A number of Long Island’s cultural outfits — from ballet groups to museums — won a share of the almost $32 million awarded statewide to a total of 1,032 groups, Gov. Kathy Hochul said on Tuesday, to help propel them into “a strong comeback” from the pandemic.
Calling arts and culture “a key part of New York’s identity,” Hochul said, "This $32 million is the latest significant investment in the State's unprecedented efforts to strengthen the arts and welcome the world back to experience New York's creativity."
Many of the New York State Council on the Arts grants total $10,000, and will be spent on marketing, rehiring teachers, as well as exhibits and shows, officials said.
Tom Edmonds, executive director of The Southampton History Museum, for example, said its award will “enable us to collaborate with Harlem Needle Arts to present an outdoor mural titled Iya Alaro by multidisciplinary artist Oluwaseyi Awoyomi.”
“The artwork depicts how the dye indigo was produced and used on fabric in Nigeria for trade with Europe and the American colonies beginning in the 17th century,” he said, by email, and it will be shown next year “along a picket fence at Halsey House,” the state’s oldest wood-frame building.
Stony Brook Village’s The Jazz Loft said its grant will allow it add three to five shows to its usual roster of 160 or so during the 2023 Feb. 1 to Dec. 31 season.
“It’ll definitely be a diverse program, we try to present young and upcoming artists and at the same time, honor our elder statesmen and stateswomen in jazz,” said Thomas Manuel, president and founder.
“We also try really hard to present diverse programming, different styles and genres of music, people not just from Long Island, but throughout the country and world,” he said, adding one might be Min Xiao-Fen, who plays the pipa, a guitar-like instrument.
Two other organizations, The Atelier at Flowerfield, in St. James, and The Art League of Long Island in Dix Hills, both plan to hire teachers, some of whom were let go during the pandemic, as they rebuild enrollment.
Gaby Field-Rahman, The Atelier’s administrator, said one focus will be digital art — illustrations drawn on computers — which is an increasingly desirable skill for commercial artists. Classes in character drawing and abstract art, in addition to the mainstays of watercolors, pastels, oils, gouache and acrylics, also will be possible.
“We’re trying to broaden the age range,” she said, and “attract people who are more interested in the commercial arts.”
Marianne Della Croce, The Art League’s executive director, said plans include new classes in water colors and life drawing — with people serving as models — as well as more opportunities for students to use the group’s printing presses, and experiment with engraving and lithography, for instance.
With those presses, which transfer images from one material to another, such as fabric or paper, “The student brings the design, their ideas for what they would like the final product to look like, and the teacher helps to bring that to fruition.”
Hochul is running for reelection against Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) on Nov. 8.
Correction: The Art League of Long Island is based in Dix Hills. An earlier version of this story had an incorrect location.