KINGSTON — The City of Kingston is making strides to bolster its local arts community, unveiling the Kingston Arts and Culture Master Plan Wednesday evening.
The multifaceted plan was a joint effort between local residents, the Kingston Arts and Cultural Affairs Office and Lord Cultural Resources. It outlines a multitude of ways to grow the arts and culture economy, as well as how to keep it aligned with municipal goals for the future. The final plan was formulated following a process including: a needs assessment for the city, public outreach and data and economic input analysis.
Kingston has the largest arts and cultural share of the city’s economy at 6.5 percent. This is larger than both Troy and Poughkeepsie, officials say. Additionally, $35 million of out-of-town visitor revenue comes from this sector and the city’s cultural assets garner $3.3 million in annual tax revenue.
Mayor Steve Noble said this has led to arts and culture being a major employer for the city.
“We now recognize that more than 1,600 jobs here in the Kingston community are based around arts and culture. More than $57 million in annual wages are based around those jobs,” said Noble.
The mayor said, though, that the economic impact is not the primary significance of the arts and culture community. Director of Kingston Art and Cultural Affairs Adrielle Farr, said arts and culture are the building blocks of community in Kingston.
“For those of us who work in the arts we understand that we are more than just a visual contribution to aesthetics,” said Farr. “Art and creativity is the lifeforce of a community and when we put a value into art, when we foster arts and culture and when we empower those who are involved in that sector to be active participants in that community, we are building the building blocks for a stronger community,” she said.
This is primarily what the Arts and Culture Master Plan aims to do: foster the existing arts and culture sector, while helping it find its place in the greater municipal economy and community.
Some of the proposed implementations for this plan are the creation of an arts/business alliance; the support and development of arts advocacy programs; community roundtables focused on arts and culture; arts centered workforce development programs; establishment of a “percent for arts” within the city budget; and redeveloping the city’s zoning to be more friendly to artists and art spaces.
A presentation of the plan is slated before the city’s common council and a cultural asset inventory is still actively being taken for the city.
The entire plan is available online at engagekingston.com/arts-masterplan and public comments on the plan will continue to be accepted through September 22.