Wednesday, May 21, 2008

New York State Parks, Artpark & Co. Extend Licensing Agreement

Not-for-Profit to Continue Programming Park Events Thru 2017

(Lewiston, NY) The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation today officially announced a 10-year extension of its licensing agreement with Artpark & Company to continue programming events at the Lewiston, New York venue thru December 2017. Like the previous agreement, State Parks will be responsible for maintaining park buildings and grounds.

“The entire board of Artpark & Company, Inc is very excited about the new 10 year operating agreement with New York State Parks,” said Artpark & Company Chairman Christopher H. Brown. “The accord recognizes the importance of the substantial contribution Artpark & Company has made to the quality of life in Western New York by delivering access to visual and performance art for all ages and interests. We thank Commissioner Carol Ash, and the Western New York division under Mark Thomas for their leadership, vision and courtesies extended during this process. All of us at Artpark & Company look forward to the next 10 years with great expectations for the arts in Western New York.”

“I am delighted that we have been able to reach this historic agreement with Artpark & Company. Artpark has long been a wonderful partner in delivering arts and culture offerings in Western New York and we look forward to many more years of outstanding programming. This ten year contract will allow us to develop new programs and make capital investments that will be cherished by visitors of all ages,” said NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Carol Ash.

Artpark, whose official name is “The Earl W. Brydges Artpark”, is a 150-acre New York State Park along the scenic Niagara River Gorge in the Town of Lewiston that was established by the state in 1974. Since its inception, Artpark has been a unique and renowned venue for the visual and performing arts. The park contains an indoor theater, an outdoor amphitheater, venues for artists and artisans to produce and display their works, various areas used for children’s arts activities, numerous hiking trails and other settings for wildlife recreation. It is an entertainment, educational, recreational and inspirational destination for residents and visitors to Western New York.

Details about upcoming capital improvement projects will be announced next month.

During its first twenty years, Artpark received significant funding from New York State to support its acclaimed arts programs. However, funding from the state was significantly decreased, and in 1997 control of Artpark’s programs and operations was transferred to a nonprofit organization called Artpark & Company, Inc., with the state maintaining ownership.

As part of the plan to transfer control of the operations of Artpark, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation established a license agreement with Artpark & Company, Inc. Artpark & Company, Inc. is a registered not-for-profit 501 (c) 3 Arts and Education organization.

A Board of Directors controls Artpark & Company, and also directs Artpark’s management team. Over the past ten years Artpark & Company has worked within a limited budget to continue running programs with a scope and quality that has continued to foster a positive reputation in the ever-changing marketplace of the performing and visual arts world.

Artpark’s board, management team and sponsors have created an environment that has attendance and revenues increasing each season. In 2004 Artpark became the summer home to the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and has been voted as the best outdoor venue in Western New York by Buffalo Spree for two years running. Artpark is transforming itself into a nationally and internationally renowned cultural and entertainment venue and is becoming a key asset to the tourism and economic development in New York State, namely the Buffalo/Niagara region.

Artpark continues to receive committed support from the state’s Western New York Delegation and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation. It receives financial support from both, as well as from various corporations and foundations.

Under the leadership of Artpark & Company President George Osborne since 1999, park attendance reached its highest level in more than a decade with over 220,000 visitors patronizing scheduled events last summer, while another estimated 250,000 enjoyed the trails, paths, picnicking sites and fishing areas.

Estimated Event Attendance
2002: 84,000 (persons)
2003: 103,000
2004: 133,000
2005: 161,000
2006: 190,000
2007: 220,000

2008 Season
Artpark’s 2008 Season – which includes a Mainstage production of “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast,” the BPO’s residency, big band shows, weekly concerts on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, as sculpture competition, free art activities and camps for children, a family movie night and more – gets underway on June 3. For a full schedule of events, call the Artpark Box Office at (716) 754-4375 or visit

The Earl W. Brydges Artpark is being operated by Artpark & Company, Inc. for the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation under a license agreement.

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