Supporting the arts drives CNY economy, improves quality of life – Event Starting September 2018

Onondaga County works hard to promote its lakes and parks, plus secure job opportunities to attract and retain residents and a creative workforce. Tourism initiatives have made Syracuse one of the top places to live in the state, according to U.S. News & World Report. The arts and entertainment industry plays a key part in this.

For events in your area staring in September 2018 visit:

Central New York's Arts and Entertainment Calendar

This industry not only enhances a community's culture and improves quality of life, it serves as an economic driver. Investment in the arts supports full-time jobs, household income and generates tax revenue to local and state governments. There has been evidence of how local support of the arts has strengthened the economic vitality of Syracuse and Onondaga County at large.

In 2018, once again, there will be a Tourism & Economic Development Grant Program made possible by the leadership of Onondaga County and supported by the majority of the Legislature. Created five years ago, this program is managed by CNY Arts and greatly impacts Onondaga County.

In 2017, $100,000 was distributed among arts organizations that were able to leverage other funds to create programs that attract out-of-town and local audiences, benefiting quality of life and local economic vitality.

For instance, based on a formula derived through the 2012 Economic Impact Study developed by Le Moyne College in conjunction with Americans for the Arts, the awardees for this cycle are estimated to have generated at least $1,856,820 economic impact on the County of Onondaga, while hosting over 68,415 audience members. Almost one-third of these were visitors to Onondaga County.

This report also determined that in the greater Syracuse area, an audience member additionally spends an average of $21.66 (residents) or $37.57 (non-residents) on event-related spending (such as going out to dinner, coffee and dessert, hotels). Programming that attracts visitors from out of the county brings new dollars to the table that could have been spent elsewhere.

Grant recipients include four Syracuse-based nonprofits, including Everson Museum of Art, which received $30,000 for its first "Ceramics Symposium and Exhibition," which coincided with its exhibition "From Funk to Punk: Left Coast Ceramics." The symposium welcomed 62 registrants, 53 percent of whom traveled from outside of Onondaga County to attend. "From Funk to Punk" attracted more than 6,000 visitors in two months.

Redhouse Arts Center's $20,000 went toward its City Center marketing campaign and "The Little Dog Laughed" production. The direct mail campaign included more than 30,000 out-of-area households to inform them of their expansion into a new downtown facility.

Symphoria's "Fourth of July Concert" at the Lakeview Amphitheater welcomed an audience of over 5,000 from across the region and the "Video Game Music Concert" at the Landmark Theatre received $25,000. Thanks to the funding, the organization can continue to provide more and diverse programming, while strengthening collaborations with local businesses.

Syracuse Stage's holiday production of "The Wizard of Oz" received $25,000. This allowed Syracuse Stage to promote sensory-friendly performances and their Ruby Red Slippers Ball, a New Year's celebration. Twenty-four percent of the show's 23,000 patrons were from outside the county.

The Tourism & Economic Development Grant Program was developed by Chair of the Onondaga County Legislature, Ryan McMahon. "Onondaga County continues to invest in cultural organizations and economic development projects that will ensure we are attracting new businesses and visitors while providing our residents with the arts and cultural opportunities they desire," said McMahon.

The Tourism & Economic Development Grant program supports promotional and marketing projects, allowing arts organizations to implement new community engagement initiatives to deepen, broaden or diversify their audience.

In addition to the economic development program developed by the Legislature, each year County Executive Joanie Mahoney has been a strong advocate for arts organizations, requesting in the Executive budget presentation a dedicated funding stream for arts, culture and heritage that is derived from the hotel room and occupancy taxes paid by visitors to the county.

"We are incredibly grateful to Onondaga County's leadership for their continued interest and support of the arts, culture and heritage sector," said CNY Arts executive director Stephen Butler. "The organizations and programs selected this year offer a unique cultural and entertaining experiences for families and visitors to Syracuse and Onondaga County."

CNY Arts also awarded $86,000 in project support grants to 31 organizations throughout the county. Awards ranging from $500 to $1,000 were awarded to diverse organizations including Civic Morning Musicals, Juneteenth, Clear Path for Veterans, Wacheva Cultural Arts, Armory Square Association and Syracuse Poster Project. Decisions were made based on artistic merit, collaboration and benefit to the community by a peer panel of community members and arts professionals.

For more information about the 2018 grant programs and past grant recipients, visit the CNY Arts website,

Story by: Christopher Malone

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