Proposes Creation of Fund to Support Struggling Venues, Employees and Artists

HYDE PARK, NY – With Governor Andrew Cuomo dedicating a portion of his State of the State Address to revitalizing New York’s arts industry, Senator Sue Serino today is urging the state not to forget its small stages in the process. 

On Tuesday, in his second State of the State Presentation, the Governor announced that the state will create a ‘New York Arts Revival’ program, which is set to include ‘pop-up’ performances at outdoor sites, flexible venues, and state parks, beginning in February, as well as a ‘Creative Rebuild Initiative’ to provide support to a limited number of New York artists. In a letter to the Governor, Serino is putting a spotlight on small stages in an effort to ensure they remain a top priority as New York works to rebuild and has suggested the state utilize proceeds from planned events to help support a fund to provide relief to these struggling organizations and artists.

“Music and the arts play a critical role in the economy and the culture of the Hudson Valley community, and we have to do all that we can to preserve the venues and support the artists who have made our community what it is,” said Senator Serino. “While I was heartened to hear the Governor put a focus on this critical industry in his State of the State, the devil will be in the details. I heard a lot about big names, big outdoor venues, and state parks, and I want to be sure that the small and mid-sized venues that play such a critical role in communities across the state are not left behind in planning for New York’s post-COVID Renaissance.”

In her letter, Serino points out that these venues are particularly vulnerable to closure because the state went so far as to expressly ban advertising of live music at venues and bars and had even prohibited venues from promoting any live ticketed events. Serino argues that the state needs to be equitable in its approach to helping artistic venues resume operations and cautions against any measures that could inadvertently create ‘winners and losers’ in the process. 

“For months, desperate owners and employees of local music venues, dive bars, dinner theaters and more have been begging the state to make changes that would allow them to safely and effectively operate,” Serino continued.“Acknowledging the needs of this key industry, as well as the artists and dedicated workforces behind them is an important first step, however, as details of the ‘New York Arts Revival’ plan are released in the days and weeks ahead, I will be doing all that I can to ensure that the voices of those impacted are heard and their needs met.”

To read Serino’s letter in full, click here. 

Serino has recently been named the Ranking Member of the State’s Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation Committee for the upcoming Legislative Session.