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What you need to know for 08/21/2017

Fund raising needed to keep City Ballet at SPAC, and it's possible

Fund raising needed to keep City Ballet at SPAC, and it's possible

*Fund raising needed to keep City Ballet at SPAC, and it's possible *A black's perspective on Martin

Fund raising needed to keep City Ballet at SPAC, and it’s possible

Two weeks after the residency by the New York City Ballet (NYCB) at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), and after a week filled with National Ballet of Canada performances -- I am more concerned than ever that City Ballet will be lost to our region.

Many people would ask why it matters. These people believe that other ballet companies are "good enough" and they're less expensive to present. Some say that the diversity that's now being shown is more interesting and they're glad to see a change. Here's the problem. The new dance companies won't show a profit, either. Dance only survives in the United States by fund raising and supplementing ticket sales with grants, foundation dollars and by hosting creative events.

For those who only tangentially enjoy dance or who don't like it at all, an argument over who appears at SPAC is moot. They just don't care. But, overall, there are bigger issues at stake than preferences in entertainment. Saratogians take pride in their city -- on being top-notch; having the oldest, most charming race track with the best horses racing there; the most desirable real estate in the area; a thriving downtown; a beautiful state park; and even a sheik who lives among us.

SPAC has played an integral part in creating that prosperity, partially through the popular events featured there but, also, by the prestige associated with being home to NYCB and the Philadelphia Orchestra, two companies considered among the best in the world. Why would we choose to jeopardize that excellence and replace it with "good enough?"

The answer to keeping Saratoga "the summer home of the New York City Ballet" is simple. It's hard work -- but it's simple. In a word, the answer is money. Fund raising for arts residencies is done successfully all over the United States. We have a large advantage here in that the organization we want to support, NYCB, is famous. It has historically important credentials and many dedicated donors who see the value in NYCB's goals of both preserving its Balanchine repertory while, at the same time, creating new works by the best choreographers.

The company is financially successful and the envy of every dance organization struggling to stay alive. One million dollars, the figure quoted as the amount needed to bring NYCB back each summer, is not an impossible number.

Area residents shouldn't be expected to raise it, however, especially considering the many national foundations that exist solely for the purpose of shoring up ailing arts venues. The money must be sought through grant applications, and proposals with NYCB's name and reputation attached to them bear a better-than-average chance of success.

Lisa Mehigan


A black’s perspective on Martin verdict cartoon

In answer to John Hanshaw's July 22 letter ["Column on trial verdict far superior to cartoon"], the truth hurts, doesn't it?

The cartoon was in great contrast to Richard Cohen's July 17 column because Mr. Cohen has probably not been followed in a store, pulled over for "driving while black," had his parents give him "the talk" around age 13, or stopped and frisked, heard the doors lock on cars or followed by a creepy man in the dark, who was told not to.

Why didn't George Zimmerman stay in his car? Why didn't he tell Trayvon Martin who he was? If he was the neighborhood watch, why didn't he know the name of the only three streets in his neighborhood?

How do you chase someone, then when that scared person starts to defend himself, he is at fault?

My dad, right here in Schenectady around 1964, was driving home from his second job (to pay to send his four children to college) around midnight [when he] was pulled over by the police, dragged out of his car, thrown against a wall, spread eagle and questioned as to why he was out!

Mr. Cohen needs to live in a black man's shoes for one month and his column may have matched the cartoon. The cartoon was correct. Zimmerman did get away with murder. He should have just stayed in his car.

Diane Sanders Hombach


Tell politicians that it’s campaign reform or else

In response to Steve Keller's July 21 Viewpoint ["Legalized bribery"] regarding campaign financing reform, it's pretty clear that our current system of financing is out of control, and Mr. Keller's voice is right on target.

It is especially vexing to know Gov. Cuomo can get things done when he has a mind to, but seems to make little effort with regard to this particular reform. Mr. Keller advises, and I agree, that "we need to make politicians pay a cost at the polls ... if they don't support campaign reform..."

But let's not wait until the elections. Why not make our opinions known to them now, by letter, by phone, by newspaper submissions? Tell them now that they will not have a future with us unless they change.

Jerry Bohem


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