Great Neck Arts finds Lake Success

Great Neck Arts finds Lake Success

The Village of Lake Success opted to continue its support of the Great Neck Arts Center this week by approving an annual contract with the non-profit organization, which was founded locally nearly two decades ago.

During its regular meeting on Monday, the village board of trustees voted 5-1 to appropriate $1,500 to the Great Neck Arts Center. Trustee David Milner was the lone dissenting vote.

“We always give them $1,500,” Lake Success Village Administrator Carol Pogrell said. “(At least for) the last couple years.”

The Great Neck Arts Center originally asked for an amount of $2,000 to be associated with its contract, Lake Success Deputy Mayor Stephen Lam said.

Although Lam said he was cognizant of the fact that local villages have recently withdrawn support for the Great Neck Arts Center, including the Village of Great Neck which decided not to renew its contract with the organization last week, the choice for his village to continue supporting the arts center was easy.

“I saw that some villages had opted to drop out,” Lam said. “I think we ought to continue with the same rate.”

The Great Neck Arts center was supported last year monetarily with contracts from the villages of Great Neck, Great Neck Plaza, Great Neck Estates, Lake Success and the Town of North Hempstead.

While many of the nine villages in the Great Neck peninsula have not yet voted on the 2012 contract, Great Neck Arts Center associate director Caroline Sorokoff said on Tuesday that Great Neck Plaza has joined Lake Success in its support this year.

The Village of Thomaston Board of Trustees voted during their meeting on Monday against signing a contract with the arts center.

Thomaston Mayor Robert Stern said his village has not approved the contract for the past several years.

“It’s not a donation,” Sorokoff said. “We provide different services for different villages. In some villages we provide a summer concert, which is what we do in Lake Success. In some villages we provide discounts to their residents. It’s not just like we’re asking (the villages) for a handout. It really is in the form of a contract.”

After the Village of Great Neck discontinued its support last week, Great Neck Arts Center founder and Executive Director Regina Gill said that the contract was created several years ago by the New York State Comptroller to assist art-centered not for profit organizations, while allowing municipalities to support them.

In years past, the contract stipulated that the arts center would provide a Labor Day concert for Lake Success, Sorokoff said.

But Sorokoff added that the arts center provides many more services for local residents including a free public art gallery and classes for residents of all ages through its school, along with an outreach program that works with several local school districts.

“We are one of the only places that has visual and performing arts,” Sorokoff said. “It was a very specific plan of Regina Gill’s when she founded the arts center to have a place that had all the arts under one roof because there’s a tremendous benefit to artists and people of all ages when they are exposed to the arts.”

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