LEWISBORO, N.Y. – Turning Lewisboro into a bastion of the arts in northern Westchester County took a step toward fruition this week when the town board unanimously passed a resolution supporting the creation of an arts council.
Peter Gross, a local musician and former town board candidate, had presented the board earlier this month with a plan to create the Lewisboro Arts Council. At the time, the board was amenable to the idea but asked Gross to do some more research as to how the council would be constructed: should it be a town agency, an independent non-profit agency or some kind of combination of the two?
“I feel a 501(c)3 non-profit is the better approach,” Gross told the board this week. “Raising funds would be much easier. There would be more flexibility putting people on the board and we could more quickly [then a town agency] act.”
Gross said taking the non-profit route would remove the town from potential monetary liabilities.
“You need it to be independent so you can step back with no fiduciary responsibility,” he told the board, “especially at a time when we are trying to make the government smaller.”
Gross also noted that getting grant money would be easier for a non-profit group rather than a municipality.
Under the current plan, the town board wouldn’t make appointments to the arts council, but would create a liaison position.
Gross said that when the news first broke that the town was considering creating an arts council, the response was overwhelmingly positive.
“People have been very encouraging,” he said. “I’ve reached out to many and got nothing but enthusiastic responses – including schools and Arts Alive and some area businesses and venues. But most encouraging is that potential funders are starting to talk about putting some money behind it.”
Supervisor Peter Parsons said he has been getting a similar reaction to the arts council plan.
“The sheer value of the praise I’ve gotten has been significant,” he said.
Deputy Supervisor Peter DeLucia said he pictured the town and the arts council working together on various projects, such as creating a theater barn at the town-owned Onatru Farm property.
“I could see an ongoing relationship,” DeLucia said. “The arts council could build it and [the town] could keep it going.”