The Broome County Arts Council (BCAC) has awarded $286,500 in 2021 United Cultural Fund (UCF) grants this year to 15 local arts organizations and community non-profits.
General Operating Support (GOS) grants, designed to help sustain the general operations of major Broome County arts organizations, w ere awarded to the Endicott Performing Arts Center, the Goodwill Theatre, Tri-Cities Opera, the Roberson Museum and Science Center, the Binghamton Philharmonic, LUMA, the Bundy Museum of History and Art and the Discovery Center of the Southern Tier.
The BCAC sees the increase from last year’s five recipients as a sign of the perseverance of the arts in Broome County. Both the Bundy and the Discovery Center are new GOS awardees.
Seven smaller community arts projects received UCF Project Grants of $1,000 each: the Binghamton Community Orchestra (streamed concert of small ensemble pieces); the Binghamton Poetry Project (virtual writing workshops, events and publishing opportunities); the Center for Gender, Art and Culture (public art directory and map); the Kopernik Society of Broome County (screening of art films with astronomical images); the Madrigal Choir of Binghamton (concert of choral music by Binghamton composers and arrangers); the Nanticoke Valley Historical Society (poetry, prose and images of Maine, N.Y., old and new), and SRO Productions  III (HONK!, a musical adaptation of The Ugly Duckling).
All 2021 UCF Project Grants were made possible with a grant from the Community Foundation of South Central New York (CFSCNY), marking the first time in the 35-year history of the United Cultural Fund that the project grants have been supported solely by an individual foundation gift.
Other major donors include the Stewart W. & Willma C. Hoyt Foundation, Broome County Government, the Dr. G. Clifford & Florence B. Decker Foundation, the Miller S. & Adelaide S. Gaffney Foundation, IBM Corporation, Columbian Financial Group, Visions Federal Credit Union, Security Mutual Life Insurance Co. of New York, Miller Auto Team, Dr. Linda Biemer, Dr. Donald M. Boros, CFSCNY, and other local businesses and individuals who believe in the value of arts investment.
The BCAC annually receives 15 percent of UCF campaign totals for its general operations and programming. The remainder of the total each year is dispersed among UCF recipients.
A press release today (March 10) from BCAC Executive Director Nancy Barno Reynolds analyzed the increase in GOS grants and the decrease in the number of project grants: “In this year of recovery for the arts nationwide … a greater number of medium and large arts organizations are seeking deeper levels of grant support to counteract loss of revenue due to COVID lockdown in 2020. Conversely, many individual artists and small arts initiatives have necessarily paused programmatic planning until the likelihood of audiences are more certain.”
Since 1987, the UCF has distributed more than $11 million to the arts in Broome County. Prior to the pandemic, UCF grantees typically returned $3-$4 million dollars to Broome County’s economy.