant Education Outreach Program

ArtRage Gallery received a Decentralization Award
for the video installation
"Rationalize and Perpetuate" by Sandra Stephens.

On My Own Time 2013 Sponsors and Participants

Lead Media Sponsor WRVO Public Media

Gold level sponsor Upstate Medical University

Silver level sponsor Onondaga Community College

Participating Businesses
 Boxcar Press
Community Folk Art Center
County of Onondaga
Entergy Nuclear
L. & J. G. Stickley, Inc.
Liverpool Art Center
Lockheed Martin
Northland Communications
Oswego County BOCES
SUNY Oswego
Syracuse City School District
Syracuse University
United Radio

(From left) Clifford Tsan, Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, Stephen Butler, Deputy County Executive William Fisher, Catherine Gerard

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo brought in Bhutanese youth dancers as a part of the Asian Elephant Extravaganza, a Decentralization awardee and one of the most viewed events on gotocnyarts.org

Over 500 people have viewed the gotocnyarts event page for Roz Chast: Theories of Everything, and Much, Much More, a part of University Lectures

Nottingham High School students present a scene from 
William Shakespeare's
As You Like It
for the 2013
Michael Harms Theater Festival

Jamesville-Dewitt High School students present a scene from 
The Trial by Joe Goldberg 
as part of the 2013 
Michael Harms Theater Festival.

CNY Arts offered commemorative ornaments to celebrate the 35th anniversary production of 
The Adventures of Rudolph!

For more information on how to own one of these ornaments, click here.

From the Executive Director:  2013 A Year in Review


CNY Arts made great strides in 2013 as it continued to serve as a regional arts council for six counties: Cortland, Herkimer, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, and Oswego. We cover 6000 square miles and serve over one million residents as we promote, support, and celebrate Central New York's arts, culture, history, and heritage.


To help guide our efforts we launched a regional assessment process - ENGAGE CNY - that gathered data and feedback through surveys, forums and research. In all we gathered well more than 8000 responses that included: more than 7200 general public surveys, 125 organizational surveys, 525 individual artist/creator surveys, and responses from 500 participants in over 50 forums. Many thanks to our Regional Economic Development Council, and its Co-Chairs CenterState CEO President, Rob Simpson and former Chancellor of Syracuse University, Nancy Cantor for making ENGAGE CNY possible through a $150,000 award.


The incredible response to the surveys was due to the determined efforts of a fantastic Leadership Advisory Council that included 62 community leaders and regional stakeholders and a dedicated Arts Captain Team. The work of these dedicated volunteers was led by four wonderful project co-chairs, Heather Buchman, symphony conductor and professor at Hamilton College, Pam Matt, Executive Director, Mohawk Valley Chamber of Commerce, George Kilpatrick, a media expert and commentator, and Matt Dwyer, Vice President Northland Communications, each of whom we'd like to thank for their efforts. While the Advisors and Arts Captains are too numerous to mention, heartfelt thanks to each and every one for their enthusiastic and essential volunteerism.


In 2014, we will use this research and data to develop implementation strategies that will help transform the arts, culture, history, and heritage industry across the region; this research will also be used to support other crucial agendas that have been determined by the leadership in each of the counties.  Creating collaborations with all the stakeholders ultimately will result in a pro-active Regional Cultural Plan. Already for 2014, CNY Arts has raised an additional $174,000 through the Regional Economic Development Council to focus on promotions and cultural tourism - a cornerstone of any regional arts, culture and heritage industry effort. Many thanks to Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York State Council on the Arts Executive Director, Lisa Robb, the Empire State Development Corporation, and to the Regional Economic Development Council!


Another great development at CNY Arts was the spring 2013 launch of gotocnyarts.org, an online guide to the region's arts and cultural offerings.  This accomplishment was part of the Initiative to Develop and Engage Audiences (IDEAS).  Since the soft launch of gotocnyarts.org last May, over 265 arts, culture and heritage organizations and 130 artists have signed up to use the events calendar, directory and blog. The calendar now receives over 5000 page hits monthly and this online initiative was awarded $10,000 dollars a month for at least a year in free online advertisements through a grant from Google.  Online, print, radio, and television ads, as well as billboard signage throughout the region advertising gotocnyarts.org have helped increase web traffic.  In addition, continued awards from the IDEAS Funders Collaborative in the amount of $226,500 dollars helped fund online calendar and events advertising, project management support, and arts marketing education - all for the arts, culture, and heritage constituents. Many thanks to the IDEAS Funders Collaborative (see left). It's important to note here that the late Kathy Goldfarb-Findling was instrumental in spearheading this project. She was a mentor to CNY Arts, the IDEAS Collaborative, and a linchpin to the work accomplished within our arts and cultural community.  The CNY Arts staff and board will always be extremely grateful for her efforts and good will.


In 2013, Onondaga County arts, culture and heritage organizations were able to apply for Economic Development grants in a new program designed specifically for our field to help increase attendance through tourism and local participation.  These grants were adjudicated and administered by CNY Arts.  A few of the awarded projects were: The Art of Video Games at the Everson Museum that was complemented by Video Games Live, a concert offered jointly by Symphoria and the Landmark Theater, a reconstituted International Arts and Puppet Festival on the North Side produced by Open Hand Theater, and renowned theater artist Mimi Kennedy presenting her one woman show Mimi Kennedy Finds Matilda Joslyn Gage.  For 2014, these economic development grants, along with general operations grants and other project support grants, all at improved levels, are again available to the arts and culture community.  These are all made possible through the vision and leadership of Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney and County Legislature Chairman Ryan McMahon for which we are deeply grateful.  CNY Arts also wants to extend thanks to the entire Onondaga County Legislature for its ongoing support for our industry and to Judy Tassone, Kathy Rapp, and Ways and Means Chair David Knapp who have been especially helpful in providing guidance to CNY Arts and the arts community.


2013 brought important milestones and transitions and here are just a few of all that deserve attention: Symphoria, the region's new symphony celebrated its one year anniversary.  We welcomed new leadership at the Syracuse Opera (Lisa Smith), Landmark Theater (Tom Kazmierczak), Symphoria (Catherine Underhill), and Point of Contact Gallery (Miranda Traudt). Chancellor Nancy Cantor has gone on to Rutgers University leaving behind a decade of work on behalf of arts, culture, especially the Connective Corridor, amongst other community initiatives. The Shineman Foundation, an Oswego-based charitable foundation that identifies arts, culture and historic preservation as focus areas, began service to Central New York under Executive Director, Lauren Pistell. We also must note the transition of Steve Kern, the brilliant Director at the Everson Museum who has brought vision, community spirit and arts professionalism to our region.  He leaves us to go to the Newark Museum of Art, New Jersey's largest museum.  Kudos to the Everson Board for bringing Mr. Kern to Central New York, which has benefited us all.


This coming year, CNY Arts will continue to build upon our recent successes with the help of our dedicated Board of Directors and wonderful staff. Our hard work has earned CNY Arts a second year of REDC funding and the ability to support community grants-to-the-field with funds provided through the New York State Council on the Arts that have increased at every level, including some first time increases since 2008.  We are looking forward to the exciting regional cultural planning process and working with community leaders, arts, culture and heritage groups, and individuals to build an even more successful 2014! Thank you one and all.

Message from the Catherine Gerard, Board President

As we begin 2014, let's not forget the amazing accomplishments of 2013. CNY Arts completed its second year of serving more than six counties with grants, technical assistance, and social marketing services - and our services are even better. Grants totaling more than $1 million were awarded this year, including New York State Decentralization grants, county-funded arts awards, and marketing education scholarships from the IDEAS project, funded by local foundations. Grants application and management are now online. The new calendar has nearly 400 registrants and earned a prestigiousGoogle grant that will broaden its reach. CNY Arts was awarded a second New York State Regional Economic Development grant to strengthen and grow social marketing across central New York through its calendar.


Our community programs, The Adventures of Rudolph (celebrating its 35th year), Michael Harms Theater Festival, and On My Own Time competition and show, have all expanded.  Happy Birthday to On My Own Time, which celebrated its 40th year as a premier program for employees who make beautiful works of art!  Mayor Stephanie Miner and Senator DeFrancisco joined us and Deputy County Executive Bill Fisher read an honorary proclamation from Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney.


Much of our energy was taken by the ENGAGE CNY regional economic development project, led by national consultant Diane Mataraza with an 62-member leadership council. We heard from over 8,000 residents of 6 counties through surveys and 50 public forums. They told us that arts and entertainment are important to their lives and to the vitality of their communities.  This year, we will analyze the responses and bring representatives together to engage in generating new ideas for regional planning.


None of these accomplishments happen without great leadership and staff. The CNY Arts Board has new members that add regional diversity, more arts representation, and participation from important local Foundations.  CNY Arts staff have established themselves as knowledgeable partners for the arts community.  Executive Director Stephen Butler continues to build our local, state, and national reputation as a 21st century arts council with his vision, grants writing, facilitative leadership, and unbounded energy. Finally, none of this would have happened without our partners. Many thanks to regional economic development partners, to Onondaga County executives and legislative leaders, to local foundations, to ENGAGE CNY councils, and to the arts organizations, artists, and community members that are the core of arts and culture on CNY.

NYSCA Decentralization Program

nysca logo white bkgd Throughout 2013, seventy-six arts groups and individual artists completed over 110 concerts, performances, exhibits, festivals, showcases, and more, with the assistance of the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) Decentralization (DEC) Program, administered by CNY Arts in Cortland, Herkimer, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, and Oswego counties. Projects ranged from monthly artists showcases in downtown Cortland; Herkimer students creating glass fused ornaments; a life-like puppet performance in Oswego; live jazz performances in Utica; a youth acting workshop and performance in Oneida; a free video art installation exhibit in Syracuse; and countless free summer concert series throughout the region.


Decentralization regrants support exceptional and accessible projects that promote and increase arts, cultural, history, and heritage activities for the benefit of local communities. Funds are distributed by panels composed of artists and leaders from the communities the projects will serve.


Since July, 133 artists and organizations have applied for the 2014 Community Arts Grants, Individual Artist Commissions, and Artstart Arts Education Grants through our new online grants management system, and 93 outstanding projects have been selected. In the next few weeks, we will announce the complete list of projects that will beautify, entertain, and enlighten your communities in the coming year. We'll keep you updated on the status of these projects!

On My Own Time - 40th Anniversary

Senator John DeFrancisco Addresses the OMOT Reception (photo by Kathe Harrington)
Over 200 people attended the artists' reception for the 40th annual CNY Arts On My Own Time finale exhibit at the Everson Museum of Art this past September. New York State Senator John DeFrancisco, Onondaga County Deputy County Executive William P. Fisher, and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner each spoke in honor of the amateur artists whose works were selected from among the 349 visual art pieces submitted to the program. The artists' family members, friends, and colleagues, and representatives of each participating business also attended in support of the artists.

The finale exhibit was comprised of sixty-nine works of original visual art from a wide variety of media, created by employees of fifteen local businesses and organizations. On My Own Time, a Syracuse tradition developed in 1974, draws on the talents of dozens of employees in Onondaga and Oswego County who are also visual artists as an avocation. Employer participation in On My Own Time is a concrete way to show appreciation of staff members' creativity and to support art and culture in the Central New York community.

On My Own Time 2013 was presented by CNY Arts in cooperation with Everson Museum of Art. A full list of participating organizations can be found to the left. On My Own Time 2014 will soon be under way, with a kickoff scheduled for March 13 at Coleman's Restaurant. The deadline for companies to register for the program is April 1. For more information, visit www.cnyarts.org or contact Kara Greene at 315-935-6005.


Go to laugh, go to reflect, go to be inspired...


With more than 200 events featured each month, a blog, and arts directory with nearly 400 artists and arts organizations and venues, the successful launch of gotocnyarts.org in mid-2013 positions Central New York as a hub of arts and cultural activity. The successful launch of our new online arts and entertainment guide could not have been achieved without the positive involvement of so many artists and arts organizations.


Through a promotional marketing campaign that included social media, print, web, radio, and television advertising, we have been able to shine a spotlight on our arts and cultural community. 450 radio spots and 151 TV commercials featured gotocnyarts.org. Our message was sent through 4 traditional billboards, and 4 digital billboards in high traffic areas that were seen by more 100,000 commuters. We purchased space for 100 print ads for gotocnyarts.org were placed in 10 different print publications. We promoted gotocnyarts.org at various events such as the Woman's Expo, Lights on the Lake, and Sunny 102 FM's Big Mike's Annual Christmas Radio Concert.


These efforts help raise the visibility of our arts and cultural community by showcasing great events available to residents and visitors to our region.  As we plan for 2014, we continue promoting our region and encourage all arts organizations and artists in Herkimer, Oneida, Oswego, Madison, Cortland, and Onondaga County to submit events to gotocnyarts.org to be part of some of the exciting plans we have for 2014.


Funding for gotocnyarts.org's promotional efforts was provided by the IDEAS Collaborative.

Michael Harms Theater Festival
More than 150 students and adults from 4 Central New York high schools and 2 community theater groups gathered at Cayuga Community College in Auburn, NY for the 2013 Michael Harms Theater Festival on Saturday, April 13. Auburn High School, Jamesville-DeWitt High School, the Media Unit, Nottingham High School, Oswego Children's Theater, and Skaneateles High School Drama participated in this year's Festival.

The day was filled with live performances from each group and 20 workshop sessions for the students, which were led by professionals making a living in the arts with extensive experience regionally, in New York City, and beyond. At the closing awards ceremony, two scholarships and 23 awards were handed out for notable performances and technical work. Highest honors went to Auburn High School (Technical Achievement Award), The Media (Award of Excellence: Community Theater), and Jamesville-DeWitt High School (Award of Excellence: High School).

The Michael Harms Theater Festival seeks to foster greater interest in theater work by students and teachers in secondary schools, providing a rare opportunity for students and teachers to display their acting and technical achievement in front of their peers and professional theater practitioners. CNY Arts encourages more schools and theater groups to participate in the Festival, which in 2014 will take place on Saturday, April 12th. To join us, contact Jon Wilson at jonwilson@cnyarts.org or 315-435-2126.

The Adventures of Rudolph
This year's 35th Anniversary production of The Adventures of Rudolph was attended by over 4,000 school students and teachers from 61 schools and organizations, and by almost 1800 individuals at the public performance. Dazzling the young crowd were the energetic and animated student ballet dancers of Dance Centre North under the highly professional direction of Deborah Boughton. Students were captivated by the enchanting story of Rudolph saving Christmas from the evil Witch Winter Grey, ending with Rudolph flying across the stage in flurries of falling snow. Following the show, Executive Director Stephen Butler read a proclamation honoring the anniversary from Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, and presented a plaque to Deborah Boughton for 35 years of excellence.


CNY Arts once again sought donations to our Rudolph Scholarship Fund to help send students in need to the performances at a reduced rate. This year 501 students from 6 schools were assisted through the Fund, an increase of more than 16% over last year! To help replenish the Fund so that we will be able to expose even more children and schools to the arts next year and beyond, visit www.cnyarts.org/rudolphfund. Also take a moment to visit the Adventures of Rudolph Facebook page, where we can post updates, press mentions, pictures and event times.


Thank you to everyone that supported The Adventures of Rudolph in 2013 and we look forward to seeing you again in 2014!!

How to Submit

If you have information on an opportunity or resource available to the local arts community including calls for entry, grants, job postings, workshops, classes, etc., please email
communications@cnyarts.org. Include basic information and a link to where details can be found online or, if no online presence is available, a contact phone number.  The submission deadline is the 20th of each month prior to publication.

Thank you.