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Regional arts suffer from State budget crunch

BLUE MOUNTAIN LAKE - The New York State budget crises continues to have a "ripple effect" throughout the region.

This week, the Adirondack Lake Center for the Arts announced that three regular grants administered through the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) would not be funded in the 2009-10 budget cycle.

The NYSCA administrative budget will see a nearly $1 million cut from its projected $6.1 million annual budget at the beginning of this year.

The current budget proposes a $7 million dollar overall cut to NYSCA in 2009-10, leaving approximately $38.9 million for local assistance and regional grants across the State.

Due to the timing of the budget cycle and annual grant awards, over 500 organizations will not receive grant funding - including those who have been awarded contracts earlier this year.

The Adirondack Lake Center for the Arts recently announced that it will be forced to seek alternate funding for three historical grants. The grants include General Operating Support, Performing Arts, and the new Decentralization Re-Grant.

The ALCA administers the Decentralization re-grant program for Hamilton County. The program allows other agencies throughout the region to apply for small grants.

"This is affecting not only our organization but also the 17 other applications that we got in," ALCA acting Manager, Jamie Strader said in reference to the re-grant program. "It's a culturally under-served area as it is and unfortunately in 2009 it will be even more so."

While the State budget cuts represent a modest portion of the ALCA annual operating budget, Strader is quick to point out that the organization will continue to operate this year.

"For the Arts Center it means we are going to have to do some creative fundraising to make up the difference," Strader said.

Potential changes may include modest entry fees for traditionally free programs and renegotiation with some of next year's contracted performers.

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