New York Foundation for the Arts: New York City Grants

OVERVIEW: The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) provides artists and art organizations with cash grants, fiscal sponsorship, online resources, and professional development training. Each of these programs has its own set of guidelines and deadlines, but nearly all forms of art are considered for funding.

IP TAKE: NYFA puts a great deal of the focus on individual artists, so arts organizations really need to stand out to get noticed. NYFA provides over $650,000 annually in grants to individuals pursuing artistic excellence

PROFILE: For artists living in New York City, it can be a struggle to survive, let alone establish a career. Since 1971, the New York Foundation for the Arts has been addressing that issue, "empowering artists at critical stages in their creative lives."

The foundation’s signature Artist's Fellowships Program provides unrestricted, individual awards to New York artists each year. The $7,000 grants are awarded in 15 arts disciplines. Each year a total of approximately 95 awards are made in 5 discipline categories (these categories rotate on a triennial basis). For example, crafts/sculpture and poetry were funded one year, and painting and video/film the next. 

These awards are cherished in the arts community, and many past grantees have gone on to notable careers in the arts. Acclaimed film director Spike Lee received a Fellowship early in his career, and many NYFA fellows have earned esteemed awards for their work in music, fiction, poetry, and visual arts, including Academy Awards, Emmy Awards, Tony Awards, MacArthur Fellowships and Pulitzer Prizes.

NYFA offers national and international residencies to artists in all disciplines. The funder also partners with visual, performing, and literary arts organizations and institutions to send artists to other places around the world. Artist Fellowships are administered with support from New York State Council on the Arts, the governor's office, and the New York State Legislature. The Basil H. Alkazzi Award for Excellence provides $40,000 to two New York painters. 

This arts philanthropy has provided in the past programs for entrepreneurial training, classified ads, curatorial services, mock jury panels, immigrant resources, and fiscal sponsorship. However, this is not a one-size-fits-all foundation to which you can simply submit a generic application form. For arts organizations in New York City, you're best off starting in the "Awards and Grants" portion of the "Programs" section. This is where you'll find a list of current projects the foundation is funding. 

One of the best ways to keep up with what the foundation is doing is by subscribing to the NYFA Newsletter, which offers insights into who is getting funded and what events are important to the foundation. 

The program officers also make themselves accessible via email to grantseekers, so your best bet is to contact the most relevant officer directly. If you have general inquiries about the foundation or the specific program areas, you can also call 212-366-6900.


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