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Survey shows central NY art organizations should collaborate more to draw visitors

A recent survey shows that people in central New York region want to take part in arts and cultural events, but often don’t know about them. That's spurring the group CNY Arts to find ways to solve that problem.

Interest by central New Yorkers in arts and cultural events is higher than in many parts of the country, but only a quarter of residents know how to find out what’s going on, according to a survey conducted last year in the six-county region. CNY Arts Executive Director Steve Butler says that points to a real problem, as artists and organizations try to draw visitors to their events.

He says essentially it means all these groups and organizations need to collaborate more.

“One of the old models was sort of a silo system, where you really were marketing for your institution and your organization, and you weren’t really concerned about what was going on around you in the field," Butler said. "I think we’re learning that there’s strength in numbers, the kind of rising tide lifts all boats approach.”

Butler says CNY Arts is embarking on a ten-year regional plan using this information. The first step is to get the more than 700 arts, cultural and historical organizations, as well as the regions 1,600 artists, into its database.

“To coordinate this we have to have everybody into the system," Butler explained. "And then we can work with that system to share that information with other media, so the information in the calendar is going out to other calendars, other media organizations, and is available to the general public as well.”

He says getting all of these artists and organizations into one location will help groups create more interest in the region's arts.

“This idea of regionalism seems to have taken hold among our stakeholders, and they’re looking forward to see how we can collectively collaborate, market and cross-promote together across the region.”

Events can then be included in the CNY Arts regional calendar.

The survey showed that live music and concerts were number one on the list of activities that central New Yorkers said they enjoyed most.

Butler says CNY Arts has created a ten-year regional cultural plan to promote the arts in Onondaga, Madison, Oswego, Cortland, Herkimer and Oneida counties.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.