This weekend is the last chance for candidates for public office in Niagara County, Erie County, and the City of Buffalo to complete ASI’s Arts Sector survey. The survey, which was distributed to the 62 candidates in early August and which is due next week, spans yes-or-no questions (with space for comment) related to continued and increased funding for the arts as well as the inclusion of arts leaders on relevant decision-making commissions. The final results of the survey will be published publicly later this fall in anticipation of the general election on November 5.

The current breakdown of responses received:

  • Total candidates: 17 of 62
  • Erie County Executive: 1 of 2
    • Received: Mark C. Poloncarz
  • Erie County Legislature: 9 of 21
    • Received: Kate Eskew, John J. Gilmour, Kevin R. Hardwick, Cariol Horne, Joseph C. Lorigo, and John J. Mills, Edward A. Rath III, Juan Carlos Rivera, and Jeanne Vinal
  • City of Buffalo Comptroller: 0 of 1
  • Buffalo Common Council: 2 of 12
    • Received: Joel Feroleto and Mark T. Supples
  • Niagara County Legislature: 5 of 26
    • Received: Mark J. Grozio, Erik A. Herbert, Christopher A. Robins, Owen Steed, and Dennis F. Virtuoso

The remaining 45 candidates will have until Monday, September 23 to respond.

At ASI, advocacy for the arts and cultural sector is critical to our mission of serving the Western New York’s 300+ nonprofit cultural organizations, their thousands of employees, and the hundreds of thousands of people who invest in the sector through their attendance, service, and fiscal support. It’s no secret that the arts contribute to Western New York’s economic development (check out the data compiled in our Arts and Economic 5 Prosperity Report, created in partnership with Americans for the Arts, which reveal that the region’s nonprofit arts and cultural sector sees more than 10 thousand full-time jobs and an annual local revenue in the tens of millions), but they’re also crucial to our region’s future. Administering candidate surveys is one of the many ways we hold public officials accountable to sustaining and improving the health of the region’s arts and culture.

Keep an eye out for final survey results, and until then, we are calling on residents of Western New York to contact their local candidates and urge them to commit to supporting the arts.