Senator Touts Arts As Economic Engine

José M. Serrano

February 18, 2006

(<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Albany, New York) - State Senator José M. Serrano, (D-Manhattan/Bronx), hosted a panel at the Association for Black and Puerto Rican Legislators 35th Annual Legislative Conference today, discussing how the arts can be used as a tool for economic empowerment. The Senator, who was former Chair of the New York City Council’s Cultural Affairs Committee, brought together members of the arts and economic development communities to look at how to better promote the arts as a form of revenue for the state.

“I have long believed that the Arts are one of the strongest forms of empowerment. The Arts provide positive outlets and educational opportunities for our youth, as well as career opportunities in our communities,” said Senator Serrano.

While on the City Council Senator Serrano worked to restore budget cuts to the arts community, and is now looking to set himself apart in the Senate by promoting the economic viability of the arts.

“I hope to find better ways to market the arts and unique culture of this state as the valuable commodities that they are, in order to attract more visitors to our cities’ and state’s museums, theatres, music halls, and other cultural venues,” said the senator.

The Senator highlighted areas of the state like the South Bronx, Brooklyn, and East Harlem where the Arts had played a vital role in the revitalization process. He believes that similar movements spearheaded by artists, and interested parties could benefit economically stagnant sectors of New York.

“The Arts will prove to be a mechanism by which entire communities will be reborn,” said Senator Serrano.