Community Corner 2010
HAPPENINGS, EVENTS & ISSUES AFFECTING OFF-OFF-BROADWAY
Here is a list of important events and happenings and ways for you to get involved now, support the community and help promote the needs of Indie Theatre.
OOB Audience Survey
What do you want to know about your audience members? The Innovative Theatre Foundation is beginning the fourth part of our survey program which will provide important information about the OOB audience. We'd like to hear from you. What information would be helpful for you to know about your audience? Please email us at email@example.com and let us know.
- Election Recap
“Frustration with the nation’s lack of economic recovery is clearly top of mind among voters and candidates. Likewise, nonprofit arts organizations have also felt the sting of the recession with state and local government arts funding dropping as much as 16 percent, and private charitable gifts to the arts declining $1.2 billion in just two years. Additionally, individual artists have been experiencing unemployment at twice the rate of other educated, professional workers" said Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert L. Lynch. (read more) What can you do?
- Ask all freshman members of Congress to begin thinking about joining the bipartisan Congressional Arts Caucus or Senate Cultural Caucus.
- Send a letter of congratulations to each elected leader representing your community (federal, state, and local levels) and identify yourself or your organization as a resource on arts policy issues. (check out the Community Action page to find your elected officials.)
- Tax Abatement Proposal that benefits OOB (contributed by David Pincus)
All 12 Manhattan Community Boards have voted to support the tax abatement proposal that will give a tax credit to landlords who provide either free or significantly discounted rent to not-for-profit arts organizations. Learn more.
It's an achievement that this proposal has reached this level of success
and demonstrates the vital grassroots support that exists for this particular idea.
However, in order for this proposal to be enacted into law, it needs support of the other four NYC Boroughs.
In addition, we are in the process of collecting information concerning
the "core" theaters which would be affected by this proposal. We need to
more specifically craft its legislative language, and include in it
verifiable economic data.
Open Source Ticketing for OOB
Fractured Atlas is creating an open source ticketing service that will allow OOB theatre companies to sell tickets on their own terms and for free. The system and the infrastructure to support the system are currently in development. Fractured Atlas is encouraging people to follow their progress and provide feedback at athena.fracturedatlas.org.
- Tax Deductions for Artistic Services
Americans for the Arts is working on several tax issues. The one that applies most directly and exclusively to the arts is a proposal to allow artists to claim a deduction for the full value of certain donated works. Under current law, they may deduct only the cost of materials.This does not specifically apply to performing artists yet, but it is the groundwork for the donation of artistic services as well. You can let your representatives know your thoughts.
- Cultural Data Project
The Pew Charitable Trusts is about to launch the Cultural Data Project (CDP) in New York State. This project emerged out of a common need for more robust research, advocacy and policy discussions with and about the cultural sector. Find out more at the CDP website.
Also NYSCA who is a part of the task force for this project is interested in hearing about how you feel this project could benefit you and your organizations. Please send your feedback to NYSCA program staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The D.I.Y. Dilemma
D.I.Y. or "Do It Yourself" reflects not only a philosophy, but also the practical reality for many independent artists today. The Performance Project and The Incubator Arts Project teamed up to give independent artists a forum to openly discuss important issues related to creating original performance work in NYC. More info coming soon.
- Free Night of Theatre 2010
The 3rd Annual Free Night of Theater NYC was held in October and OOB was a big part of the success of that night. More information coming soon.
- October was National Arts and Humanities Month (NAHM)
Held every October and coordinated by Americans for the Arts, NAHM is the largest annual celebration of the arts and humanities in the nation. From arts center open houses to mayoral proclamations to banners and media coverage, communities across the United States join together to recognize the importance of arts and culture in our daily lives.
- Over 19,000 Emails sent to Albany
Over 19,000 emails and letters were sent to Albany in support of rejecting the Governor's proposed 40% cut to NYSCA local assistance funding. A proposed New York State budget will cut arts funding by 12% and NYSCA funding by 40% (the biggest reduction of any State Agency) which will be devastating to the entire Arts community of New York State. While this money represents a minuscule portion of the State's overall budget, it is the life blood of arts organizations across the state.
- 2nd Annual Midsummer Classic (Picnic and Softball Game)
On Saturday, July 24th, OOBers met in Central Park to engage in a little friendly rivalry and some rather entertaining softball. Read more about it....
- Some Good News for 3LD
The beleaguered 3-Legged Dog received some much needed good news recently. According to DNAinfo, due to a decision to free money from Con Edison, 3LD is now eligible to receive grant money to help with administrative costs. In addition, there is news that 3LD and the Soho Think Tank will be sharing the space at 80 Greenwich Street, at least temporarily. While 3LD is still embroiled in a complicated rent dispute with the MTA, due to the efforts of Congressman Nadler and State Senator Squadron the MTA will sit down at the table to negotiate a resolution. Read more about it.
- Money for arts complex in Lower Manhattan
At a recent meeting Community Board 1 and board member of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, Julie Menin, revealed that $150 million in unused funds for downtown had been discovered. She proposed the money be used to immediately build a performing arts center on the Deutsche Bank site. Read more about it.
- Indie Theatre Cares Initiative
During the first two weeks of June, OOB productions all around NYC helped contribute the the Indie Theatre Cares Initiative to help raise funds for AIDs research started by the League of Independent Theatre. We are so proud of our community for participating in this important initiative. Read more.
- Community Forum on the Ohio Theatre
On the evening of April 26, the Community Forum on the Ohio Theater convened before a nearly-packed house at the Ohio Theatre in Soho. Co-sponsored by the Innovative Theater Foundation (ITF) and the League of Independent Theater (LIT), the forum was organized in response to the imminent closing of this venerable downtown institution. The Ohio Theater is being forced by its landlord to vacate its Wooster Street space on August 31, 2010, to make room for a designer label store in an area already over-saturated with high-end retail. Read more about it.
- Assemblymember Glick Hosts Panel on Downtown Arts & Business
Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick (66th District) hosted "Local Arts, Collective Strength: A Forum to Build Support for Our Neighborhood Theaters and Dance Companies" on April 15, 2010. She was joined by a panel of downtown arts and business leaders to discuss the impact of the current economic climate, how arts companies and neighborhood businesses can build successful collaborations, and what else can be done to further support local arts companies. Read more about it.
- World Theatre Day
March 27 World Theatre Day 2010. There was a community wide effort to bring attention to this international event and to celebrate theatre here in NYC. The World Theatre Day Coalition helped to organize several flashmobs, a party and distributed the international message by Dame Judi Dench and the U.S. message by Lynn Nottage to hundreds of theatre audiences and New Yorkers on WTD. Plans for World Theatre Day 2011 are already in process. Check out the website at www.nycwtd.com and follow updates on Twitter @nycwtd.
- Federal Funding for the Arts
On October 29, 2009, Congress passed a $12.5 million funding increase as part of the FY 2010 Interior Appropriations bill for both the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The bill passed the House by a vote of 247 - 178 and in the Senate it passed by a vote of 72 - 28. As a culmination of National Arts and Humanities Month, President Obama signed the bill into law on October 31. The nation's two federal grantmaking cultural agencies now each have budgets of $167.5 million, their highest funding levels in 16 years. As so many state and local governments have had to cut arts budgets across the country, this well-timed federal appropriations increase for the arts is a welcome infusion of funds.
- Free Night of Theatre
October 15, 2009 in Union Square The League of Independent Theatre curated the opening event for Free Night of Theatre. Many Independent artists shined alongside some of the legends of our craft. It was a moving and powerful gathering of the theater community and many politicians. The week that followed introduced hundreds of new audience members to theatre in NYC and especially OOB. We will let you know when the final reports are available.
- 1st Annual Indie Theatre Midsummer Classic
Was a new tradition started? What will hopefully become an annual softball game and picnic was held on Sunday, July 26, 2009. OOBers gathered to socialize, celebrate the summer and hit a few ground balls.
- Space for OOB in the Hudson Rail Yards
The Theater Task Force of Community Board 4, recently provided recommendations to be included in the full Board's mandated Comments and Recommendations Section (over 100 pages) of the City's official response to the plans submitted by The Related Companies, the developer of the Western Rail Yards (WRY) - The "Hudson Yards" Project which will be located on the far west side of Manhattan in the low '30's. Space for small theatre was a priority in those recommendations. As a direct result of Manhattan Community Board 4's working with The Related Companies, the NYC City Council and concerned members of the community, 16,000 sq. ft. of cultural performing art space will be created within the confines of the Hudson Yards Project. Read more about it.
- Reports on NYC's Performing Arts Community
To help accurately gauge just how deeply the performing arts community in NYC has been impacted by the current economic climate, NYC Performing Art Spaces has created 2 reports based on their recent surveys. Their findings show that "Performing artists, especially musicians, have fewer bookings and less funding. As for facilities, although 45% had increased bookings over 2008, overall only 35% were booked 75% or more; while expenses increased for more than half the respondents, 67% kept their rental rates the same."
- City Capital Funds Awarded
ABC No Rio, a long-time Lower East Side non-profit arts institution just received major capital funding from The City of New York as a result of the efforts of Council Member Alan J. Gerson and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, with additional important support from the entire Manhattan City Council Delegation.
This is a significant step because substantial city capital funds are being used to restore a long term, cultural arts facility that is not City owned, has a small operating budget, large volunteer base, serves and sustains a community rooted in LES cultural and artist traditions. ABC No Rio raised $500,000 in many small benefits and have a well developed plan with competent architect, Executive.Director and Management team in place.
New Digs for LES Arts Org, By Brigid Bergin and Isaac-Davy Aronson
Punk Institution Receives City Money for New Building, By Colin Moynihan 6/28/09
- Smack Down
On May 13, 2009 The Field and Galaposos Arts Space hosted The New Economy Smack Down. Local artists and arts organizations engaged in heated conversations about the economy, space for the arts, funding and so much more.
- Community Boards
Following the Public Forum hosted by Community Boards 1 through 5 in February, the CBs have stayed true to their promise to make small to mid-sized theatre a priority in their neighborhoods.
- Once a year all of New York's Community Boards submit a list of their District "Needs" to the City. This year, the Arts and Theater Tasks Forces of CB3 and CB4 worked together in crafting their texts which included strong support for small theatre and arts spaces.
- CB3 passed resolutions supporting small theatre.
- CB4 sent a letter to Governor Paterson asking him to restore 100% of the funds to NYSCA.
- CB5 passed resolutions to support small theatre.
- CB5 passes letter to the Mayor and members of the City Council urging them to provide funding for arts in education.
And keep checking back for updates to these and other important developments.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Check out the COMMUNITY ACTION page for ways that you can make a difference now.