Erie County arts funding process to be simplified

Feb 10, 2020

Smaller arts and cultural organizations in Erie County will now have an easier pathway to apply for funding.

In years past, the application process to receive funding has been noted by community members as overwhelming and too time-consuming. The Erie County Department of Environmental Planning, in collaboration with Legislator April Baskin, have shortened the application process and will now offer mentorship sessions for interested groups.

Baskin said many organizations operate on a shoestring budget and need the help to sustain themselves.

“If they get an application that requires three and four long essays and an extensive review of both of their programming where essentially they're asking for less than $10,000 to be able to help see through their mission. If we know that the validity of this program is working, it is helping smaller communities,” Baskin said.

“A lot of these arts organizations that are focused on social justice, which is something that's the priority to myself, and I know, as a shared interest with the administration, we don't want them not completing the application to the best of their ability or struggling through the application, because the resources to complete the application just aren't there.”

The issue was brought to Baskin’s attention by the Frontline Arts Organization, which is made up of individuals who work with arts groups throughout Erie County.

“They met with me in late December. I reached out to Commissioner Hersey and the Department of Environmental Planning, who oversees the application process and within three weeks’ time, we all worked together to revise this application to make it a more easier process for these groups,” Baskin said. “So this is something that's going to be implemented immediately when the arts and cultural funding process for 2021 begins, which is just about a week or two weeks away.”

Baskin said the new process will cut to the chase while still verifying the legitimacy of the organizations applying. More information on the process can be found here.