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Reg Lenna Center for The Arts Joins Coalition to Apply for Government Funding | News, Sports, Jobs

The Reg Lenna Center for the Arts has joined a coalition with other performing arts centers in upstate New York to ask the state for more funding.

Other members of the Coalition – entitled Alive Downtowns – are: Shea’s Performing Arts Center in Buffalo, Bardavon 1896 Opera House in Poughkeepsie, Clemens Center in Elmira, Palace Performing Arts Center in Albany, Proctors Collaborative in Schenectady, Albany and Saratoga, Rochester Broadway Theater League’s Auditorium Theater in Rochester, The Smith Center for the Arts in Geneva, The Stanley Theater in Utica, The State Theater of Ithaca, the Syracuse Area Landmark Theater, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall and the Ulster Performing Arts Center in Kingston. The group’s goal is to get New York state legislators to consider performing arts centers as important components of the state’s tourism, much like zoos and aquariums.

“The Reg is a member of a coalition of 13 performing arts centers across the hinterland”, said Hillary Meyer, Executive Director of Reg Lenna. “There were three key factors that needed to be factored into this group. We are all historical theatres; we are all in the inner cities of our city; and we all have capacities for more than 1,000 guests. I should add a fourth, we all have a significant impact on our inner city economy.”

Additionally, Meyer said the group’s goal is geared toward obtaining funds that can be allocated to all members who are part of each performing arts center.

“The state has recognized zoos and aquariums as important parts of the state infrastructure for tourism and education,” said Meier. “Currently, New York State has entered into an agreement with zoos and aquariums to act as a central organization and receive government funding, which redistributes these funds internally to its members. We ask for a similar recognition because of the work we do to clean up our inner cities and our extensive educational efforts.”

The addition of Reg Lenna to Alive Downtowns means that a certain amount of government funding will flow to her and, in turn, to the economic development of downtown Jamestown’s arts and culture center. This will also allow Reg Lenna to not have to rely as much on local foundations.

Meyer said she hopes providing more government funding will allow Reg to reach more of the population in the area while attracting outside patrons. She added that this will provide job security for Reg’s 17 employees and Local 266’s stagehands.

“Personally, I’m grateful for the partnership with these other great organizations.” said Meier. “I now have a network of colleagues who have also struggled through the pandemic and now we can work together and champion our industry.”

Meyer said the group recently met with Gov. Kathy Hochul’s regional offices and the next step in achieving its goal is to meet with legislative delegations in each region to encourage support.

Overall, Meyer said the goal of the Alive Downtowns coalition is important because she believes access to the arts is important to a healthy community and life.

“I strongly believe that access to art is important for a healthy community.” said Meier. “Live experiences bring joy and help relieve stress, improving the quality of life for everyone. We also have a lot to celebrate this year as our theater – formerly known as The Palace – turns 100 this year. The Reg staff and board hope our community will help us celebrate throughout the year.”

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