TICONDEROGA-Faced with dwindling resources, the Ticonderoga Festival Guild will present a much different arts program this summer.
The guild will scale back its weekly concert series in order to retain its children's Arts Trek program.
"The Arts Trek programs capture the attention and imagination of thousands of area children," said Cathie Burdick, guild director. "We feel that an ongoing program that brings out 250-300 people each week is a valuable one. The board of directors is determined to keep this program going."
The local arts group is not receiving funding from the New York State Council on the Arts this year. That's a loss of $4,000 for the Ti Festival Guild, which has provided weekly summer evening concerts the past 30 years. It has offered weekly children's arts programs the past 28 years.
Burdick said the Ti Festival Guild now has about $700 and is in need of community support. To bridge the gap the Ticonderoga Federal Credit Union stepped up to become one of the sponsors of Arts Trek with a $1,000 gift. Wal-Mart awarded a $500 grant to the guild and several other donors contributed funds early, so that winter planning could continue.
"2011, the 31st year of guild activity in Ticonderoga, is shaping up to be an interesting and exciting one," Burdick said. "The executive director always gets inspired when the planning begins. We hope people are also inspired to open their checkbooks and ensure that the children's programs continue in Ticonderoga."
People wishing to make a donation or those seeking more information about the guild can call 585-7015, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or go online at www.ticonderogafestivalguild.com
"Membership in the guild helps continue the free Arts Trek program, which serves children from the three-county area as well as those who bring them," Burdick sad. "A contingent from Heritage Commons also enjoyed the shows last year. While these shows are free for the audience, they are not free for the guild, which must meet the costs of the performers, the equipment and all the administration which goes on behind the scenes."
In order to maintain the full Arts Trek program, the guild has decided to slash its evening concert series from eight events to three.
This year's concert schedule includes Roy Hurd and Frank Orsini performing July 12, Ti Talent Night July 28 and a Ti Community Band concert Aug. 9. All will be at the Knights of Columbus pavilion.
"It was decided to offer a limited number of adult concerts, two that are usually well-attended and one that brought in outside artists," Burdick said. "This schedule also means that the guild will not lose money on these programs. Grants and donations subsidize the children's programs, but the adult programs should pay for themselves."
The Arts Trek schedule includes Yankee Doodle Magic Theater with Debbie O'Carroll July 6, A Passion for Birds with Henry Lappan July 13, Billie Goats Gruff with the Seagle Colony July 20, Drumming for You with Bob Bloom July 27, Swing Peepers ecology-music show Aug. 3 and Anti-Gravity with Mr. Fish Aug. 10. All will be at the Knights of Columbus pavilion.
The New York State Council on the Arts gave three reasons for denying funding to the local arts group, Burdick said. The programming is stale, funding lacks diversity and the lack of a guild Web site were the reasons given.
"From our point of view, those are not valid reasons," Burdick said. "They suggested we do block scheduling with other arts groups and try to schedule European performers touring the U.S. That's not practical for us. We can't afford groups like that.
"As for funding, we raise money through our program book ads, grants, individual donations, memberships and other fundraising activities," she said. "If there is more that we can do, I wish they would tell me."
The Ti Festival Guild web site was down for two weeks in early June 2010, when the funding application was being considered, Burdick said, but was operating before and has been since.