Buffalo, NY – The Alleyway Theatre Company got a belated Christmas present. The company was recently awarded a $50,000 grant from the New York State Council on the Arts for renovations of its new Upper West Arts Center on Richmond Avenue.
In recent months, the words "funding cuts" have become all too commonplace to not-for-profit organizations throughout Buffalo. And, with attendance at many arts events the lowest in years, cultural organizations have been particularly hard hit. So, a $50,000 capital grant from the state Council on the Arts was especially welcome news to Alleyway Executive Director neil Radice.
For three years, Alleyway has been slowly scraping togther funds and refurbishing its latest venture -- the Upper West Arts Center, a multi-use arts facility. Radice says they were relieved to get one of the highly competitive grants.
"They've had representatives visiting us here in town - visiting the building, seeing the beauty of the building, and seeing how versatile the space is going to be," Radice said. "We were as confident as we could be in these tough financial times - pleased to get the good news."
To date, the organization has raised over $700,000 toward the total renovation costs. Radice says they have roughly another quarter million to raise before they can open the center's doors to the public. But Radice says it's a long term investment - well worth the effort.
"This is really going to be a benefit reaped for decades to come - not just for the next few months, a short program that may have a brief impact. This is long range vision," he said. "An arts center like this is going to be, really, Buffalo's only community based, multi-use arts center -- the only place where small organizations can afford to go in and rent high quality performance and exhibit space, and be able to use it throughout the year."
When completed, the arts center will house a drama theatre, exhibit galleries, community room, banquet hall, artists' studios and a 600 seat concert hall.