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Sixty-Five WNY Nonprofits Receive “Expanding Access to Arts Funding” Grants

When it comes to supporting the arts, it’s a challenge that must be supported by all people, organizations, and sectors. The arts is the glue that helps to keep WNY as strong as it has become. It’s the creative bond that ties so many of us together.

As a way to expand and extend funding to more cultural organizations in WNY, the Cullen Foundation has joined with the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) to award 65 ‘Expanding Access to Arts Funding’ grants to nonprofits throughout the WNY community.

“The arts are crucial to the health and wellness of all New Yorkers, and our creative communities are a fundamental driver of our state’s recovery,” stated NYSCA Executive Director, Mara Manus.  “Regrant programs like this one, in which we partner with a local organization to facilitate the grant selection and distribution process, make it possible for NYSCA dollars to reach all 62 NYS counties. We are excited to have worked with the Cullen Foundation this year, and grateful for their stewardship of these funding opportunities that will ensure greater access to arts programming throughout Western New York and serve as a catalyst for positive change.”

The grants have been allocated to a diverse group of awardees throughout NYS, in order to sustain their artistic efforts, while fueling their creative ambitions.

“The expanded eligibility of this special arts funding allowed us to seek a broader group of nonprofit applicants who thought creatively about new, arts-focused programs that will enrich the lives of their clients,”  stated Cullen Foundation President, Florine Luhr. “We’re optimistic that a longer-range outcome of this program will be partnership-driven arts programming targeting new and diverse audiences from the neighborhood level to a larger, regional scale.” 

WSCS Executive Director, Crystal Selk, defines the impact of the grant in helping them achieve their vision of, “… fostering the well-being of the West Buffalo Community by engaging, connecting, and generating possibilities for all people in the community, at every stage and from every walk of life. “

“We are grateful to the Cullen Foundation and the New York State Council on the Arts for their support of our Arts for All program,” Selk stated. “This funding will allow us to bring professional teaching artists from Young Audiences of Western New York into our after-school and teen programs to help our kids explore artistic expression in the areas of fashion, hip hop, dance, and recycled materials art. We strongly believe that all people, and especially young people, benefit from hands-on, long-term art education and we can’t wait to see their creativity flourish.”  

One of the grant recipients, Jetaun Jones – Executive Director/Operations Director of Friends, Inc. at The Dorothy J Collier Community Center – has been immersed in the world of fashion for years. She once owned and operated a fashion boutique on Elmwood Avenue. Now she uses that knowledge to teach Buffalo youth the ins and outs of the fashion industry. These types of grants are instrumental in ensuring that knowledge of this nature flourishes in the WNY community.

 “This grant from NYSCA and the Cullen Foundation allows Friends, Inc. @ Dorothy J Collier Community Center to offer a unique arts program to East Buffalo youth, introducing them to the discipline of fashion and enabling them to discover how art influences fashion,” said Jones. “Our ‘Fashion Camp for Kids’ program will provide participants with a head start in the fashion industry, hone their entrepreneurial skills, and more.” 

The “Expanding Access to Arts Funding” Grant Program is supported by NYS Senator Sean M. Ryan (D-60,) and NYS Assembly Members Jonathan D. Rivera (D-149) and William Conrad (D-140), all of whom attended the grant award event. A full list of the 65 grant winners follows. For more information on NYSCA grants and their regrant programs go to:

Expanding Access to Arts Funding in WNY Grant Recipients 

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