Queens Council on the Arts Director Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer told the Queens Chronicle last September she expected a deep cut in QCA funding come budget crunching time.
She got two.
Arts organizations expecting a state budget scalpel this year instead got a cudgel, as Gov. David Paterson proposed a pair of steep funding cuts for the New York State Council on the Arts, one of QCA’s chief patrons.
The first $2.6 million cut came last month, with another $7.2 million reduction announced last Friday.
Paterson hopes to plug a $1.5 billion gap with cuts across the board, from health care to education to arts funding.
But NYSCA is taking a particularly hard hit, with a likely 20 percent reduction in the agency’s entire appropriation for grants, jeopardizing thousands of art projects from Montauk Point to Niagara Falls.
“There will be less dollars to grant, less learning and networking opportunities for creative synergies and conversations, fewer artists working in schools,” Krakauer said.
That has some arts organizations, already much leaner and more efficient due to big budget reductions in years past, crying foul.
NYSCA’s contribution to QCA is $261,000 — the organization’s second-largest source of funding, after the city Department of Cultural Affairs, according to Krakauer.
Already the mobilization of forces to counter the cuts in Albany have begun. But this budget year, coming in the midst of the biggest economic slowdown in the state since 1981, may be the toughest test of all.
“My understanding is that the list from the governor contains some fairly severe cuts to social service programs,” said New York City Arts Coalition Chairperson Norma Munn. “That will make it very hard for the arts to make their case.”