SCHUMER LAUNCHES PUSH FOR FED FUNDS TO HELP ATTRACT MORE YOUNG PROFESSIONALS TO LIVE & WORK IN SARATOGA SPRINGS BY STRENGTHENING LOCAL ARTS SCENE – FED FUNDS WOULD HELP DEVELOP FIRST-EVER “ARTS MASTER PLAN,” A MAJOR STEP IN BUILDING A VIBRANT CREATIVE ECONOMY
With Visit to Saratoga Springs, Schumer Completes Unprecedented 16th Annual 62-County Tour – Senator Has Visited All 62 NYS Counties Each Year He Has Been In Office, Something He Pledged to Do Upon His Election to Senate in 1998
Schumer Pushes For Fed Funding To Help Make Saratoga Springs’ Vision To Grow Arts Community, Attract More Young Professionals A Reality – In Small Cities & Towns Across The Country, Arts Play Major Role in Growing the Economy; Saratoga Springs Already Has Building Blocks in Place & New Master Plan Would Take it To Next Level
Schumer: Arts Can Be Major Economic Development Tool For Saratoga Springs
Today, at FingerPaint Marketing in Saratoga Springs, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer joined with Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen and launched his push to secure federal funds for the City of Saratoga Springs to develop a first-ever “Arts Master Plan” for its local arts community, which is a linchpin in attracting more young professionals to live and work in Saratoga Springs. Schumer noted that the city is already home to numerous arts and performance venues, but lacks a master plan to grow the local scene and market it. Schumer said that enhancing the creative economy is a powerful economic development tool, and the effort underway in Saratoga is one that the federal government should support. According to a report by the Center for Economic Growth and the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region, the Capital Region has almost 24,000 people employed in creative industries – including 5,000 in Saratoga County – the second highest concentration of creative jobs among metropolitan regions of similar size in the country. Schumer said that people who work in creative industries are especially attracted areas where the arts flourish, which is why growing the local scene in Saratoga Springs would help grow the economy.
“Building a robust arts community is a proven way to grow local economies, and Saratoga Springs is well positioned to create jobs and attract young professionals by strengthening its already vibrant arts and culture scene. The City of Saratoga Springs has grand plans to take its local arts and culture to the next level, and I am proud to be able to support their efforts on the federal level, especially because I have seen how the arts can be used as a powerful economic development tool,” said Schumer. “Cities around the country have used the arts to grow the local economy, and the plan Saratoga Springs wants to put together would put the City on the path toward becoming a destination where young professionals flock to live and work and where companies choose to locate. This Arts Master Plan could be a real game-changer for Saratoga Springs and I will fight tooth and nail to get the federal funds the City needs to make it a reality.”
Schumer was joined by Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen, Ed Mitzen of FingerPaint Marketing, Mike Tucker of the Center for Economic Growth and numerous members of the Saratoga arts community.
“I am incredibly grateful for the support of our United States Senator Chuck Schumer in our on-going efforts to grow the creative economy in Saratoga Springs and throughout the Capital District,” said Joanne Yepsen, Mayor of the City of Saratoga Springs. “With his leadership and support, we can build the kind of public-private partnerships we need to maximize the economic impact of our flourishing arts and culture industry.”
During his visit, Schumer said that Saratoga Springs is home to a robust creative economy that should be leveraged even further for economic development and job creation. Currently, there are 24,000 people in the Capital Region that are employed in creative industries. In Saratoga County alone, there are 5,000 local residents employed in creative industries, making Saratoga the city with the second highest concentration of creative jobs among cities of similar size in the United States. These residents are working in diverse fields, ranging from graphic design and architecture, to visual and sound media, as well as from photography and handcrafted products, to performing arts and museums. Schumer explained that the City of Saratoga Springs is home to numerous arts venues, including Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Yaddo, The Tang Museum and the National Museum of Dance, as well as The Beekman Street Arts District. It is also home to numerous live music venues such as Café Lena and The Parting Glass, as well as many companies that are putting down roots in the area in order to take advantage of the creative economy.
Schumer highlighted one local company during his visit, Fingerpaint Marketing, as an example of a new and innovative group that is looking to expand and thrive in the Saratoga area. Fingerpaint Marketing is an award-winning marketing firm that specializes in developing creative strategies for both digital and traditional marketing platforms. The company currently employs 150 people – with an average age of 29 – and credits the already burgeoning local arts scene with helping it to attract such a young, ambitious talent pool. Fingerpaint is looking to continue to grow its business and feels an even stronger creative economy in Saratoga Springs would go a long way toward helping it attract talent. Schumer said that an enhanced creative economy would help attract even more companies like Fingerpaint to open in the Saratoga area. Schumer said that people who work in creative industries are especially attracted to areas where the arts flourish, which is why growing the local arts community in Saratoga Springs would help grow the economy.
Schumer noted that many other cities around the country have been successful in building strong economies with the help of the arts and Saratoga Springs could be one of them. One example of a city that has built its economy around creative young professionals and the arts is Austin, TX. Just as the Capital Region and Saratoga County emulated and competed with Austin in the area of high-tech and semiconductors, Schumer said the region could do the same when it comes to the arts. “Keep Austin Weird” is a famous brand that instantly captures that city's cultural diversity and vibrant arts scene, and Schumer said it is something that should be replicated in Saratoga Springs. This Master Plan for the arts that the City is proposing would further allow Saratoga Springs to identify how it can expand its arts and culture offering, how it can attract young artists and young professionals, and how it can better market the community that already exists.
Schumer explained that Saratoga County and Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen are looking for ways to grow the local arts community, something Schumer said could grow the economy and attract young people to live and work in the area. In order to do this, the City of Saratoga Springs is applying for federal funds through the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) that will enable the City to develop a first-ever Arts Master Plan for Saratoga Springs. During his visit, Schumer launched his support for the plan and pledged to work with federal and local officials in order to secure the kinds of federal funds that would make this plan a reality. The proposed Master Plan for the Saratoga Springs community would help to develop ways to grow and promote the arts in all its forms in Saratoga, while also helping to create the kind of community that creative young professionals want to live and work in.
Specifically, the Master Plan would first take inventory of the existing public amenities available to the local arts community and seek public input into what amenities need to be improved or created. The goal of this plan is to better coordinate the City’s resources so that it can be branded as a major arts destination with the momentum to support growth and local jobs. Following this planning process, the City plans to develop ways it can grow and promote the arts industry and local community in Saratoga Springs in order to attract creative young professionals that will live and work in the area as well as contribute to the local economy, start businesses, and create jobs. Schumer said the City is hoping to capitalize on the momentum of the recently released Capital Region Creative Economy Report by developing a plan for a bright, art-fueled future.