Festival Guild loses funding

TICONDEROGA - The Ticonderoga Festival Guild is facing a budget crisis.

The local arts group has learned it will not receive funding from the New York State Council on the Arts in the next fiscal year.

That's a loss of $4,000 for the Ti Festival Guild, which has provided weekly summer evening concerts the past 31 years. It has offered weekly children's arts programs the past 28 years.

"We've received that funding for many, many years," said Cathie Burdick, guild executive director. "We count on it. It's a lot of money for a small organization like ours.

"We'll squeak through this fiscal year, which ends Oct. 31," she said. "But 2011 will be very difficult, especially until we have our spring membership drive."

The funding cut will mean changes for the guild.

"The board is determined to keep the Arts Trek (children's program) going," Burdick said. "There will be changes to the evening concerts. The attendance has been down - in 2009 we lost about $200 and probably about $1,000 this year on the evening concerts, but we're still closing the books."

Burdick said next summer's evening concerts will be fewer and probably feature local programs, like the Ticonderoga Community Band and a local talent night.

"We'd like to find the funding for a free community concert," Burdick said. "I think attendance would be good at a free concert."

The New York State Council on the Arts gave three reasons for denying funding to the local arts group, Burdick said. The programming is stale, funding lacks diversity and the lack of a guild website were the reasons given.

"From our point of view those are not valid reasons," Burdick said. "They suggested we do block scheduling with other arts groups and try to schedule European performers touring the U.S. That's not practical for us. We can't afford groups like that.

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