Issues: Arts and Culture

EXCLUSIVE: Money-losing Queens Latino festival is canceled for first time in 15 years

As reported by the Daily News:

An annual celebration of Latino culture in Queens was abruptly canceled for the first time in 15 years amid more mystery than a Borges novel.

The troubles started a year ago when long-time sponsor Chase pulled its support for the money-losing festival — though the bank did not say why.

Then, after two years of fiscal setbacks, the Queens Theater, which hosts the festival, declined to renew the contract for Claudia Norman, who had organized it for 15 years.

For full article, click here.

August 15, 2013

Funding Announced For Cortland Repertory Theatre

CORTLAND, 08/13/13 – State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I-Oneonta) today announced that a recently adopted senate resolution includes, at his insistence, $250,000 to provide assist with the “Cortland Repertory Theatre Downtown” project. 

August 13, 2013

Senator O'Brien discusses development of wine tourism industry

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Senator Ted O’Brien was today joined by representatives of local wineries and tourism organizations to call for increased state efforts to support the growing wine and wine tourism industries in the Finger Lakes region. The Senator noted that these industries provide essential jobs and economic growth for upstate New York.

“The wine tourism industry has an enormous impact on our state economy, providing almost $4 billion a year and bringing approximately 5 million visitors a year to our communities,” Senator O’Brien said. “State government must continue its efforts to expand this industry and help these innovative companies do what they do best, grow and put New Yorkers back to work.”

July 31, 2013

Senator Klein Announces Annual Summer Concert Schedule

Senator Klein Announces Annual Summer Concert Schedule

July 24, 2013

"Voices" Art Exhibit Opening at Blue Door Gallery

At the opening reception of the "Voices" exhibit at the Blue Door Art Gallery on July 13th in Yonkers, Senator Stewart-Cousins discovered that one of her former interns is also a talented artist. The "Voices" exhibit, running until August 24th, features folk art, street art, film, photography and performances from local artists. Senator Stewart-Cousins is pictured here at the exhibit with Yonkers resident Naajidah Correll and a piece she sculpted. Ms. Correll is a former intern of the Senator's.

July 13, 2013

Senator O'Brien, librarians discuss summer reading initiatives, promote Senate's "" tool

PITTSFORD, N.Y. – Today, Senator Ted O'Brien encouraged families of the 55th Senate district to participate in the State Senate's summer reading program, available at "" This Senate site tracks books read by youth in the district and makes age-appropriate suggestions based on what other students throughout the state are reading. On, parents can create accounts for their children and log all of their reading throughout the summer. Top readers from throughout the district will be recognized by the Senator later this year.

July 11, 2013

Senator Michael Gianaris Honors APAC’s Taryn Sacramone at Women of Distinction Ceremony In Albany

(Albany, NY) On Tuesday May 7th Senator Michael Gianaris honored Taryn Sacramone, Executive Director of the Astoria Performing Arts Center, at the 16th annual New York State Senate Women of Distinction Ceremony in Albany. The ceremony provides Senators across New York State with an opportunity to honor outstanding women whose contributions to their neighborhood have enriched the lives of those in the community.

“Through her work at APAC, Taryn Sacramone highlights the creative spirit of western Queens and embodies our prioritization of culture and the arts,” said Senator Gianaris.

June 26, 2013

Summary of 2013 Senate Legislative Action




The New York State Senate approved the 2013-14 state budget that delivers on priorities outlined by the Senate Republican Conference to provide much-needed tax relief for middle-class families, help businesses create jobs, and, for the third consecutive year, the budget keeps spending growth below two percent, which is consistent with the local spending cap that applies to school districts and local governments.  It was also the third consecutive budget approved prior to the April 1 deadline.


June 24, 2013

Local Libraries Receive State Grants

ONEONTA, 06/20/13 – State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I-Oneonta) today announced that community libraries throughout the 51st senatorial district have been awarded a total of nearly $350,000 in public library construction grant funds.

June 20, 2013

The Strand in Plattsburgh welcomes Cirque Eloize for a special performance

The Strand Theatre in Plattsburgh was the venue for a very special performance of 

June 10, 2013

Senator Peralta Invites All Children To Join His Summer Reading Program

Senator Jose Peralta is inviting all students in kindergarten through eighth grade to participate in the New York State Senate's Summer Reading Program.  This program is aimed at assisting children keep their reading skills honed and minds sharp during their time away from school.

With the end of the school year in sight, many students are anxiously awaiting the summer months. To keep school age children in the mindset of learning, the New York State Senate, in conjunction with the New York State Library, offers the Summer Reading Program to students across the State.

Participating students will use an online journal to keep track of their reading progress throughout the summer. Children who submit a completed journal will receive a Summer Reading Certificate. To have the children register, please visit

June 7, 2013

Senator O'Brien highlights state's increased focus on tourism

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Today, Senator Ted O’Brien stood alongside representatives of several tourism-related organizations and businesses, along with local elected officials, to tout the 55th Senate District’s growth as a tourism destination. He also highlighted state programs, newly introduced in this year’s budget, that seek to specifically promote, market and develop upstate tourism.

“As vibrant and exciting as the tourism industry is in Rochester and the Finger Lakes Region, we have only begun to unlock our full potential,” Senator O’Brien said. “These new initiatives, which will work in concert with our existing tourism groups and businesses, will be tremendous catalysts for growing our region’s tourism economy.”

May 24, 2013

Gianaris Honors Sacramone As Woman Of Distinction

Last week I was proud to honor Taryn Sacramone, Executive Director of the Astoria Performing Arts Center, at the New York Senate 2013 Women of Distinction Ceremony. Check out this Western Queens Gazette article for more details on Taryn's contributions to our community.

May 15, 2013

Senator O'Brien to Recognize Poster Contest-Winning Fairport Student


Senator O’Brien will be meeting with a student at Martha Brown Middle School in Fairport who won the 55th District’s Earth Day poster contest.

He will be presented with a certificate and a copy of his poster that was displayed in the halls of the Legislative Office Building in the state capital complex in Albany.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 12:00 p.m.


Martha Brown Middle School665 Ayrault Rd.Fairport, NY 14450

Additional information:

May 14, 2013

Senator Klein Honors Bronx Student, Aspiring Filmmaker and Riverdale Resident, Sofie Somoroff, at 16th Annual Women of Distinction Celebration

ALBANY, NY – Senator Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester) honored Sofie Somoroff, a seventeen year old from the Bronx at the 16th Annual Women of Distinction celebration that took place on the evening of Tuesday, May 7, 2013. Late last year, Somoroff was named the Grand Prize Winner of the OnBuzz Reach for the Stars Aspiring Filmmakers Contest for her lyrical, 71-second “micro-movie,” entitled “Me,” that concerns the subject of bullying. Somoroff is a junior at Bronx High School of Science and a resident of Riverdale.

May 10, 2013

History Day Has Bright Future In New York


COOPERSTOWN, 04/29/13 – State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I-Oneonta) today announced that the state budget includes, at his insistence, $100,000 to continue the state’s participation in National History Day.  The announcement coincided with the statewide judging of student projects in Cooperstown.

April 29, 2013

Pols Call for Citi Bike Share to Expand to Astoria, Woodside and Sunnyside Read

Check out this story from DNAinfo on my work with Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer urging the city's new bike sharing program to include all of western Queens. An active bike share presence would be the perfect way to build on recent developments that have helped make western Queens one of the most bike-friendly areas in the city.
Click here for the full story

April 25, 2013

Senator Martins and Soulfood Society Encourage Expression

Senator Jack Martins and Soulfood Society's held their first 1st Annual Poetry, Music and Spoken Word. Various members of the community exhibited their talents and they expressed themselves through poetry and song. The first event was a tremendous success and Senator Martins and Soulfood Society plan on continuing the event as part of the "Birth of Royalty" series. 

April 23, 2013

Senator Martins and Soulfood Society Launch 'Birth of Royalty Series'

State Senator Jack M. Martins and Laurent Luke, founder of Soulfood Society, collaborated this this past Friday on a Poetry, Music and Spoken Word night entitled “The Birth of Royalty Series.” The evening highlighted Poetry, Music and Spoken Word performances from local artists. It showcased artists from the Elmont, North Valley Stream, New Hyde Park, Franklin Square and South Floral Park communities. The program was developed by Senator Martins and was co-chaired by and Arts Committee led by Laurent Luke and Scott Cushing.

April 23, 2013
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