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Dancers and funders speak frankly at post-attack meeting. (Presstime News).

The date was October 11, exactly one month after the attack on the World Trade Center. About 200 members of New York's dance community gathered at Danspace/St. Mark's Church for a town meeting with representatives of private foundations and government agencies. The meeting was initiated by Dance/USA: Executive Director Andrea Snyder called for a moment of silence, noting, "The eleventh will certainly never have the same ... meaning again."

Schuyler Chapin, commissioner of the city's Department of Cultural Affairs, said his department was teaming up with the New York State Council on the Arts to survey all cultural organizations below 14th Street in lower Manhattan and assess their losses. The two agencies also will compile information on ways in which arts organizations have aided disaster victims, from providing art therapy to hosting fund-raisers.

Though many speakers pointed out the restorative power of the arts, such power does not guarantee secure funding. The devastation wrought on September 11, coupled with the economic slowdown that preceded that date, is expected to have a severe impact on every arts organization that relies on government, corporate, or foundation funding.

Former Deputy Mayor Fran Reiter reported, "We'll have to do what we do with fewer resources. Everyone can expect belt-tightening. Fifteen percent will be cut from the budgets of all city agencies. Beyond that, there is a $4 billion deficit in the operating budget that must be balanced."

Ted Berger, executive director of the New York Foundation for the Arts, acknowledged, "No one knows better how hard the funding situation is than the dance community. You've never had money, but you've been resilient. You've been historically undercapitalized. Before September 11, the frame of the economy of the dance community was a great concern. Because of September 11, the arts have become hidden victims."

Berger urged increased advocacy to ensure the arts community secures "our fair share" of relief money that will flow from federal agencies via state agencies. He also voiced concern that independent artists not be forgotten amid the many cultural organizations in need of aid. Again emphasizing the resilience of the dance community, Berger summarized both the heartache and determination of all affected by this tragedy in a quote from Samuel Beckett: "You must go on, I can't go on, I'll go on."
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:New York City
Author:Carr, Darrah
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Jan 1, 2002
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