Marketing and the Arts

ENAGE, the regional assessment and cultural planning process undertaken by CNY Arts in 2013-14, provided much research and useful information about the challenges faced by arts, culture, history, and heritage organizations, as well as perceptions of the general public, in Cortland, Herkimer, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga and Oswego counties.


For instance, of the 111 cultural organizations that fully participated in the ENGAGE agency survey, fully one third reported having no funding for marketing and promotion. That means no designated staff person and no promotional budget. And of the 119 organizations who identified their top three priorities, "increasing effectiveness of collaborative marketing, messaging and promotion" and "increasing my organization's visibility both inside and outside the six-county Central New York region" were tied for first place.  365 individual artists responded with similar top priorities, asking for help with marketing and promotional assistance, first and foremost.


And in focus groups, the stories we heard were often about why marketing support is a growing need... that during the economic downturn, organizations were understandably reluctant to cut programming, and so cuts were made to administration, marketing, and fundraising. This reduction in capacity has made it difficult for organizations to earn revenue. And without that earned revenue, organizations are struggling to rebuild and capture an adequate share of the market to support their cultural offerings.  In total, organizations surveyed allocated 8% of their budgets to marketing and promotion, as opposed to 78% on programming.  A financial allocation framework developed by the Nonprofit Finance Fund (since the Great Recession) emphasizes the importance of a balance between mission, program, capital, and capacity. Strength in one area cannot compensate for weaknesses in another. All are important.


In the meantime we learned from the over 6000 public opinion survey responses that:

  • the public is very interested in participating in arts and culture (67% "very interested")
  • the public believes that it is easy to find out about arts and cultural activities (59% "easy" or "very easy")
  • BUT when asked, they said they only know a little about arts and culture activities taking place (52% "I know a little")

This disconnect between valuing arts and culture, believing it's easy to find out about, but then not knowing very much about the arts in their area is revealing... our messaging must be much, much stronger to get through. Having this information gives our industry an opportunity to strategize collective solutions that benefit organizations, individual artists and potential audiences.


CNY Arts is working actively to address this important priority. Others are working on it, too, and we are either partnering with these entities seeking to partner with them. We'll share some of these strategies with you next month. In the meantime, if you have strategies and ideas that would help marketing efforts, particularly collaborative marketing, we'd really like to hear from you! Contact me at

Steve Butler
Executive Director
CNY Arts
421 Montgomery Street
Syracuse, NY  13202

CNY Arts is supported by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency,
nysca logo white bkgd
with support from the
County of Onondaga,
Onondaga County seal
the IDEAS Collaborative
dasherDasher's Magical Gift Updates!
Dasher's Magical Gift
Onondaga County Civic Center
Saturday, December 13, 11am

Tickets are NOW ON SALE and moving quickly for the public premiere performance of Dasher's Magical Gift! You can purchase tickets in person, over the phone, or on the web. Click here to purchase tickets and for more information.

Don't miss your chance to be a part of what's sure to be a Central New York holiday tradition for years to come. 

Indiegogo Update!
We're 14% of the way to our goal with just over two weeks left! Your support helps make Dasher an unforgettable experience for audience and dancers alike, and allows us to keep the experience affordable for budget conscious families and schools.

Share this link on Facebook and Twitter to help us spread the word to other supporters of arts in education:
OMOTThe 41st Annual On My Own Time Reception
There is still time to see CNY Arts' 41st annual On My Own Time finale exhibit, which will be hosted at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse through November 16. On display are 74 original pieces of visual art, the final adjudicated selections from 17 exhibits held at participating businesses this spring and summer. 199 employees who are artists 'on their own time' submitted 464 works to the program this year.

This exhibit is worth a visit! You will find inspiring and unusual creations in a large variety of media, such as metal work, fiber art, sculpture, water color, acrylic, glasswork, ceramic, oil, ink, wood work, and photography. A complimentary catalog will be available at the exhibit, featuring participating companies and artists and photos of some of the art pieces. Many thanks are due to our participating company sponsors, company coordinators, the Everson Museum of Art, and everyone who contributed their time and effort to this year's program!

On My Own Time was created in 1974 by CNY Arts in cooperation with the Everson Museum of Art, to encourage local businesses, nonprofits, government, and civic organizations to identify, celebrate, and promote creativity among employees who are also artists 'on their own time'. Partnerships like these help the business and arts sectors in Central New York to discover that many of their goals overlap, and demonstrate how they can promote these mutual interests with shared projects. On My Own Time 2015 launches this coming March. To get more information on how your business can become involved, please visit, or contact  Kara Greene at  435-2162 or

Gold Level Sponsors: Upstate Medical University and WRVO Public Media

Silver Level Sponsors: Onondaga Community College and Syracuse City School District

Bronze Level Sponsors: Boxcar Press, City of Syracuse, Community Folk Art Center, County of Onondaga, Crouse Hospital, Entergy Nuclear, L. & J. G. Stickley, Inc., Liverpool Art Center, Lockheed Martin, Northland Communications, O'Brien & Gere, Onondaga Community College, SUNY Oswego, Syracuse City School District, Syracuse University, United Radio, and Upstate Medical University.

artsgrants2015 Arts Grants from CNY Arts
Grant Deadline Coming Up!

Available Program:

Purpose: To support the role arts and culture plays in engaging K-12, public school students in rich artistic learning experiences
Who May Apply: Nonprofit organizations and individuals either partnering with an eligible school or fiscally sponsored by an eligible nonprofit organization 
Application Deadline: November 17, 2014 at 4pm

The deadline for Community Arts Grants and Individual Artist Commissions has passed. Thank you to all who applied. 
lossesLosses in the Central New York Arts Community
The Central New York arts communities mourn the loss of two beloved individuals in the past month. Our community is stronger for their efforts. Our sincere condolences go out to their friends, families, and all of the people whose lives they touched.

Christine Lightcap died Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014. She was the founder and president of The Talent Company and produced more than 200 shows and appeared in more than 150 shows, including off-Broadway and national tours. She was born in Syracuse and graduated from Syracuse University.

Ted E. Davenport, of Skaneateles, died Nov. 3, 2014. Ted  helped to develop the Skaneateles Dickens Christmas. Friday nights in the summer he could be heard announcing the Skaneateles Community Band concerts in the park through 2013. Before and after his retirement in 1995, he wrote books, plays and poetry. He was involved in more than 400 productions including acting in the Central New York theatres and started an improvisational dinner theater group.
hoursCNY Arts Holiday Hours
The CNY Arts office will operate with limited services for three days in November in recognition of Veteran's Day and Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 11 - Dasher Box Office Closed
Thursday, November 27 - CNY Arts Office & Dasher Box Office Closed
Friday, November 28 - CNY Arts Office & Dasher Box Office Closed
CNY Arts Newsletter Submissions
CNY Arts encourages all readers to share arts news and opportunities of regional relevance with us at Newsletters are typically published the first week of each month. We are always on the look out for job opportunities in the arts, calls for entry, requests for proposals, grant opportunities, volunteer opportunities, newcomers to (and passings from) our community. 

Please note, our policy is not to share arts event information in our newsletter. Arts event information should be submitted to Click here to learn more about that process.

We also only share RFP's and Calls for Entry where artists have an opportunity to earn income,  through stipends, salaries, or sales.
Opportunities and Resources for Artists and Organizations
(email to submit)

Artist in Residency - Sculpture Space

Deadline December 31, 2014

Sculpture Space has an open call for its artist in residence program. Depending on funding, eighteen to twenty residents are selectively chosen each year for a two-month residency with a stipend of $2,000 awarded to offset costs.

Details and applications can be found on the Sculpture Space website.


Calls for Entry - View

View seeks submissions from artists working in photorealism, hyperrealism, surrealism or any other trompe l'oeil techniques that makes the viewer take a second look, appears initially unbelievable or even mundane upon first glance, but reveals something extraordinary through the mastery of illusion. The exhibition is open to all media except for sound, video, and film. The winner will be awarded a solo exhibition at View during the winter of 2016. Deadline to apply is December 14, 2014.


The Salt District of the Near West Side  
Inexpensive home/studio ownership opportunities for artists.  Please click here to visit the website.

Syracuse First can always use volunteers. Call for more information (315.396.6418) 
Salt CIty DISHES is currently soliciting proposals for their next DISHES dinner event, taking place on Sunday, February 8th, 2015!  If you are interested in pitching your idea on stage for a chance to win $1,000, submit your proposal today! To fill out an application, please visit or follow this link - Request for Proposals.



The New York State Literary Tree - Resources for writers in New York State. - A resource sharing website, administered by the Rosamond Gifford Foundation, for Central New York nonprofits and businesses.

Oswego Arts Collaborative - a local service and advocacy organization whose mission is to be a catalyst for the economic development and sustainability of visual and performing arts, is compiling a list of artists and arts organizations interested in strengthening the cultural life of Oswego County. All artists, groups and residents interested in receiving regular information about the Collaborative and its initiatives or in taking part in the mission of the Collaborative are asked to email
For a comprehensive listing of artist workshops and classes in your area,