Serrano Hosts Cultural Equity Group Workshop In Albany

José M. Serrano

February 16, 2008

State Senator Serrano hosted an arts workshop of the Cultural Equity Group (CEG) during the Black and Puerto Rican Legislators Conference weekend in Albany.

"The economic impact of the arts is $21.2 billion per year in New York city," said the Senator. "But at the city and also state level, we must continue to democratize those funds, and extend our focus to non-profits on the ground, in working class and minority communities."

He added, "This will get us more bang for our buck, and will benefit an ever increasing portion of our population."

The CEG is a coalition of cultural arts groups and artists of color who are engaged in preserving and sharing the creative art forms that emerge from diverse racial and ethnic communities in New York State.

Senator Bill Perkins of Harlem co-hosted the event with Senator Serrano. Dr. Marta Moreno Vega, President and Founder of the Caribbean Culture Center, served as moderator.

The panelists included: Leticia James, New York City Councilmember; Dr. Yasmin Ramirez, Arts Fellow at the Hunter College Center for Puerto Rican Studies; Robert Lee, Director of the Asian American Arts Centre; Linda Walton, Director of the Harlem Arts Alliance; Voza Rivers, Chairman of the Harlem Arts Alliance.

"The arts industry generates 160,000 jobs in New York City and 194,000 statewide," said the Senator. "For me, this tells two stories. First, residents in my district are getting substantial employment opportunities in the theatre district and large concert halls.

But the arts also empower residents in Upper Manhattan and The Bronx to create, sell and promote their own work. It doesn't just create employment, but it creates more equity and more equality. It provides an outstanding path to socio-economic mobility."

He concluded, "One of my goals as State Senator is to expand but also enhance these fabulous programs in consideration of the people in this room, the Cultural Equity Group, and the myriad organizations around the state that right now are not getting the attention they deserve."