Earlier this year, the New York Council on the Arts launched an interactive arts map, The New York Media Arts Map v3. The map is geared toward offering cultural organizations, artists and the public a “streamlined, interactive tool to engage with New York State’s extensive media arts activities and organizations,” according to Ronnie Reich, Director of Public Information for the New York Council on the Arts, NYSCA.
Since the release of the map’s third version, its effectiveness in fulfilling its goal to promote and connect the arts is not completely clear.
Jack Waters, Executive Director of Allied Productions, Inc. in Manhattan, sees the media map as a valuable tool for his organization and values its impact. Allied Production, Inc. uses performance and live work, exploration of new art forms and its cinema program to attract members. They also hold exhibitions and educate children in nearby public elementary and middle schools on the arts.
“As an entirely artist-run organization, Allied Productions, Inc. is honored to be a part of the media community to which the NY Media Arts Map serves as an invaluable resource,” Walters said. “These are greatly needed tools that we are able to refer to our members and the projects within our networks of service and production.”
Despite the large number of arts and cultural institutions present on Long Island, their representation on the Media Arts Map is significantly low compared to that of New York City.
Only three organizations represent Long Island on the Media Arts Map. These are the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, and the Hamptons International Film Festival in East Hampton, both in Suffolk County, and the Gold Coast Arts Center in Great Neck in Nassau County.
The map has not had the same impact or success with Long Island arts organizations.
According to Diana Cherryholmes, Director of Suffolk County Film and Cultural Affairs, the gap on this interactive map between Huntington and the Hamptons is just a simple flaw of information.
“There are many more independent movie houses, which is what the map features [on Long Island],” Cherryholmes said. “And other groups that do not operate in a movie house that show independent movies.”
The media arts app, according to the New York State Council on the Arts, is supposed to facilitate the awareness that Cherryholmes envisions.
The Council created two prior versions of the media arts map. Now in its third form, it features a database and calendar of funding opportunities, a consultant directory and a variety of other new resources.
The New York Media Arts Map aligns with NYSCA’s commitment to serve New York State’s citizens and visitors and provide long term, reliable support to broad initiatives that strengthen the arts, culture and heritage sector,” Aby Rosen, Chair of the New York State Council on the Arts, said. “Aside from providing essential information on the state’s vast and varied media arts activities and opportunities, the map promotes connections and collaborations among these organizations to strengthen their programming and impact.”
According to Caroline Sorokoff, the Festival Director of the Gold Coast International Film Festival and the Associate Director Gold Coast Arts Center, at the lack of representation may just be a result of poor connections.
“It might just be a matter of the cinema hubs in that region not getting the information on how to submit to the New York Media Arts Map,” Sorokoff said. “I believe we found out about the map because we have received grants from New York State Council on the Arts in the past.”
Grants can range from $5,000 to $15,000 depending on the year, according to Sorokoff. She said that there are a lot of factors that go into funding by the NYSCA in any given year. In Gold Coast’s case, funding has gone up every year.
The Council has a list of program guidelines for different areas of art, ranging from folk art to literature.
In regard to electronic media and film, the NYSCA’s funding categories include general operating support, funds-for exhibitions and installations, film festivals and screenings, workspaces, regrants and partnerships, according to the Council’s website.
Places like Plaza Cinema and Media Arts Center in Patchogue are some of the forgotten cinema hubs in the middle of Long Island that are not featured on the map, but have a significant presence in the community.
The map still has a long way to go before art enthusiasts can navigate from county to county to cinema hubs across the Island.