The Cherry Arts Receives Major Funding Plus New Staffing 

The Cherry Arts Receives Major Funding Plus New Staffing 

In late 2018, The Cherry Arts, Ithaca's home for innovative performance, was honored to receive not one but two major grants from New York State.

In December, the 2018 Regional Economic Development Council initiative (REDC) awards announcement included a major award enabling the Cherry to "expand its Artistic Director position from a part-time, project-funded position to a full-time, salaried position." According to its website, REDC is "designed to enhance and transform the cultural and economic vitality of New York State communities through strategic, competitive grantmaking."

At the same time, on its first such application, in fall 2018 the Cherry Arts received a grant for ongoing General Operating Support from the Theater program of NYSCA (the New York State Council on the Arts), one of very few new General Operating Support grantees in a tightly-budgeted year. In awarding General Operating Support, the senior artists who serve on the NYSCA Theater panel indicated their confidence that the Cherry Arts consistently presents theater works of the highest professional quality, and that the company merits ongoing institutional funding.

The Cherry is excited to announce that with these two awards, it has been able to review its successes over the past two years, evaluate its current operating needs and transform its structure to meet future needs and continued growth. As the REDC announcement states, funding what has been a mostly-volunteer, project-funded Artistic Director position is key to "stabilizing and professionalizing the institution's organizational structure, and creating opportunities for artistic and organizational growth and development." Similarly, the NYSCA Operating Support grant has allowed the Cherry to shore-up funding for the General Manager staff position, announced in spring 2018 and held by the indispensable Laura Miller.

In addition, due to the NYSCA Operating Support funding, the Cherry is thrilled to announce the creation of a third, salaried staff position: a part-time Marketing Manager, held since January 1st by the Cherry's own Sarah Chaneles. Sarah became the Cherry's marketing intern in August 2018, and then, working under Cherry Associate Artistic Director Jennifer Herzog, she transitioned to a project-funded Marketing Coordinator. Sarah is a dynamic and creative force and we can't wait to work with her on a staff basis.

Alongside these new developments, we would like to share another change to our previous structure. Jennifer Herzog, the Cherry's Associate Artistic Director for the past three years, has announced that she will be stepping away from her staff role at the Cherry in order to dedicate her time to new artistic projects. Since originally taking on the Associate Artistic Director role in 2015, Jennifer has been a dynamic force in co-producing and marketing the Cherry's productions, and in helping to create the foundational behind-the-scenes systems that have enabled the Cherry to thrive. Jennifer has also been a beloved performer in Cherry productions including A Timedive (2015), The Snow Queen (2017) and What Happens Next (2017), the production that inaugurated the Cherry Artspace, and for which she was nominated for a Syracuse Area Live Theatre (SALT) Award for Best Actress. Additionally, Jennifer's voice was heard in central roles in both of The Cherry's acclaimed original headphone-theatre pieces: Storm Country (2016) and The Missing Chapter (2018).

Jennifer joined The Cherry after co-founding Civic Ensemble in 2012, and says she feels "deeply proud to have spent the last six years helping build two of Ithaca's most powerful new theatre companies from the ground up. I'm thrilled to branch out now and begin devoting time to independent projects." She says her new producing focus will be "newly-developed and freshly-commissioned works, as well as community events, with an emphasis on theatrical and cultural endeavors dedicated to sharing the stories of marginalized peoples." Jennifer is a member of the faculty of Ithaca College's Department of Theatre Arts, where she has taught Acting since 2010.

The Cherry Arts is deeply grateful to Jennifer Herzog for her work on behalf of the company and looks forward to continuing to work with her in her role as an active member of the Cherry Artists' Collective.

The Cherry Arts is a not-for-profit organization that supports a wide range of artists in a variety of disciplines. The company does this mainly by hosting work in the Cherry Artspace: a fresh and flexible waterfront venue that opened in September 2017 at 102 Cherry Street on the Cayuga Inlet in Ithaca. The primary focus of the Cherry's support is the Cherry Artists' Collective, a self-governing ensemble of locally-based professional artists. The Cherry Collective develops new works of performance that cannot be found anywhere else: innovative commissioned world premières, English-language premières of important new plays from around the globe, and more.

In our 2018-19 season, the Cherry Arts has announced a new Membership program, allowing patrons to become VIP members of the Cherry Arts family. Members receive advance notice of Artspace performances and events, reserved seats, free beverages, discounted Gala tickets, invitations to exclusive social events like meet-and-greets with visiting International Artists, and more surprises. Cherry Memberships can be obtained at with a donation of $75 or more.

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