|The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) was established by the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) in 1971 as an independent organization with the mission of “empowering artists at critical stages in their creative lives.” The Foundation’s largest funders are the NYSCA and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and it has been awarding more than $6.6 million to artists and arts organizations annually through a variety of programs.
Since 1976, NYFA’s “Fiscal Sponsorship” program has provided support for individual artists and emerging arts organizations. This is one of the largest funding programs for the arts in the US. It not only provides financial support but also offers assistance in tax affairs and applications for other funding programs. Presently, this program is supporting more than 368 artists’ projects and more than 52 organizations.
Through its “Artists’ Fellowship” launched in 1984, NYFA offers unrestricted cash grants of $7,000 to artists. This program has since distributed more than $24 million to more than 3,700 artists of New York State. Past recipients of this program include six Pulitzer Prize winners, four Tony Award winners, and fifteen MacArthur Fellows. The target genres are categorized as below. Grants are awarded in the first eight categories in odd numbered years and in the latter eight categories in even numbered years. The definition of each category is flexible and includes experimental forms, reflecting the situation of artistic activities of New York State.
Digital / Electronic Arts
Printmaking / Drawing / Book Arts
Architecture / Environmental Structures
Playwriting / Screenwriting
Another NYFA program is “Strategic Opportunity Stipends” (SOS), which accepts applications for concrete and upcoming purposes as the acronym indicates. The amount provided is rather small (from $100 to $600), but three application deadlines are set in a year. Although residents of the five boroughs of New York City are not eligible for SOS stipends, NYFA has the “Building Up Infrastructure Levels for Dance” (BUILD) program for dance companies based in New York City and the “New York Theater Program” for small and midsized producing theaters in the New York City.
There are also learning and education programs such as “MARK,” which sends NYFA crews to various places in New York State to give instruction for funding applications and self-presentations, and the “Immigrant Artist Project” that helps immigrant artists for whom it tends to be difficult to reach necessary support contacts. The NYFA’s substantial website includes the online database “NYFA Source” that not only lists funding resources but also offers information about organizations that artists can ask for assistance in emergencies such as a natural disaster during touring. The website serves more than 120,000 unique visitors monthly, while “NYFA Classifieds” offers information about arts-related jobs, events and spaces and the online magazine “NYFA Current” is available for artists to write on various issues.
NYFA also led “New York Arts Recovery Fund” in 2002 to assist recovery of the arts community in the aftermath of 9/11, distributing $4,635,000 to 135 organizations and 352 individuals. The related documentation is archived and open to the public so that other organizations can utilize them in addressing natural or manmade emergency situations.