Since the pandemic hit last March, the Capital Region arts scene has been living in the upside down. Without a way to safely seat audiences in local venues such as the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), Proctors, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall and the Palace Theatre, arts organizations have had to pivot to all-virtual performances and deal with the ever-present dread that 2021 might bring more of the same. That, and all of the classical and rock musicians, actors, directors, crew members and stagehands that take part in the arts have been forced out of work. It’s a dire situation, to say the least.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says he’s listening—and has a solution. In his annual State of the State address, which he presented virtually on January 12, Cuomo said that the state needed to bring back the arts and announced the launch of the “New York Arts Revival,” a public-private partnership to bring the arts back. “Almost no one has been hurt more by COVID than our artists,” said Cuomo, noting that the arts account for nearly 500,000 jobs in the state and generate $120 billion.
The “revival” will consist of a series of pop-up performances and exhibitions from more than 150 artists across the state beginning on February 4. To help kick off the series, Cuomo name-checked comedians Amy Schumer and Chris Rock in the same breath as the Albany Symphony Orchestra, which late last year received its fifth Grammy nomination in seven years. “This groundbreaking initiative will help revive the arts while celebrating New York’s resiliency and recovery from the COVID pandemic,” said Cuomo.
It has yet to be announced when the Albany Symphony’s pop-up concert will take place and where it will be held, but its 2021 schedule is already live here.