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Letter from Erika: Light in the Darkest Days

December 15, 2021 5:13 PM | Megan Eves (Administrator)

Dear Members, Friends, and Supporters,

I wake early this time of year to see the glorious colors of winter sunrises. All of us have worked so hard over the past two years, it may be hard to remember that we are just a few days away from the solstice when we can welcome the increasing light. Last week I was in Corning, NY for meetings about our 2022 annual conference. I woke up in our conference hotel and for a moment didn’t quite remember where I was - this tends to happen after a lot of travel. I crossed the room, lifted the shades to watch the sunrise, and was gifted the sight of a bald eagle flying up the Chemung River. 

We have been challenged this week to keep up with all the announcements of funds granted to New York museums for 2022. There is good news from so many of our funders that renewed my hope for 2022 being a brighter year. 

Grants to museums from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) for general support and recovery totaled almost $7.5 million, including the NYSCA/MANY Capacity Building partnership that will award $500,000 in 100 grants of $5,000 each to museums through a competitive grant program.

If you received a grant from NYSCA, please take a moment before the end of the year to thank your New York State legislators for their generous appropriation this year. Let them know how the funds will make a difference to your museums and how much we need to maintain, or even increase, the level of funds available to museums for 2023. Not sure who represents you in Albany? You can click here for Assembly Members and here for Senators

Yesterday, Governor Hochul’s office announced $196 Million in awards through Round XI of the Regional Economic Development Council Initiative. Almost $21 million was awarded to 31 museums for preservation and marketing projects. You can also send a thank you note to Governor Hochul whose unparalleled support for our sector will help us sustain our organizations into the future. 

Humanities NY announced $360,000 in “SHARP” (Sustaining the Humanities Through the American Rescue Plan) Action Grants to 43 New York cultural nonprofits affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In September, HNY announced SHARP general operating grants totaling $710,000 to 67 New York museums.

Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor in partnership with the NYS Canal Corporation awarded IMPACT! Grants totaling $64,323 to seven organizations including three museums. 

The Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded 33 NY Museums $1,422,104 in American Rescue Plan funds for FY 2021. 

Earlier this month, MANY asked its members and supporters to help us advocate for state recovery funds by comparing calendar year 2019 to 2021 in a survey of visitor attendance, open hours, staff, and number of school groups. 97 NYS museums of all sizes, locations, and disciplines reported:

  • An average loss in visitor attendance of 48%

  • An average decrease in the number of open hours of 29%

  • An average loss of FT and/or PT staff of 12%

  • An average decrease in K-12 school group visits of 63%

I look forward to working with you in 2022 to raise awareness of our current needs and to ask for recovery support to allow New York’s museums to reclaim our roles as essential community anchors, economic engines, and tourist destinations. 

With best wishes for the New Year, e

The Museum Association of New York helps shape a better future for museums and museum professionals by uplifting best practices and building organizational capacity through advocacy, training, and networking opportunities.

Museum Association of New York is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization. 

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