Follow-up Report: Town Hall Forums on State Budget

In follow up to my earlier post about the town hall forums on the state budget hosted by Assemblymember Richard Gottfried and Senator Thomas Duane.

Check out this  article in ChelseaNow – look for the Pentacle quote!  Aliza

Town Hall Forums to Discuss New York State Budget

A message from Richard N. Gottfried Assembly Member about Town Hall Forums- Go represent the arts!

“Thank you very much for writing to let me know of your opposition to cutting funds for the New York State Council on the Arts.

We should only consider cutting essential services like the arts, health care and education as a last resort. We have been cutting taxes on the wealthiest New Yorkers for years; if we undo just a little of that, we would not have to cut important programs to close the budget gap.

Governor Paterson is seeking massive cuts in the budget for the 2009-2010 fiscal year. I believe we do much more damage than we need to when we refuse to require the wealthiest New Yorkers to pay what for them would be a small amount more. It is good to know I have your support.

Those of us who fight to protect essential programs have an obligation to always speak out for the revenue actions necessary to prevent cuts. If you have not already done so, I encourage you to contact Governor David Paterson at: Executive Chamber, State Capitol, Albany, NY 12224.

I will be hosting a series of town hall forums around my district to discuss the budget issues facing New York State. State Senators Tom Duane and Liz Krueger, and Assembly Members Linda Rosenthal and Brian Kavanagh are joining me in co-sponsoring these forums.

Thurs., Jan. 8, 6:30-8:30
Hudson Guild’s Fulton Senior Center
119 Ninth Ave. between 17th and 18th Streets

Thurs., Jan. 15, 6:30-8:30
Norman Thomas High School
111 East 33rd St. between Lexington and Park Avenues

Thurs., Jan. 29, 6:30-8:30
American Bible Society
1865 Broadway at 61st Street

I appreciate your consideration in writing to me. Please do not hesitate to contact me on any matter that concerns you.

Very truly yours,
Richard N. Gottfried
Assembly Member”

Save the New York State Council on the Arts funding for programs like Pentacle’s Behind the Scenes!

Advocacy info from the Alliance of

New York State Arts Organizations

alertWe need to send a POWERFUL MESSAGE to Albany before January 13 describing the impact of the Governor’s proposed cut of $7 million to the NYSCA 08-09 budget.

Your legislators need to know there will be significant economic losses to the state and to our communities….and it may well include major JOB losses.

Remember, we only have 5 days to make our voices heard in Albany, so do it now. Because on January 13, many of you will travel to Albany to meet with your legislators and we want this message to be there when you arrive.

Click here to send an email to your legislator.

Please forward this message to everyone you know…and don’t know. If our message goes viral again, we will have huge numbers.

The last time we emailed legislators, you sent 14,300 emails to the Governor and your legislators. This time let’s make it 20,000 emails. Numbers matter. Everyone pays attention when enough people speak out.

Send a message today.

Facts you need to know…
2008-09 Budget (current fiscal year ending March 31)

The Governor proposes an additional $7 million cut to the current local assistance (grants) budget. This will eliminate almost all NYSCA funds that have not yet been awarded from the OCTOBER and DECEMBER cycles

  • As a result 573 organizations may not receive any funding…..including those who have general operating support pending.
  • This is the SECOND reduction in the current budget; there was almost a 10% reduction a couple of months ago.
  • The first cut reduced the NYSCA budget from $48.5 million to $45.9 million. The Governor’s second proposed cut will bring the NYSCA budget down to $38.9 million….. a total reduction of 20% from $48.5 million at the start of the current fiscal year.

Promote the use of federal jobs stimulus funds to hire artists to work in schools, community centers and social institutions

A post from Michael Nolan I received through the Association of Teaching Artists:

“Promoting the use of federal jobs stimulus funds to hire artists to  work in schools, community centers and social institutions

An alliance of arts leaders and policymakers in San Francisco convened
in early December to launch a National Campaign to promote the use of
federal job stimulus funds to employ artists to work in public schools
and community centers. The concept has been presented to the Obama-
Biden Transition Team and to Speaker Nancy Pelosi for consideration
under the new Administration’s prodigious Jobs and Growth stimulus

As the President-Elect seeks a potent formula to give the economy a
serious jolt in the current recession, artists of all stripes
represent a cost-effective investment to bring their performing,
visual, and technical talents to a variety of school, neighborhood,
housing, health, corrections and community development settings.

The National Campaign’s proposal draws on the historical precedents of
Roosevelt’s WPA jobs program and the national CETA Arts Program of the
Ford-Carter years. The CETA Arts program was launched in San
Francisco in 1975 and then rapidly spread across the country with the
encouragement of the US Department of Labor, the National Endowment
for the Arts, and many state and local arts agencies.

Particular leverage can be achieved by placing trained artists in
public schools where the President-Elect’s priority for educational
improvement can be advanced while putting more people to work. As
such, hiring artists can be a critical infrastructural investment that
also contributes to social reform. Art forms like music, theater,
dance, mural painting and poetry have demonstrated their ability to
inspire students to delight in learning, and bring children of diverse
economic and racial backgrounds onto collaborative common ground.

The Campaign embraces the concept of a National Green Arts Corps to
provide neighborhoods and community-based artists with the resources,
training and skills to use the arts to help communities express
identity, build community life and create green jobs. As we put
America back to work, rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, artists
have a great deal to contribute to the design, building and animation
of community projects. For example, artists can help to design and
animate elements of community infrastructures such as parks, plazas
and public buildings; offer classes and workshops; collaboratively
create works of public art; and assist in the development of green

Community artists are invariably employed in America’s large nonprofit
independent sector, government’s indispensable ally in providing
critical services through childcare centers, soup kitchens,
environmental and civil rights groups, hospitals, schools, prisons,
cultural centers, and faith-based organizations.

A public service employment program for artists can reach into the
major urban centers and rural areas in all 50 states, promote local
cultural activities and craft industries, invigorate educational
reform, and pass the wisdom and talents of an older generation of
artists to a new one eager to learn and participate in the economic
revival of their home communities. The CETA Arts Program demonstrated
success in transitioning many of these artists into full-time private
sector employment in the theater, fashion, graphic design, film,
animation and entertainment industries.

Arts education also contributes to the economy as high school and
college graduates find employment in arts and entertainment. The
program will also cultivate new and enthusiastic audiences through
participation and attendance at performances and exhibits.

Students will also learn to combine their creative skills with
technology, harnessing the power of the internet and the new Web 2.0
modalities of blogs, video, wikis and the social networks to develop
collaborative learning projects and hone professional marketable skills.

A recent study by the Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE)
found that “integrating art in the literacy curriculum not only
affected student learning, but also improved classroom dynamics and
student behavior.” The CAPE model demonstrates how schools can
improve significantly through arts integration, teacher professional
development, and teacher/artist collaboration. Similar programs
across the country have produced similar results using professional
artists in the schools, community centers and a variety of social

In the coming weeks, the National Campaign will be engaging artists
and arts advocates in all 50 states in the elaboration of this
proposal and building a broad-based constituency to promote its
adoption by the new Administration and Congress.


Enthuse your local arts agency and Member of Congress that this is a
splendid economic and educational us of the federal jobs stimulus
funds. Reach them when they’re home in the district.

Join the Facebook or LinkedIn Groups for the “National Campaign to
Hire Artists to Work in Schools”, join in the lively discussion and
encourage other artists, arts educators and advocates to join as well.

Monitor policy developments, Cabinet and federal agency appointments
by the new Obama Administration. See whom you may know on the House
Education & Labor Committee or the Senate Health, Education, Labor,
Pensions (HELP) Committees..

Consider joining a delegation in Washington to visit the Obama
Transition Team and Congress in January to express our point of view.

Vote for our Campaign in the Idea contest for, using button
to your left.

Learn how you can contribute financially to the Campaign. Write or
call Michael Nolan
at or 415-282-9043″

Pentacle Educational Programming Interns

intern-pic3 We are both dance majors at Barnard College and are    on the board of Orchesis, Columbia University’s largest dance group. Our experience in Orchesis had taught us about all the effort and planning that must go in to producing a show. Each semester we must audition choreographers and dancers, secure rehearsal and performance spaces, plan, market, and tech our show. When we took over as the new board in the spring semester 2008, it seemed like a daunting task. But once we became familiar with the process and the language of administering an event, we were much more confident and comfortable in these leadership roles. This is essentially the kind of learning experience that Pentacle provides for high school students through the Behind the Scenes Program. It is an invaluable opportunity for us to be able to help make this kind of experience possible for young dancers. Over the past few months, we have gotten to know Pentacle’s Behind the Scenes program and the work that goes into creating a enriching arts-education program. We spend most of our interning hours in the office, working on development research and curriculum planning-developing games, worksheets, and materials to engage students.  But, for Caroline, the work really took on new meaning when she was able to visit the schools and see the program in action.

Caroline: One Friday this semester, I went to Washington Irving High School to observe dance class and participate in programming discussions with Aliza, the school’s dance teacher, and Pentacle’s Career Mentor.  We arrived halfway through the dance class and the students were buzzing with energy and practicing their salsa dance.  After spending so much time in the office working on the administrative side of Behind the Scenes, I was struck by the spirit and enthusiasm of the actual students for whom this program is designed. Pentacle won’t begin working with this group of sophomores until after the New Year, but getting the opportunity to meet them brings new meaning to the small things I do to help make their understanding of the dance world a little fuller.  In a few short hours I came to understand what it means to tailor curriculum and teaching methods to a specific group of students. It seemed to me that this class was just embarking on its studies in dance, but also that they showed enormous potential. They truly deserve to experience the challenges and rewards of dance, choreography, and show production that Pentacle can help provide, and I am happy to do my small part and contribute to that.

Ally: My biggest and most lengthy project this summer resulted from the decision to rework the Behind the Scenes board-game. The students create a fictional event, then as they travel around the board, they can acquire staff, collaborators, space, money, donations, and volunteers as well as encountering some set backs. In preparation for the show they must organize later, students learn not only all of the tasks that must be accomplished but the number of people and amount of money it takes to do so. The game is an important introduction for students to the number of tasks that must first be accomplished in order to put on a show as well as the many people that contribute to a single event. As such, it is important that the game be concise and clear. Synthesizing all of these elements, however, was not an easy task and making it interesting to students was even more difficult. I can only hope the students were able to learn as much from playing the game as I did from making it.

I’m heading to London next semester to study art history. But after my internship experience here, I’m leaving with a deep appreciation for the services they provide for artists of all ages. At the end of the program, students in the Behind the Scenes program will be able to experience that wonderful sense of accomplishment as the curtain closes on their own show that Pentacle helped make possible-I am proud to have played even a small role in this.

Ally Duffey, Barnard class of 2010

Caroline Walthall, Barnard class of 2011