Gounardes Releases Platform Supporting Arts & Literacy


Democratic State Senate candidate Andrew Gounardes yesterday released a platform aimed at supporting the arts and literacy, including the promotion of local artists and cultural groups.

Gounardes is running against Ross Barkan in the Democratic primary for the 22nd Senate District covering the neighborhoods of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach, Gravesend and parts of Sheepshead Bay, Borough Park and Midwood.

State Senate Candidate Andrew Gounardes

“Arts and culture have the power to unite, inspire, and transform,” said Gounardes. “Southern Brooklyn is home to a vibrant community of artists — writers, painters, sculptors, photographers, actors, singers, dancers, poets, and more — and we should celebrate and support them.”

Gounardes’ plan includes the following nine initiatives:

  • Leading the charge to establish Community Arts Spaces, where local artists of all different backgrounds and cultures can create, display, and perform their work

  • Supporting arts-in-education initiatives and arts programming in schools, because students who engage in the arts display improved academic performance, greater confidence, and stronger critical thinking skills

  • Fighting for better and equitable funding of local artists and cultural and artistic organizations through public and private grants

  • Protecting artists from unfair pay and royalty exploitation in the sale and resale of their works in secondary markets

  • Establishing The Neighborhood Reading Challenge, a new initiative to engage the entire community in reading a target number of books each year, promoting literacy and fostering a greater sense of community

  • Supporting local libraries with increased funding for community arts programming and foreign language resources for non-English speaking community members

  • Providing opportunities for the arts to be integrated into the fabric of community life by sponsoring neighborhood concerts, film screenings, art and photography exhibits, theatrical performances, poetry readings, dance presentations, and more

  • Supporting efforts to create partnerships between the arts and local businesses through storefront art displays

  • Highlighting southern Brooklyn’s rich architectural heritage through neighborhood walking tours and exhibits and showcasing local historical points of interest

“Art doesn’t just benefit the artist,” said Gounardes. “It benefits the community. Our local craft stores, painting and pottery shops, and bookstores are among our most treasured small businesses. Our public libraries offer valuable programs and services for all residents, especially children and seniors. Our incredible community theaters and dance troupes delight visitors from across the city with exciting performances. And many of those who come for the show stay to patronize our local restaurants.”

The primary election is Sept. 13. The winner will face State Sen. Marty Golden (R) in the Nov. 6 general election.