In 1994, New York State Council on the Arts formally brought together the state’s community based multi-arts centers for an annual conference
and to further articulate the needs of the field. From that initial gathering, art center leadership from across the state began the dialogue that would create a consortium, further identify its focus and define the field. NYMACC received funding from New York State Council on the Arts through Garrison Art Center as a fiscal agent in 2000 for the purpose of assessing the common needs of the field, identifying its strength as a consortium and to explore opportunities that would further the capacity of multi-arts centers. A steering committee was formed and with the continued support of NYSCA and since 2004 with the additional assistance of JP Morgan Chase Foundation, NYMACC emerged as a professional development and technical assistance membership organization with a state-wide focus.
In the Spring of 2004, NYMACC fulfilled state and federal requirements to incorporate as a 501(c) 3 nonprofit charitable organization. NYMACC engaged the services of Volunteer Lawyers of the Arts/NY and was assigned as a pro-bono client with Shearman and Stirling, NYC, and working with a consultant, a managing director and theexecutive committee. To build its own capacity, the consortium engaged the services of consultants to facilitate two retreats – one that focused on board development and board responsibilities, and a second, held early summer of 2006 that focused on strategic planning.
Also in 2004, the Architectural Circuit Rider program was created. This NYSCA funded program was designed for community-based multi-arts centers with the specialized facilities assessment services of James Vincent Czajka, A.I.A.. Mr. Czajka has worked with NYMACC since this successful program began, assessing facilities' needs, determining designs for short-term solutions and assessing feasibility for long-term capital projects.
In 2006-2007, NYMACC enhanced its funding from multiple sources, secured support for visual arts regional meetings to strengthen curatorial programs at multi-arts centers, and convened an annual conference with record attendance.
In 2008, NYMACC recruited a full-time Executive Director and successfully continued its programs,
culminating in a well-attended and well-received fall conference in Minnowbrook. However, the great recession was around the bend, and NYMACC suffered the loss of NYSCA funding and the loss of its funding from JP Morgan Chase as the corporation changed the focus of its philanthropy.
Going into 2009, with unprecedented budget cuts looming, NYMACC acted conservatively, and initiated a development plan to bridge the budget shortfall. Member organizations responded wholeheartedly and volunteered their expertise and resources as never before. The full-time Executive Director position was reduced to that of a part-time consultant, and the fall conference was scaled back to a one day gathering with a focus on capacity building, networking, and the annual business meeting.
In 2010, with restored but reduced funding, NYMACC was able to reinstate its member programs, and present another full and productive fall conference at Minnowbrook. An Interim Executive Director has been recruited to work with the board to stabilize operations and continue NYMACC’s service to the arts centers and communities of New York State.
Photo Above: Longtime NYMACC members Stuart Bigley and Martha Van Burek recall the beginnings of NYMACC.