Funding to remain flat for Erie County's major cultural agencies

Posted at 7:07 PM, Dec 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-07 19:07:38-05

Cultural institutions in Erie County and across the state and the nation, have taken a hit during the pandemic.

Places like the Buffalo Museum of Science saw more than a 50 percent decrease in attendance in 2020 compared to 2019. It was closed from March until July.

Museum President and CEO, Marisa Wigglesworth said she was forced to cut nearly half of all part time and full time employees.

It will again receive $955,000 from the county for the second year in a row.

“We’re going to take that incredible funding and do as much and generate as wide an impact for the people of Erie County as possible.”

The top five cultural agencies that receive the most county funding are the Buffalo Zoo, the Buffalo Museum of Science, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society. Each expect to survive the pandemic.

Zoological Society of Buffalo
2020: $1,500,000
2021: requested $2,000,000 receiving: $1,500,000

Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences
2020: $955,000
2021: requested: $960,000 receiving: $955,000

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Society
2020: $926,000
2021: requested $950,000 receiving: $926,000

Albright-Knox Art Gallery
2020: $575,000
2021: requested: $603,750 receiving: $575,000

Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society
2020: $417,000
2021: requested: $417,000 receiving: $417,000

Funding for each will remain flat in 2021.

That sounds concerning during a pandemic when many are looking for additional dollars. But Buffalo Zoo CEO Norah Fletchall said they’re grateful for the county’s support.

It only makes up about 20% of the Zoo’s budget. 80% comes from sales, donations, and fundraisers.

“Do we need more? Yes we do. But, we recognize every small business is facing huge challenges,” Fletchall said.