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

Our News & Features!

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) & Robin Schwartz (Program & Grant Director)

Join us at our Feb. 28 Event! 

Virtual Annual Celebration of the Arts
Sunday, Feb. 28th / 7:00 to 7:40pm (short and sweet!)
Register Here

We promise you will be entertained, and inspired!

  • Welcome from John Saunders, CAP Board President
  • Thanks from Megan Barber, CAP Executive Director
  • Recognition of our 2020 grant recipients from Robin Schwartz, CAP Program & Grant Director
  • Thanks and "Masters of Movement" video from CAP grant recipients Kathy Lucas & Megan Omohundro
  • Poem by Christine Kitano, Tompkins County Poet Laureate
  • Thanks and video from CAP Grant Recipient Linda Wingerter, puppeteer and storyteller
  • Presentation of our annual "Friends of the Arts" award to the Tompkins Trust Company





Messages from CAP Staff

* Dear CAP Family from Megan Barber, Executive Director
* Succeeding Together from Robin Schwartz, Program/Grant Director

* In Solidarity - To End Racism


* Grantee Focus - Greater Ithaca Activities Center
* Dr. Christine Kitano is the latest Poet Laureate
* Latest NYSCA Grant Recipients Announced
* Latest "SOS" Grant Recipients Announced
* CAP Welcomes two new board members!
* Ithaca named 4th most arts-vibrant medium sized community



Dear CAP Family
Executive Director, Megan Barber

One of the things I love about CAP is the three words that make up our name: Community - Arts - Partnership.

Today these words are keeping me warm and grounded and I got to wondering: I love these concepts, but what are the definitions of these words? So I looked them up, and here’s what I found, via Merriam Webster:

Community: A unified body of individuals.
Arts: Painting, sculpture, music, theater, literature, etc. considered as a group of activities done by people with skill and imagination.

Partnership: The state of being a partner (a person who does or shares something with another).

That sounds pretty much like us - a community of people living in Tompkins County, working together to support and create and enjoy art!

Of these words, the word that is top of my mind today is partnership. It takes so many partners to sustain and cultivate our cultural lives. It takes artists, creative workers, teachers, parents, audience members, gallery viewers, regular people who like to make art, community facilitators, arts non-profits and for-profits, government agencies, elected officials, business sponsors, higher ed institutions, and people who give money and time to arts initiatives throughout the community (and surely there are more!).

It takes all of us working and sharing with one another to fan the embers of our individual and collective creativity.

And so I share a heartfelt thank you to each of you for your role in this partnership. If you’re reading this, then know that you (and yes, I do mean you in particular) matter to the cultural life of our community. May the threads of our interconnectedness, our creative partnership, weave a fabric that warms us all.



Succeeding Together
Robin Schwartz, Program/Grant Director

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



Latest Grantees - $60,400 for local arts programming!

Funds for the three grants below are from New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA). Every County in the State gets a chunk of money through NYSCA to re-grant with local decision making! We distribute the funds for Tompkins County.

Take a look at all the awardees! Isn't this exciting? As these events are scheduled, you'll find the dates in this monthly Artsletter in the "Local Artistic Offerings" below. And you can always sign up for the newsletters of these organizations, or join them on social media to stay tuned.

CAP's Grants for Arts Programs:
Ballet Guild: Nutcracker virtual performance
Cayuga Vocal Ensemble: Outdoor Spring Concert
Civic Ensemble: ReEntry Theatre
Cooperative Extension: “All Black Everything,” virtual arts festival featuring artists that identify as black by Kenneth McLaurin.
Cooperative Extension: “Ithaca is Black Too.” arts highlighting Ithaca’s rich Black history and culture with Kenneth McLaurin & SingTrece.
Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers: Concert Season
Downtown Ithaca Alliance: First Friday Gallery Nights & Virtual Events
Dryden Intergenerational Band & Chorus: Virtual Community Performances
Greater Ithaca Activities Center: Artists for monthly Senior Breakfasts
Groton Public Library: Family virtual performances
Ithaca Children’s Garden: Haudenosaunee performances
Ithaca Community Orchestra: Concerts season
Ithaca Gay Men’s Choir: Broadway themed performance
Latino Civic Association:  CULTURA Ithaca arts and cultural events
Newfield Public Library: Series of artistic offerings for families
Primary Performance Group: “Dancing Dialogues” performances
Southside Community Center: (sponsor for Ithaca Murals): “ReAwakening” Green Street mural by 4 Black local artists.
Southworth Library: Puppet performances and workshop
State of the Art Gallery: Monthly exhibits and juried online exhibits
State Theatre: Livestream events
Triphammer Arts: “Drive-In LIVE,” series of outdoor, live music concerts
Triphammer Arts: Moving Landscapes/Choreographers’ showcase
Triphammer Arts (sponsor for Kathy Lucas & Megan Omohundro) ”Masters of Movement, performance series with dancers of color
Village at Ithaca: “Stolen Joy,” instagram project - true stories by students of color performed by professional actors virtually
Village at Ithaca (sponsor for Circus Culture): “Circus Season on the Waterfront,” outdoor performances along the waterfront trail
Walking on Water Productions: Virtual performance of “Comfort Food” musical

Arts Education Grant
Greater Ithaca Activity Center: Tap, African Drumming/Dance, Jump & Step Cultural Exchange Program
Greater Ithaca Activity Center: Art Education and Art Instructio
Elisa Keeler: with Russell I. Doig Middle School (T-burg) Voices for Social Justice Project
Circus Culture with Village at Ithaca; Circus Learning
Leanora Erica Mims with DeWitt Middle School: Historical Quilt Project
Kenneth McLaurin with Cooperative Ext: Stories from Not Old People
Groton Recreation with Cheerful & Creative Art Studio Instruction

Artist in Community Grant
Circus Culture: “Under the Bridge,” aerial dance pieces
Elisa Keeler: Social justice music piece with Tompkins county singers
Juan Manuel Aldape Munez: New dance theater in collaboration with Latinx community members
Paulina Velázquez Solis: “A river of all ages” photography and video project with Brooktondale community

Laura Rowley: Collaborative book project with St. John’s Community Services Emergency Shelter and Friendship Center
Candace Edwards: Audio art project centering on local Black-Queer voices

Grantee Feature
Greater Ithaca Activities Center

For many years, the Greater Ithaca Activities Center (GIAC) has been awarded CAP grants for multiple programs. 

In 2021 alone, GIAC received funding from CAP's SOS grant, Arts Education Grant & Artist in Community Grant for their senior breakfast arts programming, after school programs, and more!

Whether it is studying different cultures from around the globe, training in several forms of dance, or learning technical skills for stage productions, the participants in GIAC’s projects have gained confidence and opened themselves up to new fields of interest. Despite restrictions due to COVID-19, the GIAC staff has done incredible work to ensure that the students in these programs will get the most out of their virtual experiences. READ MORE!


Dr. Christine Kitano is our new 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.