Updated: Monday, 05 Dec 2011, 10:26 PM EST
Published : Monday, 05 Dec 2011, 10:25 PM EST
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Erie County lawmakers are poised to restore funding for smaller cultural organizations that was cut earlier by lame duck County Executive Chris Collins.
The deal is all but done. The Erie County Legislature is expected to approve funding for 37 arts and cultural groups, when it convenes on Tuesday.
Erie County Legislator Thomas Mazur said, "This is essential. And it's good for our children to know that we care about education, but we also care about creativity, culture, arts. It enriches the community; it enriches our population."
County lawmakers are allocating just over $931,841 for the arts.
Theatre of Youth Artistic Director Meg Quinn said, "This year I had to be very purposeful about smaller-cast shows. And now, it can open up so many more -- artistically, more potential."
The Theatre of Youth will get over $51,000. Smaller organizations are receiving help, too. The Big Orbit Gallery, for example -- over $17,000; Locust Street Neighborhood Art Classes -- over $10,000.
These are not dedicated sources of funding. This money is only guaranteed for calendar year 2012. For future years, the Legislature may consider reinstating an advisory board, to help determine what level of funding should be given to these organizations.
Mazur says there's talk of re-creating ECRAB -- the Erie County Cultural Resources Advisory Board -- as a liaison between the arts community and government.
"It's the big picture. Sure, you can cut down and cut down and cut down. But would you want to live in a city that has nothing?" questioned Mazur.
Quinn added, "Arts and culture just mean something to the people. It reflects who we are. Where we come from, what we share together, how we feel about where we live."
The following organizations are slated to receive funding: