Chairwoman April Baskin held two recent events in October that focused on Minority Business Owners and Artists as part of her “Occupy Local Arts” agenda for her second term. Chairwoman Baskin has noted that she will look for ways to expand and rework the Minority and Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) guidelines for Erie County to create a more comprehensive law with more opportunities for minority business to contract with Erie County and close some of the loopholes that currently create barriers. A revised law should be clocked in by Spring 2020.
The first event, held on October 7th, focused on exposing and breaking down barriers many minority business owners face when securing contracts from Erie County or other governmental agencies. A diverse, expert panel, including representatives from Erie County Department of Public Works and Purchasing, were able to answer questions and offer feedback to the audience about best practices for success in these areas.
The second event, co-hosted by New York State Senator Tim Kennedy and Erie County Legislator Howard Johnson, featured an all-day format on October 26th. A grant writing workshop was held with Gwen “The Grant Lady” Curry and the latter portion allowed for questions and answers regarding minority inclusion in local arts initiatives.
Agencies who participated were: Erie County Arts Advisory Board, Buffalo Center for Art and Technology, Buffalo Arts Studio, Buffalo Public Schools, Albright Knox Art Gallery. Burchfield Penney Art Gallery, Arts Services Initiative, CEPA Gallery, Get Focused Productions, El Museo, Buffalo Society of Artists, Western New York Arts Collective
“The “Buffalo Renaissance” should reflect the people who have built these communities, those who live here, and I’m striving to make sure there is fair and equitable inclusion where minorities may have previously been underrepresented. We need to have these important conversations as elected officials so we know where to start to make things better for our local artists and business owners,” said Chair Baskin.
For more information on contracting in hiring or becoming a certified MWBE firm, please visit Erie County’s Equal Employment Opportunity website at www.erie.gov/eeo.