Commemorating Women’s Suffrage: The New-York Historical Society’s Battle for the Ballot

The Battle for the Ballot, Courtesy of the New-York Historical Society

This year, NYSCA honors the New York State Women’s Suffrage Centennial. Through our Regional Economic Development Council Program, we have provided FY2017 grants to organizations that are commemorating the occasion through their programs. In addition, on this blog, we will regularly pay tribute to grantees who honor the Centennial and showcase the impact of women in New York State arts and culture.

We spoke with Mia Nagawiecki, Vice President for Education at the New-York Historical Society about the exhibition The Battle for the Ballot: The Centennial of Women’s Suffrage in New York​, which is on view on Governors Island through October 15. Supported by REDC funding, this teen-curated exhibition commemorates the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote in New York State. Visitors learn how the women’s suffrage movement developed from the monumental Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 to the parades, protests, and coalition-building that won women the vote in 1917 and continues to influence political organizing today. NYSCA also supports the New-York Historical Society through our Museum Program.

Entrance to The Battle for the Ballot, Governor’s Island, Courtesy of the New-York Historical Society

The New-York Historical Society has demonstrated a strong commitment to women’s roles in history this year, with the opening of the Center for Women’s History in the spring and now the Battle for the Ballot. What inspired the creation of this exhibition?

We believe history learning happens most powerfully when people see themselves reflected in the past. Women are, and have always been, half the population of our nation, but traditional histories dedicate far less than half their attention to the perspectives, experiences, and contributions of women and girls. Our new Center for Women’s History, which inspired this exhibition, works to help everyone appreciate that women’s history is American history.

So, we have had the importance of women’s history on the front of our minds, and 2017 is the centennial of New York State women gaining the right to vote. This exhibition highlights New York’s role in women gaining suffrage, at both the state and national level, through the actions of the suffragists who worked to achieve the vote. We hope it contributes to making history feel more personal and relevant to New Yorkers, and to all visitors.  We are grateful to the New York State Council on the Arts for their generous support of this project and for shining a light on the history of women’s suffrage in New York to commemorate the centennial.

This show provides a remarkable opportunity for young curators to get involved with the museum. Why it was important to have this exhibition teen-curated?

Our teen curators brought a fresh perspective to the topic and really wanted to challenge the version of history that makes its way into the textbooks and, therefore, the national memory.

They came into the project with a great interest in presenting traditionally under-represented peoples and stories: the experiences of African Americans, Chinese-Americans, the working-class, the poor, socialists, etc.; and the numerous, complex barriers to women getting the vote.

They were especially interested in learning the various reasons people were for and against women having the right to vote and making connections to issues that exist today. We found it particularly compelling how much the teens were interested in the more radical activists as well as exploring the anti-suffrage arguments of the period. This was completely guided by their interest and was something we hadn’t anticipated, and it added a lot to the exhibition.

The Battle for the Ballot on Governor’s Island, curated by teens. Courtesy of the New-York Historical Society.

Are there any lesser-known suffragettes or unusual artifacts we should be on the lookout for?

Dr. Mabel Lee is probably the most “unknown” figure in the show. She was a leader based within New York’s Chinatown who advanced the conversation of suffrage within the Chinese and Chinese-American communities.  Some other figures who are lesser-known today but were quite prominent during their time are Victoria Woodhull, Rose Schneiderman, Clara Lemlich, Leda Richberg-Hornsby, and Ida Blair.

In 1916, Leda Richberg-Hornsby piloted a biplane called the Suff Bird, accompanied by Ida Blair. They planned to “bomb” President Woodrow Wilson with pro-suffrage leaflets as he sailed his yacht down the Hudson River, en route to the illumination of the Statue of Liberty. Unfortunately, near-gale force winds forced them to crash land in a swamp on Staten Island before they were able to carry out their feat. Their commitment to the cause is remarkable, and there were many other women who were just as passionate, even if they couldn’t pilot planes. Richberg-Hornsby was the first female pilot to graduate from the Wright Flying School in Dayton. The exhibition features a photograph of these brave New York suffragists and tells their story.

Teens created a chalkboard to prompt discussion related to The Battle for the Ballot, Courtesy of the New-York Historical Society

 How have the Teen Leaders and visitors responded to the exhibition and its resonance today?

There have been many great conversations in which people in the gallery are drawing parallels to various issues that are a part of the political discourse today, such as voter disenfranchisement, institutional racism, the challenges in creating inclusive grassroots movements, workers’ rights, and more.

The teens included a chalk board wall in the exhibition design, where visitors can respond to prompts that change from week-to-week, giving  visitors a voice in the space. One prompt that sticks out was “What is feminism to you?” The teens chose this knowing that the term has come to mean many things, both positive and negative, and the responses from visitors reflected that.

This exhibit exemplifies the strength and perseverance it requires to make a change for what is right. How do you want this exhibition to inspire young people – and audiences overall – today?

We hope this exhibition shows New Yorkers and Americans of all ages that it takes a lot of people working together to make change possible, and that it does not happen overnight.

Our narrative begins in 1848 with the Declaration of Sentiments, the document that came out of Seneca Falls, the first women’s rights convention in the United States. Only one of the signers would live to see universal suffrage become a reality in the United States 72 years later (though she was confined to her bed on Election Day and unable to cast a ballot). The ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920 was the result of generations of activism, which culminated in traditionally disparate groups, such as the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, the Grange, the Federation of Women’s Clubs, and the National American Woman Suffrage Association, working together to realize a larger goal.

It is crucial for all of us, as citizens, to be open to having conversations across divides, to work toward a goal that might not have immediate return, and to be dedicated to shaping our democracy into whatever each of us thinks a “more perfect Union” is.

NYSCA hosts guest speakers Fred Dixon, Emily Rafferty and Cristyne Nicholas

Fred Dixon, President and CEO, NYC & Company, Emily Rafferty, Chairman, NYC & Company, Dr. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, Chair, New York State Council on the Arts, Cristyne Nicholas, Chair, New York State Tourism Advisory Council

On October 4, 2017, NYSCA hosted a Council Meeting in which we reviewed a portion of FY2018 applications and welcomed three exceptional guest speakers, Fred Dixon, President and CEO, NYC & Company, Emily Rafferty, Chairman, NYC & Company, and Cristyne Nicholas, Chair, New York State Tourism Advisory Council, who shared valuable insights into the vital role of the arts and culture in New York State tourism.

We are immensely grateful to our speakers and our Chair Dr. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel for an inspiring discussion and look forward to continuing to share news of New York’s cultural tourism highlights here on the NYSCA Network.

NYSCA Today: FY18 Grant Review, Grantee Fall Events

On October 3, 2017, the New York State Council on the Arts meets to review the recommendations for Fiscal Year 2018 grants from their Performing, Literary & Visual Arts Committee, and Multi-disciplinary Arts Committee; these two Committees will make recommendations in eleven program areas. To highlight the importance of the panel and committee review process, NYSCA Chair Dr. Barbaralee Diamonstein- Spielvogel noted:  “In 2017, more than 1,900 grants went to 1,200 organizations directly, and another 1,300 were reached through regrants for a total of 2,500 organizations in all 62 state counties. NYSCA is proud that our support enables citizens throughout New York State to access significant cultural programs, representing diverse fields and media, and presented in extraordinary locale.. . . .We urge all New Yorkers, residents, visitors, tourists, and travelers to visit new venues, and explore and enjoy the rich and ever-changing diversity of the arts across New York State.” To provide a window into the diversity of the arts in our state, a small sample of upcoming events – supported by NYSCA’s Fiscal Year 2017 funding,  – appear below, along with links.

We at NYSCA urge all of you to enjoy the fruits of these fine efforts during the beautiful fall season throughout our state.


Adirondack Mountain Music & Dance

Camp Sagamore

October 3rd-6th

Great Camp Sagamore, a National Historic Landmark, operates as a unique setting for artist residencies, conferences, performances, and traditional recreational activities. This showcase of authentic folk dancing, singing, and song writing will be led by John Kirk, Trish Miller, Dan Berggren, and the legendary Adirondack storyteller Bill Smith. With the partnership of Road Scholar, an educational travel organization, this series of programming curates historical experiences for everyone in the family.

Events take place from October 3 at 4 p.m. to October 6 at 10 a.m., Sagamore Rd., Raquette Lake,


American Panorama: The Hudson River School

Arnot Art Museum

Through November 16th

Opened in 1913, the Artnot Art Gallery, a restored Greek-Revival home built in 1833, has acquired an impressive portfolio of American art. The museum’s mission is to actively integrate community and educational programming into exhibitions, and to support the development of a regional arts network in the Southern Tier. This comprehensive exhibit of the legendary artists of the Hudson River Valley showcases the distinct heritage of 19th century New York artists, in the beautiful and historic Arnot Gallery.

Tuesdays-Fridays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., 235 Lake St., Elmira, admission $7, $5 seniors and college students, free for children 18 and under,


Born in 1685: GF Handel, JS Bach, D. Scarlatti

Long Island Baroque Ensemble Series

October 21st-22nd

The Long Island Baroque Ensemble, founded in 1972, features a repertoire of rarely heard and unpublished works along with period favorites. The ensemble duplicates the sounds and ambience of times gone by with concerts of early music performed on replicas of period instruments, in historic churches in Suffolk County. Join the group as they kick off their season with a selection of pieces from the leading composers of the Baroque period.

October 21, 7:30 p.m., St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, 30 Brooksite Drive, Smithtown, October 22, 3 p.m., Christ Church, 61 East Main St., Oyster Bay, $30, $15 students, free for children 10 and under,


The Battle for the Ballot

New York Historical Society

On View through October 15th.

The New York Historical Society’s teen-curated exhibition Battle for the Ballot marks the centennial of women gaining the right to vote in New York State. On view on Governor’s Island until October 15th, the exhibition traces the evolution of the women’s suffrage movement from the landmark Seneca Falls Convention of 1848 to the protests, parades, and solidarity that coalesced in 1917. The show’s collection contains historical photographs and artifacts that have been thoughtfully and expertly presented and explained.

Saturdays and Sundays, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., free admission,


Freedom Wall

Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Currently on view

The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, one of the oldest public art institutions in the United States, has partnered with the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority and the Michigan Street African-American Heritage Corridor to break ground on a grassroots community art initiative. Nearly thirty subjects, including Shirley Chisholm, Malcolm X, and W.E.B. DuBois are depicted by artists John Baker, Julia Bottoms-Douglas, Chuck Tingley and Edreys Wajed.

On view at Michigan Ave. and East Ferry St., Buffalo,


Smart People

Geva Theatre Center

Playing October 5th-October 22nd

The Geva Theatre Center in Rochester is one of the best-attended regional theatres in the state. Their commitment to unique, community-oriented, and quality theater programming make them both a destination and an institution within the region. Their current production, written by Lydia Diamond and produced by the Kitchen Theatre Company of Ithaca, is a wry and incisive play that manages to address topical and sensitive cultural issues with a sense of humor. Smart People’s run begins October 5th, and will be in production until October 22nd.

Tuesdays through Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 3 p.m., 75 Woodbury Blvd., Rochester, $30-$35,


Wright at 150 Lecture Series

Darwin Martin House

Lectures are scheduled through October 13th

The Martin House in Buffalo was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for his close friend and patron Darwin Martin. It exists today as a museum and complex to showcase the famous architect’s work and provide scholars with the opportunity and materials to study his legacy. The lecture series features six visiting curators from the retrospective exhibit at MoMA, with the final lecture on October 13th.

Lectures at 7 p.m. October 6 and 13, tours scheduled Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 125 Jewett Parkway, Buffalo, lectures $25-$100, admission $19-37, with discounts for seniors, students and members,


Catskill Jazz Factory

Bard College: The Richard B. Fisher Center

Performance on October 7th

The Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, designed by Frank Gehry, demonstrates Bard’s commitment to performing arts as an educational and cultural necessity. This institution helps to attract leading artists from around the world to the Hudson Valley region, and provides the space and resources for students and artists alike to develop their skills and creativity. This fall, the Fisher Center will have the opportunity to host jazz titan Fred Hersch and his protégé Sullivan Fortner on Saturday, October 7th for a double piano concert featuring compositions by Hersch, Cole Porter, Thelonious Monk, and more.

7:30 p.m., Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, $25-50,


Water Way welcomes World Canals Conference with inspired video art

This month, art provides a fascinating window into the history, essential role and beauty of canals around the world.

In honor of the Erie Canal Bicentennial, the World Canals Conference will be held in Syracuse and will feature the special exhibition Water Way. The exhibition will showcase short films focusing on canal life and culture by young artists from New York State, Scotland, Belgium and Italy. Initiated and supported by NYSCA in partnership with the Urban Video Project, Water Way will be projected on the Everson Museum’s façade September 24-28.

Check out the videos below:

For more ways to ring in the Bicentennial, check out our Erie Canal calendar to find upcoming events near you, including the Corning Museum of Glass’ GlassBarge at the World Canals Conference and the SS Columbia Project in Waterford.

NYSCA in the News

“Cirque du Fringe: MIRACLE CURE” performs inside The Cristal Palace Spiegeltent at the KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival. Photo by Erich Camping.

This week, NYSCA grantees welcome thousands to a 500-performance, 10-day festival, announce new leadership, complete a mural showcasing Civil Rights leaders and more.

Rochester Fringe ready to open with ‘Big Bang’ in our night sky

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

The 10-day KeyBank Rochester Fringe Fest, which includes 500 performances at 31 venues opened Thursday.  The festival has “grown dramatically in its first five seasons, drawing 68,000 people last year.” New at the Fringe this year is the Immersive Igloo, “a 40-foot dome of soothing light show and surround sound, created by a Rochester native now living in New York City, Tom Montagliano.” Additional highlights include:

  • Rochester’s Garth Fagan company
  • PUSH Physical Theatre
  • Labyrinth, in which the Biodance company teams up with Eastman School of Music musicians at the Rochester Museum & Science Center’s Strasenburgh Planetarium
  • Plasticiens Volants, “the French outdoor theater company that fills the night air with surreal inflatables bathed in projected light and moving to a thumping tribal jazz soundtrack in Big Bang”

“Plasticiens Volants has been active for more than 40 years, but this show, and a previous Sept. 2 performance at Artpark in Lewiston, Niagara County, mark  the debut of the group in the United States. It has been a part of many high-profile events, including last year’s Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.” NYSCA supports the Rochester Fringe Festival through our Presenting Program.

Viviana Bianchi named BCA’s 5th executive director

Bronx Times

“The Bronx Council on the Arts, a non-profit focusing on locally-based arts, artists and programing, appointed Viviana Bianchi as its new executive director after a six-month search…’I believe in the power of arts to change and impact communities,’ she said…She added: ‘My goal is to make BCA the place to go for the arts.’…Bianchi…plans on collaborating with the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs on a new cultural plan, engaging in ‘creative placemaking’ where artists work on meaningful social projects to improve communities and working with the Westchester Square Business Improvement District. Charles Rice-González, BCA co-chair, stated that Bianchi’s passion for artists and the arts would elevate BCA’s voice as an artist advocate. She came to the position from Mindbuilders, another borough-based organization that provides artistic [programming,] as well as sports activities for youth. She has extensive non-profit and arts experience in organizations in Florida, Washington D.C. and New York and in her native Argentina.” NYSCA supports the Bronx Council on the Arts through our State & Local Partnerships Program.

Freedom Wall welcomes visitors to Buffalo’s African American Heritage Corridor


“Buffalo is marking the completion of its latest public art project, a mural depicting 28 civil rights leaders. The Freedom Wall is located at the entrance to the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor at East Ferry Street. It was painted by four Buffalo artists as part the Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s Public Art Initiative, which integrates art into public spaces. The work was painted over the course of the summer by John Baker, Julia Bottoms-Douglas, Chuck Tingley and Edreys Wajed, each a native of Buffalo who lives and works in the region and holds a degree from Buffalo State College. They were chosen to create the mural through input at a number of community meetings… Among the leaders whose portraits fill the wall are national figures such as Rosa Parks and Malcolm X, as well as prominent Buffalo politicians George K. Arthur and Arthur Eve. Additional figures are Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Toure), Mama Charlene Caver Miller, William Wells Brown, King Peterson, Angela Davis, Bill Gaiter, Alicia Garza, Al-Nisa Banks, W. E. B. Du Bois, Eva Doyle, Huey P. Newton, Shirley Chisholm, Frank Merriweather, Martin Luther King Jr., Mary B. Talbert, Rev. J. Edward Nash Sr., Dr. Lydia T. Wright, Frederick Douglass, Dr. Monroe Fordham, Thurgood Marshall, Fannie Lou Hamer, Minnie Gillette, Marcus Garvey and Harriet Tubman. A community celebration marking completion of the project was held Sunday.” NYSCA supports the Albright-Knox Art Gallery through our Museum Program and the Regional Economic Development Council initiative.

‘Breaking Bad’ actor, Arthur Miller’s daughter among Woodstock Film Festival highlights

Poughkeepsie Journal

“Appearances by actor Giancarlo Esposito from television’s ‘Breaking Bad’ and Arthur Miller’s daughter Rebecca will highlight the 2017 Woodstock Film Festival, a cinematic extravaganza that this year will feature nearly two dozen films by female directors. The 18th annual Woodstock Film Festival will be held Oct. 11-15 in Woodstock, Rhinebeck, Rosendale, Kingston and Saugerties. The festival’s annual Focus on Music program will include the New York premiere of the musical ‘Stuck.’ The film stars Esposito who, along with other cast members, will participate in a question-and-answer session following an Oct. 11 screening at the Woodstock Playhouse. Esposito and his fellow cast members will also perform songs from the film’s score. Rebecca Miller’s film about her famous father will be shown on Oct. 15 at the Woodstock Playhouse. ‘Arthur Miller: Writer’ is the festival’s closing night film and Miller will participate in a question-and-answer session following the screening…The 2017 Woodstock Film Festival will feature four world premieres, five North American premieres, one U.S. premiere, 20 East Coast premieres and nine New York premieres. The film festival’s centerpiece films are ‘Last Flying Flag,’ directed by Richard Linklater, who also directed ‘Before Sunrise’ and ‘School of Rock;’ and ‘The Square,’ directed by Ruben Östlund.” NYSCA supports the Woodstock Film Festival through our Electronic Media & Film Program.

HERE Was There and Will Surely Endure

Chelsea Now

“[In 1993] in Lower Manhattan, something wonderful happened. Two Downtown theatre companies, Tiny Mythic and the Home for Contemporary Theatre and Art, joined forces to create HERE Arts Center. The 2017-2018 season will be HERE’s 25th, which means the company will be celebrating its Silver Anniversary — no small feat given the failure rate of small arts organizations. ‘It was just a raw space when we found it,’ said co-founder Kristin Marting, of their location at 145 Sixth Ave. ‘It was 13,000 square feet of storage, full of refrigerators and appliances, with a loading dock. We had to gut and rehab the whole space ourselves, and our family and friends, with just sweat equity.’… Initially an organization with a $350,000 annual budget, that number has grown nearly sixfold. Once entirely volunteer based, HERE now employs nine full-time and nine part-time staff members. Equally impressive is the high quality of the work the company has produced over the past quarter century — including such groundbreaking productions as the premiere of Eve Ensler’s ‘The Vagina Monologues,’ Basil Twist’s ‘Symphonie Fantastique,’…Young Jean Lee’s ‘Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven,’ …[and] Taylor Mac’s ‘The Lily’s Revenge’… Other artists with a close association with the space have included Labyrinth Theater Company, Elevator Repair Service, Target Margin Theater, and The Talking Band.” NYSCA supports HERE through our Presenting and Theatre Programs.


Arts Ed Week: New Arts Learning Standards for New York State

Coinciding with National Arts in Education Week, we have news from the New York State Education Department: the Board of Regents has approved revised New York State Learning Standards for the Arts. For artists and organizations involved in arts education, these revised standards and accompanying resources can be a valuable guideline in your work. You can use them to refer to benchmarks on what students should be able to do in a specific arts discipline at a certain grade level, seek guidance in how to think about the artistic learning process, or look for inclusion strategies.

The new NYS Arts Standards are based around 4 artistic processes: Creating, Performing/Producing/Presenting, Responding, and Connecting. These processes are common to all arts disciplines.

The arts standards are supported by a variety of discipline-based instructional resources, such as the Conceptual Framework, Enduring Understandings, Essential Questions, discipline-specific glossaries, and an Implementation Guide to support administrators, parents, teachers and guidance counselors unpack the standards. These can be found at and .


NYSCA in the News

This week, NYSCA grantees launch a jam-packed theater season in Buffalo, kick off an intriguing fall arts schedule in Albany, and more.

Raising the curtain on the 2017-18 theater season

The Buffalo News

“Every year, as the new theater season approaches, observers of the scene ask themselves the same question: How long can Buffalo’s great theatrical growth spurt last? It’s been going on long enough — two decades and counting — that you can hardly call it a spurt anymore…This season, local professional and semi-professional companies, as well as road houses like Shea’s Performing Arts Center, will mount more than 100 productions. Excluding the inevitable last-minute additions, the season currently features 44 dramas, 33 musicals, 13 comedies and seven shows for children.” Upcoming NYSCA grantee productions include MusicalFare Theatre’s “Peter Pan” prequel “Peter and the Starcatcher,” Road Less Traveled Production’s mysterious drama “John” by Annie Baker, Alleyway Theatre’s musical horror comedy “Killer Rack,” Noel Coward comedy “Design for Living” at Irish Classical Theatre Company, and 600 Highwaymen’s “The Fever” as part of Torn Space Theatre’s Response Festival.

‘What a Wonderful World’ milestone celebrated at Louis Armstrong House Museum


“Louis Armstrong had countless hits across his storied career, but none more popular than the enduring jazz classic “What a Wonderful World.” Armstrong didn’t write the song, but his handwritten version of it is on display at the Louis Armstrong House Museum as part of a special exhibition marking its 50th anniversary. The exhibit also features photos, sheet music from the recording and other related artifacts for fans to enjoy…Recorded in 1967, “What a Wonderful World” celebrated peace and love at a time when the country was badly divided by the Vietnam War and protests…Museum officials say he didn’t like the song at first.  He wasn’t thrilled with the music, but once he saw the words, the song became personal. “He realized that it was all he felt about Corona, his neighborhood,” said Adriana Filstrup of the Louis Armstrong House Museum. “So that’s why he choose to sing this song, to make it his.”…Armstrong and his wife Lucille bought this modest house on 107th Street in 1943, and he lived here until his death in 1971. It is now a national landmark.” NYSCA supports the Louis Armstrong House Museum through our Museum Program.

Brooklyn Book Festival Starts Monday, September 11th


“The Brooklyn Book Festival (BKBF) and Brooklyn Book Festival Literary Council has released the complete schedule for a full week of Literary Events beginning Monday, September 11 and culminating in Children’s Day (Saturday, September 16) and Festival Day (Sunday, September 17)…the week kicks off with iconic artist, performer and author Patti Smith presenting her new book Devotion at St. Ann and the Holy Trinity Church…The flagship 14-stage Festival Day is New York City’s largest free literary event, attracting tens of thousands each year. This year’s festival features more than 300 writers of beloved works of fiction and nonfiction, poetry and graphic novels who will participate in panels, readings and other creative performances. Attendees are welcome to take a stroll through the vibrant outdoor Literary Marketplace, hosting more than 200 independent booksellers and publishers. This year’s Festival themes address pressing contemporary social and literary topics from refugees and immigration to music writing, science fiction and the always relevant topic of love.” NYSCA supports the Brooklyn Book Festival through our Literature Program.

Youtheatre: Class Acts brings live performance to children for 25 years

The Journal

“During the last 2½ decades, the Ogdensburg Command Performances Youtheatre: Class Acts program has presented approximately 400 live stage productions to more than 340,000 elementary and secondary students at schools across the north country…This year’s 25th season of the Youtheatre program has been expanded to 24 performances consisting of six productions in the four school districts of Gouverneur, Massena, Ogdensburg and Salmon River…“We’re adding an additional venue in Franklin County which enables us to reach the Akwesasne population,” said [OCP Administrator Sally F.] Palao. “And we’ll present ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ to two additional high schools in Massena and Gouverneur.’”… Mrs. Palao said this year’s 25th season marks an obvious milestone for the Youtheatre program, which had a difficult season last year because of budget cuts…The OCP Youtheatre program is unique, according to Mrs. Palao, because it enables students from across the north country to attend professional stage productions during the school day. Ogdensburg, Massena, Gouverneur and Salmon River schools are chosen as the base for the performances because the school campuses have the largest auditoriums. Students from other, smaller districts are then bused from the respective schools to the larger venues on performance days. The cost is shared by Youtheatre, the St. Lawrence-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services and local districts.” NYSCA supports OCP through our Presenting Program.

Fall arts guide

Albany Times-Union

The Albany Times-Union’s fall arts guide celebrates the Capital Region’s flourishing scene. NYSCA grantees featured include Proctors, whose Festival of South African Dance will showcase the politically charged Pantsula form—quick, syncopated stepping set to pop, electronic, techno or house music, frequently used as a medium for speaking out against apartheid and socioeconomic injustice; Hudson Hall, which will offer a rare performance of Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thomson’s opera “The Mother of Us All” about the life of Susan B. Anthony; Capital Repertory Theatre, which presents Laura Eason’s digital-age comedy “Sex with Strangers,” and Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, which will offer a light night of classical music parody with a new work by P.D.Q. Bach.

Raising the next generation of classical music lovers

Crains New York

“At a time when classical music is straining to attract new and younger audiences, tuba player Karen Geer is working hard to cultivate the next generation of musicians and music lovers. She leads the InterSchool Orchestras of New York, a nonprofit whose eight musical ensembles—composed of 350 musicians ages 6 to 19—perform in schools, community centers and nursing homes, and onstage at venues such as Lincoln Center. Using scholarships, financial aid and sliding-scale tuition, ISO provides music education for kids of all incomes and in all neighborhoods. They must audition and are placed in ensembles depending on their skill level. During Geer’s five years at the helm, she has increased corporate philanthropy and more than doubled government support.” This season, the ISO is cross-marketing with professional music groups and schools, such as the Third Street Music School Settlement, providing a quarter of a million dollars in need-based scholarships, and performing at high-profile venues such as the Oculus Plaza at the World Trade Center and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The orchestra plans to double its number of students to 700 by its 50th anniversary in 2022. NYSCA supports the ISO through our Arts Education Program.


Artists as Innovators: Celebrating Three Decades of NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowships

You are invited to join us!

NYSCA is pleased to announce that on Saturday, September 9, 2017, three decades of the NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowships will be commemorated with the opening of the traveling exhibition Artists as Innovators: Celebrating Three Decades of New York State Council on the Arts/New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships at the Dorsky Museum, SUNY-New Paltz. The fellowship program has supported more than 4,000 artists in various fields in the visual arts, literature, and performing arts at critical stages throughout their careers.

NYSCA Chair, Dr. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, who will speak at the opening, said: “We are pleased to acknowledge our fruitful, and long-lasting collaboration with NYFA. NYSCA has invested more than $30 million, to provide cash awards of $650,000 annually to artists, living and working in New York State. These fellowships provide unrestricted support, and have nurtured thousands of diverse, and engaged members of New York State’s creative communities. This outstanding exhibition, which will travel throughout New York State over the next three years, will offer an opportunity for the wider public to enjoy the tangible results of what NYSCA, in concert with NYFA, has initiated and supported.”

Participating artists include: Elia Alba, Ida Applebroog, Dawoud Bey, Sanford Biggers, Ross Bleckner, Wendell Castle, Tara Donovan, Chitra Ganesh, The Guerrilla Girls, Christian Marclay, Marilyn Minter, Lori Nix, Tony Oursler, Faith Ringgold, Martha Rosler, Dread Scott, Andres Serrano, Shinique Smith, Carmelita Tropicana and Fred Wilson. In addition to the visual artists in the exhibition, the roster of NYSCA/NYFA Fellows includes such significant figures as A.M. Homes, David Henry Hwang, Tony Kushner, Lynn Nottage, and Suzan-Lori Parks in theatre and literary arts; Todd Haynes, Spike Lee, and Mira Nair in film; Meredith Monk, Julie Taymor, and Yvonne Rainer in the performing arts; and Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio in architecture.

The opening reception will take place from 5:00 – 7:00 PM; at The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, SUNY New Paltz, 1 Hawk Drive, New Paltz, NY, where it will remain until November 12, 2017. The exhibition will then travel to SUNY Cortland, Alfred University, SUNY Fredonia, SUNY Plattsburgh, Stony Brook University, and Westchester Community College.

For more information about the exhibit, please contact Ronni Reich at; for more information about the NYSCA/NYFA fellowships, please visit:

NYSCA in the News

This week, NYSCA grantees collaborate to create a new fellowship to promote equity in the arts, combat Parkinson’s symptoms through dance, stage a one-woman show in New Yorkers’ kitchens, and more.

BRIC, Mark Morris Dance Group, MoCADA and TFANA to Build Diversity, Equity with New Fellowship

Broadway World

“BRIC, Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG), The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) and Theatre for a New Audience (TFANA) have announced the launch of the Downtown Brooklyn Arts Management Fellowship, a new program whose aim is to build long-term equity and diversity in the field of arts management. In the pilot year, beginning in September, seven Fellows…will work with and be mentored by arts managers from the cohort of four organizations, participate in a comprehensive professional development training curriculum, have opportunities to connect with and learn from each other through formal and informal activities, and build networking connections to springboard their careers as emerging arts leaders in New York City. They will receive full-time salary and benefits throughout the year…The Fellowship prioritizes emerging voices from racial and ethnic communities that are historically underrepresented in the industry, as well as low-income individuals who have not had access to internships or costly master’s degrees that are often the entrée into the industry. Over 600 applications were received for the seven available fellowship positions… ‘This fellowship program enables BRIC and our partners to invest in the careers of a new generation of arts administrators who are not adequately represented in our field. We are tremendously grateful to New York City’s Theater Subdistrict Council, The New York City Cultural Agenda Fund in The New York Community Trust and The New York State Council on the Arts’ Regional Economic Development Council Program (REDC) for helping to make this ambitious dream a reality,’ said Leslie Schultz, President of BRIC.”

Art Moves Me: Therapeutic dance program for Parkinson’s


Created in partnership with the National Parkinson’s Foundation of Western New York, the Burchfield Penney Art Center’s Art Moves Me class combines art with movement in order to help people with Parkinson’s Disease. “After participants gather for a brief discussion around a Burchfield painting, [teaching artist Christina] Pegado begins a dance lesson -asking her class to use their imaginations and movement.” Musician Bob Sowyrda, who accompanies the class said, “The wonderful thing about this program is it seems to find places of movement that people otherwise wouldn’t find themselves.”  “Parkinson’s disease has taken some things away from [me] and for myself to fight it, to do things that will help prolong a useful life, dancing and other exercises will help that,” remarked Paul Markwart, retired architect.” Participants say the class has “nourished my soul,” helped with balance issues, and alleviated symptoms. NYSCA supports Burchfield Penney through our Museum and Electronic Media & Film Programs.

Just Buffalo Literary Center programs for The Civil Writes Project

Buffalo Rising

“Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison will be making an appearance in Buffalo on November 9, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s historic talk here in Buffalo. Leading up to the BABEL-related visit by the heralded author, Just Buffalo Literary Center (JBLC) will be launching five weeks of programming directed towards helping to ensure that we will one day live in a world that is free from racial inequalities. Those five weeks will encompass numerous programs including writing workshops, book discussions, film screenings, and interdisciplinary performances. The call to action is part of an even greater vision called The Civil Writes Project…Follow the initiative as it unfolds on the JBLC Facebook page.” NYSCA supports Just Buffalo through our Literature and Arts Education Programs.

Why New Yorkers Are Turning Their Homes Into Stages for a Play About Syrian Refugees


“This fall, Off-Broadway theatre company PlayCo lifts what’s happening in Syria out of the news cycle, and turns it into an intimate human interaction…In Oh My Sweet Land, a woman of mixed Syrian-German heritage is cooking kibbeh, a traditional Syrian dish. While she prepares the food, she recounts a story of love, hope, exile, and war. She takes us on her journey through Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria, back to her roots and on a quest to find the man she loves, detailing the sights and people she meets along the way. Beginning in September, Oh My Sweet Land will play in the homes of volunteers throughout all five boroughs before audiences of approximately ten guests per night. The play, performed by Nadine Malouf with direction by Zuabi, will also be staged for larger audiences at community spaces around the city. ‘The Play Company decided to produce Oh My Sweet Land in non-traditional venues in an effort to literally bring these stories ‘home’ to audiences,’ explains PlayCo’s Founding Producer Kate Loewald. ‘It will be a very intimate experience that we hope will provide access to the work on a direct human level.’ The other objective, explains Loewald, is that the compact nature of the performance space will encourage the right kinds of conversations after each show…At each performance, PlayCo will provide audience members with information about organizations working on refugee issues and resettlement in New York City.” NYSCA supports PlayCo through our Theatre Program.

Hallockville Museum Farm’s Country Fair And Craft Show To Include Demonstrations, Over 50 Artisans, Tractor Pull, Tours, And More

At the Annual Hallockville Country Fair at the Hallockville Museum Farm in Riverhead, visitors can expect to see more than 50 craft vendors, tractor pulls all day, local food trucks, and demonstrations of blacksmithing, weaving, woodworking, quilting, and wooden boat building. “The Fair will also feature a 1930’s Depression Era Quilt Show in the Historic Naugles Barn, live music, children’s activities and games, guided museum tours of the 1765 Homestead, 1931 Cichanowicz Farmhouse and Homestead Barn, a special 250th Anniversary exhibit and historic transportation exhibit, a livestock display and farm animals…Proceeds will support the not-for-profit’s education programs, historic restoration, special exhibits, upkeep of 19 historic buildings on 28 acres of preserved land, farm animals and more.” NYSCA supports the Hallockville Museum Farm through our Folk Arts Program.

Glens Falls Symphony branches out from the concert hall into the community

Glens Falls Post-Star

“The Glens Falls Symphony is branching out from the concert hall to the community to emphasize “Immerse Yourself in the Music,” the theme of its 2017-2018 season. The symphony will partner with Crandall Public Library, downtown restaurants and area schools to offer community programs, many of them free, including film showings and children’s story times at the library and after-concert performances at downtown restaurants.” Films and children’s books presented prior to concerts will relate to themes of the music. NYSCA supports the Glens Falls Symphony through our Music Program.

Moving the Needle at the Jewish Museum

Long Island Pulse

“[Jewish Museum Director Claudia] Gould is uniquely equipped to bring contemporary realities to Modigliani’s work as well as the museum’s exhibitions and collection. Before starting as director of the Jewish Museum in 2011, she had a career of some three decades directing museums and creating exhibitions…She’s also restructuring the museum philosophically. She’s inviting contemporary artists to make commissioned ritual objects and has brought more diversity to the museum by including Chinese, Saudi, Korean, Buddhist and Christian artists…Gould claimed it’s ‘very easy’ to create a balance of pleasure, seriousness, history and inclusiveness within the Jewish Museum. ‘We try to make the exhibitions fun so everybody walks out smiling. We’re moving the needle without moving the mission and I think that’s very important.’” NYSCA supports the Jewish Museum through our Electronic Film & Media and Museum Programs.


NYSCA in the News

This week, NYSCA grantees report a record summer season, collaborate to build arts-driven economies, and announce exciting new fall programs.

Proctors Theatre CEO walks crowd through building an arts economy

Lake Placid News

“Dozens of North Country artists, business owners and residents met Tuesday, Aug. 22 to discuss how to use the arts as an economic driver in downtown Saranac Lake…The two-part meeting began with a talk called ‘The Creative Economy: Re-imagining Our Rural Downtowns’ from Philip Morris, the CEO of Proctors Theatre in Schenectady. He was hired by Proctors in 2002 as the region struggled and the theater faced a daunting future…Since his success in bringing money and visitors back to a struggling Schenectady, Morris told the audience about what he learned from using an artistic institution to bring economic stability to a city…A uniting thread throughout his talk was working with what is already there and staying authentic to the area, using people and resources…After Morris’ talk, a roundtable discussion moderated by North Country Public Radio Station Manager Ellen Rocco was held with panelists Jill Breit of Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, Amy Catania of Historic Saranac Lake, Joshua Kretser of The Strand Center for the Arts and Aaron Woolf, who owns the Deer’s Head Inn in Elizabethtown.” NYSCA supports Proctors Theatre through our Arts Education and Presenting Programs, TAUNY through our Folk Arts Program, Historic Saranac Lake through our Architecture + Design and Arts Education Programs, and The Strand Center through our State & Local Partnerships Program and Regional Economic Development Council.

ATF scores record summer season

Glens Falls Post-Star

“Before the first show of the Adirondack Theatre Festival’s 23rd summer season even opened in June, ticket sales were already breaking records. On June 20, Chad Rabinovitz, producing artistic director, said… ‘Last year at this exact time — a day before preview — we sold 1,250 tickets for our first show, ‘Island Song,’ which was a big hit as well. ‘The day is not over yet and we’re already at 1,700,’ he then said about this summer’s first show, ‘Nikola Tesla Drops the Beat.’ That record-breaking momentum continued throughout the summer, with ticket sales outpacing all previous seasons, Rabinovitz said on Wednesday from Bloomington, Indiana. ‘It was our most successful season, with 9,385 patrons,’ he said. ‘Three years ago, single tickets sales were 5,700, and subscriptions have increased from 570 to 1,195.’ There was such demand for tickets to ‘Tesla,’ an electronic pop musical, ATF had to add a show, and if there hadn’t been a tight time frame between shows, Rabinovitz said, they could have extended its run. ‘It was the best-selling show in ATF history, with over 3,000 tickets sold,’ he said. ‘What’s been so rewarding is hearing patron after patron come up to me after the show and say ‘It’s like Broadway is in Glens Falls.’ Many first-time ATFers are shocked at the production level and the quality from every element of the show.’ The buzz about ‘Tesla’ drew theatergoers from outside the area, including Vermont and Quebec, and as more people were introduced to the productions, ticket sales kept going up.” NYSCA supports ATF through our Theatre Program.

River dance: Battery Dance Festival takes center stage on Downtown’s waterfront

Downtown Express

“Downtown’s longest-running pro-bono dance festival returned to Battery Park City’s Wagner Park last week for its 36th year, featuring performances from dozens of domestic and international troupes in a seven-day, waterfront bonanza of groove. The Battery Dance Festival, which debuted as the Downtown Dance Festival in 1982, draws more than 12,000 people to Lower Manhattan every year for the spectacle of movement. The nightly two-hour shows in the park included as many as seven performances in an evening, plus free workshops at Battery Dance’s studio at 380 Broadway. The choreographic confab even had a festival-within-a-festival with the Erasing Borders Festival of Indian Dance, which featured six Indian-culture dance companies from across India and the United States. Battery Dance takes its mission of connecting the world through dance quite literally, and the Downtown dance company uses its festival as a way to bring together dancers from across the country and around the globe. This year’s event featured 20 stateside dance crews, who were joined by international companies hailing from Belgium, Spain, the Dominican Republic, Sri Lanka, and Botswana.” NYSCA supports Battery Dance through our Presenting and Arts Education Programs.

Andy Serkis to make directorial debut at Hamptons International Film Festival, with ‘Breathe’


“ ‘Breathe,’ the directorial debut of actor Andy Serkis (‘War for the Planet of the Apes’), has been chosen as the Sunday Centerpiece at the 25th Hamptons International Film Festival which will take place from Oct. 5 to Oct. 9. Serkis’ film stars Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy as a real-life couple who attempt to continue living an adventurous life together after the husband is diagnosed with polio. Other films that were announced for this year’s lineup include ‘After Louie,’ starring Alan Cumming as an New York City artist during the AIDS epidemic, and the Iraq War drama ‘The Yellow Birds’ featuring Toni Collette and Jennifer Aniston. Both Cumming and Collette are scheduled to attend the film fest. The festival’s ‘A Conversation With . . . ‘ series will this year include director Rob Reiner, whose biopic ‘LBJ’ starring Woody Harrelson as President Lyndon B. Johnson, will be shown at the festival. Additional films to be screened include ‘Human Flow,’ a documentary about the global refugee crisis; the art-themed drama ‘The Square’ starring Elisabeth Moss; and ‘Oh Lucy!,’ a short film about a Japanese woman who takes on an American alter ego.” NYSCA supports the Hamptons International Film Festival through our Electronic Media & Film Program.

Eyebeam’s new artist-in-residence cohort is heavy on racial justice brooklyn

“New York art institution Eyebeam announced this week the new residents for the year that comes, all of whose work focuses on issues of racial inequity in society. The artists will receive $30,000 for the year and 24/7 access to Eyebeam’s facility in Industry City as they continue work on their projects. This year’s theme is trust, as it relates to democracy, ownership or community…This year’s artists in residence are: Dhruv Mehrotra​, ‘working on ‘Othernet: Internet Island,’ an autonomous alternative to the Internet.’…Stephanie Dinkins, ‘​creating an AI entity that reflects the concerns of communities of color.’…BUFU, ‘​creating an app that makes accessible a virtual archive and emergency resources for homeless QTPOC.’…[and] American Artist, ‘​insisting on both the visibility of blackness and erasure in virtual spaces.’” NYSCA supports Eyebeam through our Electronic Media & Film Program.

BPO is co-host of rare visit by national music conference

Buffalo News

“It’s a musical event almost as rare as the recent solar eclipse. As the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra pointed out, the last time the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians met in Buffalo, Jimmy Griffin was the mayor, and the Buffalo Sabres still played at Memorial Auditorium. Now, almost 30 years after that 1988 event, the group is back. Its conference takes place at the Adam’s Mark Hotel from Aug. 22-26. The organization represents the top 52 orchestras in the United States. The conference here came about thanks in large part to Daniel Sweeley, who plays French horn with the BPO. Sweeley sits on the national board and serves as the BPO’s delegate to the organization. Each orchestra in the organization sends at least one representative, and other leading industry figures are also among the 110 people expected to attend. BPO Music Director JoAnn Falletta is participating in one of the panel discussions, and so is the BPO’s distinguished tuba player, Don Harry. Discussion topics will include diversity in the workplace, pension concerns, health care, and community relations. Orchestra stability is a hot topic, and a talk will involve representatives from orchestras that have bounced back from the brink of extinction. The conference will also hear from orchestras that for the most part have managed smooth sailing.” NYSCA supports the BPO through our Music Program.

Albany Symphony releases new album

Albany Times-Union

“A new Albany Symphony album featuring three concerti by Hudson Valley composer George Tsontakis is now available on the Naxos label — the latest from a Grammy-winning orchestra with more than two dozen recordings under its belt. Released on Aug. 11, ‘George Tsontakis: Anasa-True Colors-Unforgettable’ was recorded at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall and the American Music Festival. Tsontakis, whose percussion concerto ‘Mirologhia’ was recorded by the symphony in 2006, has been a frequent collaborator under David Alan Miller’s tenure as conductor and music director…In a press release, Miller called Tsontakis ‘as one of our most important, creative living American composers.’ For more information on the ASO and its latest recording, see…The album is available for purchase at the box office at the Palace Theatre at 19 Clinton Ave., Albany, or via download and streaming at all the usual places.” NYSCA supports the ASO through our Music and Regional Economic Development Council Programs.