Providing grants, programs, and services to the artists and audiences of Tompkins County for over 25 years

Messages, News, Local Arts!

The staff of the Community Arts Partnership (all two of us!) have considered what it means to strengthen communities in this time of quarantine. For us, it means that we continue on with our work of amplifying the voices of our local artists, and providing grants and resources so that we all stay safe and stay connected! 
- Megan Barber (Executive Director) and Robin Schwartz (Program & Grant Director)


* Season Wishes for you from Megan Barber, Executive Director
* Succeeding Together from Robin Schwartz, Program/Grant Director

* Grantee Focus on Mee Ae Caughey and "Visceral"
* Dr. Christine Kitano is the latest Poet Laureate
* Latest "SOS" Grant Recipients Announced
* CAP Welcomes two new board members!
* Local Arts Events - updated January 25th, 2021
* Calls for Artists - updated January 25th, 2021
* Ithaca named 4th most arts-vibrant medium sized community
* In Solidarity - To End Racism


Dear CAP Family

It’s the season for celebrating light, and I for one am cherishing even the tiniest spark this year.

My sister is lighting the menorah, my neighbors have bedecked their trees with twinkling lights, my friend is getting ready to light the kinara, and my nephew is looking forward to a big bonfire on the solstice. I hope you, too, are finding ways to bring light into your hearts and homes this winter.

Art is another light in our world. An evocative song kindles a flame in our hearts. A challenging work of theater sheds light on our shortcomings. A surprising poem illuminates our way forward.

There are embers of hope all around us - in art, in community, in our own hearts. May we each make some time this season to tend these flames, and let their warmth and light guide us into the year ahead.

With all best wishes to you and your loved ones,
Executive Director, Megan Barber


Succeeding Together

One of my favorite parts of my job is administering our grant programs to local artists and organizations for artistic events, significant opportunities, and community impact. CAP has distributed of over $4.7 million since 1993!

I recently collected quotes from artists who have received our latest Specific Opportunity Stipend (SOS) for a "Thank You" to the SOS funders. I've love to share some of these wonderful quotes with you, which apply to all of our CAP supporters!
  • I am writing to thank you for your tremendous support of Tompkins County artists, and to let you know how much your influence creates practical and inspirational effects that travel far into the future and into the rest of our communities.
  • I cannot thank you enough for providing the seeds that blossom into such abundance! Not just for myself, but the many artists I meet and work with in Tompkins County who have also been supported, uplifted, and pushed forward in their work by CAP and CAP's supporters.
  • Art is made better in a community of flourishing art, and flourishing art makes a better community. I’m grateful for your commitment to make that so.
  • Art is what keeps me going in these times. I am proud of living in a community where generous supporters for the arts exist.
  • Good philanthropy is crucial in building a community of people whose collective work has an impact on our culture, our lives, our creativity, and our happiness. CAP is fortunate to have the support of forward thinking benefactors who enable them to make their amazing programs available.
Great, right?! We do good work, thanks to you! If you haven't already (or lately) donated to CAP, please join us as a Partner in the Arts HERE.
Program and Grant Director, Robin Schwartz



SOS Grant Feature

Mee Ae Caughey has received quite a few of CAP's many grants over the years in support of her career as a local dancer, choreographer, video artist, and producer of shows! She uses art as an engine to empower and bring visibility to marginalized communities, and serves as a dance documentarian for local dance performances to share with audiences via online streaming.  

And that’s just what she did with “Visceral,” a series of five outdoor solo dance performances that were video recorded and edited by Mee Ae, and prominent local filmmaker Marilyn Rivchin.
READ MORE about "Visceral," the dancers, and find links to the performances.


Dr. Christine Kitano is our next Poet Laurate

The Community Arts Partnership administers the Tompkins County Poet Laureate Program. On July 19, 2020, the Tompkins County Legislature appointed Dr. Christine Kitano as the County’s 10th Poet Laureate.

Explains Megan Barber, (E.D. of CAP), “We received nominations for eight outstanding local poets, each with unique ideas about how to put poetry in service to the community. We are so excited about Dr. Kitano’s appointment.”

In her letter nominating Dr. Kitano, Dr. Eleanor Henderson, Robert Ryan Professor in the Humanities and Chair of the Dept. of Writing at Ithaca College, praised Dr. Kitano’s commitment to equity, inclusion, and antiracism, adding “Dr. Kitano has a calm, confident way of bringing people together around language, and I could imagine her doing so again and again in the position of Poet Laureate."

Amanda Champion, Tompkins Co. Legislator, had this to say: "The talent and beauty of our community never ceases to amaze me. We’re delighted to welcome Dr. Kitano in this role and look forward to a year of poignant prose that will capture the moment and inspire us all.”

READ MORE about Dr. Kitano


Specific Opportunity Stipend - Fall 2020 Recipients

17 local artists received CAP's 2nd 2020 round of "SOS" grant funding, which supports significant opportunities that will boost their active careers.

Mandy Caughey - "Visceral," dance performances
Charity Burger - Art Club's "Art Bus" project (Image at left)
Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers - Choral work development
Ithaca Murals - Interactive app and web upgrade
Lily Gershon - Virtual puppet music videos
Kenneth McLaurin - "So You Think You're Anti-Racist" short film
Elbonee "SingTrece" McLaurin - Album, press and merch development
Priscilla Hummel - Virtual new work for Walking on Water Productions
Rachel Dickinson - Travel funds for development of new literary work
Suzanne Onodera - Development of art and exhibition "Hawaii After the War: A Story of Two Families”
John Bunge - Performance and recording of new composition, "A Canon for Reunion"
Rachel Lampert - Video of new family musical for Fitz&Startz Productions
Terry Plater - Juried solo show "Legacies of Harriet's World" in Auburn
Irina Kassabova - Participation in Contemporary Venice Art Fair in Italy
Nia Nunn - Video clips highlighting Community Unity Music Education Program (CUMEP) & The Black Consciousness Curriculum (BCC
Elisa Keeler - Completion of new album for international online teaching
Eva Capobianco - Exhibit of new series of visual art


CAP Welcomes Two New Board Members
Ritza Francois and Alexander Phillips

As a Member Relationship Manager at the Tompkins Chamber, Ritza Francois brings expertise in business development and marketing to the CAP Board along with in-depth experience supporting Tompkins County not-for-profit organizations, and small, medium, and large businesses. As far back as high school, Ritza was a Teen Academy Image Maker at the International Center of Photography in NYC, and ever since, she has been supporting artists on the front lines. At CAP, she plans on training and supporting local artists in marketing and branding, and looks forward to helping especially those in Black and marginalized communities promote themselves.

Alexander Phillips is currently a planner for the City of Ithaca, where he is integrally involved in Plan Ithaca’s Phase 2. Right now, this exciting work is focused on the Greater Southside Neighborhood Plan and the Waterfront Plan. At the same time, Alex is a natural fit with CAP because he is the Planning Division’s liaison for public art programs and public art subcommittees—in this role, he has identified multiple city-owned sites for public art projects and looks forward to better connecting CAP with urban planning in Tompkins County as well as furthering his already significant connections in the county’s artistic community. When asked for a quote, Alex gave us “A great chair is like a face...,you meet thousands but few are memorable.” -Ross Lovegrove (1997)


In Solidarity - United to End Racism

Dear CAP Family,
The CAP board and staff are committed to working in support of justice, fairness, and equity.  We commit to:

  • Reviewing our programs, services, policies, and procedures to gain a baseline understanding of where CAP stands in terms of racial equity, and then taking action;
  • Being true to the word “community” in our name, and building relationships with Black and Indigenous artists, artists of color, and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)-led organizations throughout Tompkins County;
  • Staying accountable to BIPOC-led organizations in our community, as well as to our partner arts and nonprofit organizations also committed to this work.


Ithaca named 4th most arts-vibrant medium sized community

The Arts Vibrancy Index Report, compiled by SMU DataArts, ranks more than 900 communities across the country, examining the level of supply, demand and government support for the arts in each city. And Ithaca ranked 4th most vibrant in medium-sized communities!
The findings help illustrate the critical role of the arts, both socially and economically, in cities and towns around the nation. At this historic moment, the report serves as a pre-pandemic benchmark of where the most arts-vibrant communities are located.

CAP Executive Director Megan Barber says: "The recognition of the Ithaca area as a top arts-vibrant community underscores the importance of the arts to our region, both in terms of quality of life and as an economic engine. During the pandemic, our local artists and art groups are helping people process emotion and maintain connections, and are bringing in new audiences through creative virtual and live events. The fact that Ithaca has been named the 4th most arts-vibrant community means it’s critical that all of us support this vital segment of our economy. "


Local Artistic Offerings - updated 1/25/2021
Staying Connected Locally

Hangar Theatre
February 15-19: Virtual Winter Break A Leg
Students ages 3-14 can virtually explore the world of theatre and storytelling. Learn more

The Cherry Arts
February 12 to 20. Hotel Good Luck
presents the English-language Premiere of “Hotel Good Luck.” Live-streamed from the historic State Theater in Ithaca.

Cayuga Chamber Orchestra for their upcoming season

Walking on Water Productions
Feb. 12 to 21: Comfort Food, a virtual video event, by Rachel Lampert & Larry Pressgrove, tells three separate stories of eating, entertaining, engagements.

Senior Theatre Troupe of Lifelong
Thursdays, February 4 to Feb. 25, from 2-3 pm, meet virtually for fun improv, and to create and read stories from our lives. More at To register call Lifelong 273-1511 or

Regi Carpenters
Upcoming online virtual performances.

Tompkins County Public Library
There are always many virtual events happening at the library!

State of the Art Gallery
Check out their current exhibit at

Buffalo Street Books
Check their website for upcoming writer talks.

Explore their virtual cinema at

Trumansburg Conservatory of Fine Arts
has all sorts of live events and performances!  


Artist Calls - updated 1/25/2021

A Course from Lifetime Arts on Creative Aging

Tioga Arts Council's June Exhibition, Between Starshine & Clay, An Exhibition Celebrating Artists of Color. Here's the pdf.

CERF+'s COVID-19 Relief Grant Program for Artists

Owego Arts Statewide Juried Art Exhbition

Open Call For Two New Native Artist Award Programs