ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York State is investing $5 million toward local theatres through the Alive Downtowns! initiative. The program, which supports performing arts centers, was secured funding in this year’s state budget.

Capital Region Assemblymembers John McDonald, Patricia Fahy, Angelo Santabarbara and Phil Steck joined several Alive Downtowns! leaders to announce the decision. The coalition thanked the legislators as well as Governor Kathy Hochul and Senator Neil Breslin for their support of Alive Downtowns!, and for understanding the value and priority of arts funding in New York State.

Alive Downtowns! began as a coalition of 13 downtown historic performance arts centers across Upstate New York. Formed in response to the impact of COVID-19 on the arts centers, representatives of the coalition have been working with New York State legislators and the Governor’s office to discuss their importance to the economic viability, continuing attractiveness, and urban education opportunities in their respective areas of New York.

Members of Alive Downtowns!

  • Bardavon 1896 Opera House in Poughkeepsie
  • Clemens Center in Elmira
  • Palace Performing Arts Center in Albany
  • Proctors Collaborative in Schenectady, Albany, and Saratoga
  • The Reg Lenna Center for the Arts in Jamestown
  • Rochester Broadway Theatre League’s Auditorium Theatre in Rochester
  • Shea’s Performing Arts Center in Buffalo
  • The Smith Center for the Arts in Geneva
  • Stanley Theatre in Utica
  • State Theatre in Ithaca
  • Syracuse Area Landmark Theatre
  • Troy Savings Bank Music Hall
  • Ulster Performing Arts Center in Kingston

“Our historic performing arts centers and theatres are a force for unity in our communities and play a critical role in our economy. This funding will help these organizations expand their mission and restore these historic spaces after being hit especially hard by the pandemic.  I was happy to prioritize this funding in this year’s budget and I thank my colleagues for their ongoing support for our upstate theatres.” Assemblymember John T. McDonald III, RPh said.

These facilities collectively serve over 5 million people annually and have been keystones to their respective downtowns for decades. Their combined budgets exceed $100 million, and their economic impacts for major upstate downtowns conservatively exceeds $350 million. 

For more information on the coalition, visit Alive Downtowns!.