Earlier this evening, members of Buffalo's cultural community dominated an hour-long public hearing of Buffalo Common Council. The cultural funding advocates, responding to a city budget that includes no funding for the arts, echoed and in many cases built upon the eloquent arguments of last year's Erie County cultural funding crisis.
Together, they made a strong collective case for the restoration of a small and stable level of funding to benefit the myriad cultural organizations within its limits. Buffalo cut the majority of arts funding out of its budget during the economic downturn that followed the Sept. 11 attacks and has not restored it since --though, after much haggling, it did provide emergency funding to arts groups during last year's county funding crisis.
Some highlights from the evening's remarks follow. (Please excuse the shaky camera work and note that most speakers or their organizations are members of the Greater Buffalo Cultural Alliance.)
Tod Kniazuk, executive director of the Arts Services Initiative:
Fortunato Pezzimenti, producing director of the Irish Classical Theatre Company:
Meg Quinn, artistic director of Theatre of Youth
Laurie Dean Torrell, executive director of Just Buffalo Literary Center:
Randall Kramer, executive and artistic director of MusicalFare Theatre:
Edmund Cardoni, executive driector of Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center:
Jamie Moses, publisher of Artvoice:
Molly Quckenbush, executive director of the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site:
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