Awards Include Money for Cattaraugus County Arts Council Staffer

By Daniel Meyer

Funding awarded to entities located across the state as part of New York’s State of Opportunity campaign should spearhead efforts to encourage economic development throughout Western New York, including here in Cattaraugus County.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Council initiative, known as the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council, was awarded a total of $83.9 million that will be used for 125 different projects whose purpose is to build on the region’s assets and help encourage investment.

Western New York’s strategic plan for utilizing the funding leverages the region’s strategic advantages in key industry sectors that include advanced manufacturing, agriculture, bi-national logistics, energy, health and life sciences, higher education, professional services and tourism. The plan emphasizes economic development in an effort to promote smart growth, prepare the workforce and foster a culture of entrepreneurship.

One of the awards includes money to be used by the Cattaraugus County Arts Council to fund a new, full-time staff position, with CCAC recently announcing that Ardyth Van Scoy will serve as their education coordinator beginning next month.

“I am pleased that CCAC has been awarded this grant, which will help support the salary of this full-time position for the next two years,” said Tina Hastings, executive director of the Cattaraugus County Arts Council. “The award demonstrates the importance of arts and culture to the economic health of the region.”

Van Scoy joined CCAC last year as a part-time AmeriCorps member before eventually taking on the responsibility of managing the Southern Tier Biennial. Her new position will allow her to commit herself full time to CCAC and help focus on the success of their education programs, as well as play a vital role in the management and promotion of their Art on Main consignment store. Van Scoy will continue to manage the Southern Tier Biennial and work closely with Wayne Claypatch, recipient of 2015 Southern Tier Biennial Best of Show honors, for his solo exhibition that he is planning to reveal in 2016.

“Many of our programs, including the Community Arts and Pottery Studio, are created to support artists by offering teaching opportunities and sales opportunities through the Art on Main store,” says Hastings. “CCAC will continue to support artists of all genres as we grow. This new position will be integral to our continued success.”

CCAC applied for funding earlier this year through the Consolidated Funding Application as part of the state’s Regional Economic Development Council. Like many other similar organizations from across the state, Hastings and her team at CCAC have been eagerly awaiting the announcement that they had been awarded the funding, which totaled $27,750. Administered through the New York State Council on the Arts, that funding will now allow CCAC to restructure staff positions to maximize resources.

As a result, Courtney Mealy, who currently serves as the CCAC’s programs and grants manager, will transition into a new position that will be titled assistant director.

“Courtney will pass the responsibility of the Community Arts and Pottery Studio to Ardyth but will continue to administer a very successful NYSCA Decentralization Program for Allegany, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties,” explained Hastings. “In addition, her new role will include assisting with organizational development that will help position the organization for the future.”

Governor Cuomo launched the Regional Economic Development Councils and the Consolidated Funding Application in 2011 to provide each region with the tools to create and implement their own roadmap for economic prosperity and job creation. The community-based model uses local assets to drive local economic growth and has resulted in unprecedented partnerships and collaboration that are building a reinvigorated economy.

In addition to the funding presented to CCAC, other awards include:

• $980,000 to Jamestown Community College for the expansion of its Manufacturing Technology Institute on JCC’s two campuses, including their site in Cattaraugus County.

• $160,000 to the City of Olean for what is known as the North 3rd Street Reconstruction Project, which will see the restoration of the 200 block of North 3rd Street that will see the construction of new sidewalks, curbing and trees.

• $75,000 to Cattaraugus Community Action for training 45 workers in special populations in culinary arts and $25,000 for training 47 unemployed workers in culinary arts.

• $50,000 to the Cattaraugus County Site Redevelopment Assessment to examine the feasibility of developing obsolete manufacturing facilities into space to support advanced manufacturing, private investment, job creation and economic development.

• $49,500 to the Cattaraugus County Cultural Plan to hire a consultant to develop a countywide plan that will provide and inventory needs assessment and recommendations to enhance current arts, culture and heritage businesses and programming.

On a related note, the Cattaraugus County Arts Council recently learned they are one of 30 organizations that will receive a general operating support grant from the Give for Greatness program and Arts Services Initiative of Western New York. Organizations from throughout Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties each received $1,000.

“We are thrilled to be among the wonderful organizations recognized with this grant,” said Hastings. “It is great to have a regional organization like Arts Services Initiative of Western New York, which works very hard to support the arts and culture in the region.”