Monthly Archives: June 2016

NYSCA in the News

This week, NYSCA grantees are demonstrating the impact of the arts in communities in Queens, the Catskills and Washington County and showing unique achievements by talented theater artists:

Hubbard Hall to inventory county arts opportunities

Using a $48,000 Culture & Heritage grant from the New York State Council on the Arts, Hubbard Hall Center for the Arts and Education, will begin the Washington County Creative Assets Mapping project this summer to develop a list of local groups and start connecting them. The project will start with six meetings that are open to artists and arts organizations. They will be at 10 a.m. July 7, 12 and 26; at 2 p.m. July 14 and 28; and at 10 a.m. Aug. 23. The goal will be to begin a draft directory of arts and artists in Washington County.

Queens Lit Fest in Long Island City will feature local poets and musicians

Last year marked the inaugural Queens Lit Fest, bringing 300 people out for two days of poetry and prose readings. This year’s festival takes place at LIC Landing on July 16 and 17. Both experienced and emerging writers will be featured. There will be several hours dedicated to open mic programming, with students from the Bard High School Early College. Former Queens poet laureate Paolo Javier and current poet laureate Maria Lisella will perform, and the event will also include musical entertainment. All artists are Queens residents or natives. Queens Lit Fest is funded in part by Poets & Writers with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Jazz at the Maverick Series Continues with Amir ElSaffar, and Two Rivers Ensemble

“Maverick Concerts, the oldest continuous summer chamber music festival in America, celebrates the start of its second century of Music in the Woods this year. Amir ElSaffar and the Two Rivers Ensemble make their Maverick debut in the Jazz at the Maverick series, and offer the first of this summer’s “New Century, New Voices” concerts” on July 16. ElSaffar’s Two Rivers Ensemble combines the traditional Arabic music system and contemporary jazz. “For his Maverick debut, ElSaffar will present his…musical commentary on recent Iraq and Middle East history.” A complete schedule for the 2016 season and additional information is available at Concerts are made possible in part through funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

At Clubbed Thumb, Nurturing a Theater of the Weird

Clubbed Thumb, celebrating its 20th year, closes out its Summerworks season with the western-style musical “Tumacho” by Obie winner Ethan Lipton. The Off Off Broadway company has drawn six Tony nominees, including director Leigh Silverman and Tony-winning set designer David Zinn and served as a launching pad for playwrights such as Sarah Ruhl, Jordan Harrison, Lisa D’Amour and Clare Barron. NYSCA provides support to the company through our Theatre and Individual Artist programs.

Collective Releases its Annual List of Plays by Female and Transgender Writers

“Los Angeles-based collective the Kilroys…is back with its third annual list of plays by female and transgender writers that are worthy of production.” Several of the playwrights on the list have had their work presented by NYSCA grantees, including the Public Theater, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, the Women’s Project Theater and Playwrights Horizons.

Call for Photos

We will soon begin conducting interviews for “Grantee Spotlights” to appear here on the NYSCA Network. In addition, we would like to begin featuring images of our grantees on a rotating basis as the cover image of our Facebook page. If you are a current grantee and would like to be considered for these featured appearances, please upload web-quality images using the form below:


Photos: NYSCA visits Historic Hudson Valley, Pocantico Hills


NYSCA mention in the New York Times

We are excited to share with you today’s New York Times article: Leading the Orchestra, an Outsider Invited In. Reporting on Kazem Abdullah’s upcoming appearance conducting the Westchester Philharmonic, writer Phillip Lutz explores some of the issues we have been discussing around diversity in the world of classical music. He briefly touches on the convenings we had here at NYSCA and on the League of American Orchestras’ recent conference in Baltimore.

“The lack of diversity in American orchestras is an issue of long standing, but it has gained fresh currency. The League of American Orchestras held a major conference on the subject this month in Baltimore, reporting that only 1.8 percent of members of American orchestras are African-American and 1.2 percent Latino.

Also this month, the New York State Council on the Arts has been holding events around the state, including in New Rochelle, where it has been promoting a new diversity initiative, Arts Career Development Fellowships for Underrepresented Communities. Under it, financing is available to arts organizations to hire diverse administrative staff members or creative artists.

“There’s a real sense of urgency in the music community among those concerned about those issues,” said Robert Baron, the arts council’s director of music and folk arts programs.

–Leading the Orchestra, an Outsider Invited In, Phillip Lutz, New York Times, June 17, 2016

Read the full article here

Photos: NYSCA visits Albany, Poughkeepsie

Quote of the Day: “We have to invest in all of our cultural institutions and organizations, large and small…”

At our regional meetings in Albany and Poughkeepsie, NYSCA Chair Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel shared a recent New York Times article about NYSCA grantee Lincoln Center. One quote in particular resonated with the way the Council supports organizations that make a profound impact on their communities, not just in New York City, but throughout the entire state:

“I am a firm believer that we have to invest in all of our cultural institutions and organizations, large and small, in all five boroughs, in every neighborhood…

“If an organization is driving so much in terms of what is good about the City of New York, is actively engaged in the work of making this city all that it can be, and is equally committed to making sure that every child in every neighborhood has access to world-class performances and facilities, then that organization is worthy of consideration for support from the City of New York…


–City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, chairman of the council’s committee on cultural affairs, quoted in the New York Times, “Lincoln Center Report: We Entertain, Educate, Accept Tax Dollars” by Michael Cooper, June 13, 2016

Upcoming: Budgeting and Board Succession Webinars

Two upcoming webinars with our partners at the New York Council of Nonprofits are exclusively for NYSCA grantees. The webinars will focus on board leadership succession planning and budgeting. For more information or to register, visit

June 24, 2016  11:30 am

 Board Leadership Succession Planning for Arts Groups [NYSCA Webinar]

Presented by Doug Sauer, CEO, NYCON

Nonprofit executive succession has been a hot topic recently, but relatively little attention has been paid to how to effectively plan the succession of key board leaders and officers.  Our speaker will provide a framework for developing formal, written emergency and planned succession strategies, both short-term and long-term (and much more.)

June 28, 2016 11:30 am

Top Five Budgeting Pitfalls for Arts Groups and How to Avoid Them [NYSCA Webinar]  Presented by Kelly Mathews, Sr. VP & COO, Financial Managment Group, NYCON

As nonprofit leaders know, a budget is a guide that can help plan for the future as well as assess current financial health. A thoughtful budget process is the key to developing a financial plan that is both realistic and reflective of organizational goals. This webinar will help identify 5 common missteps in the budgeting process, from faulty allocation assumptions to aspirational fundraising targets, and strategies to avoid them.

Registrants must be a current staff or board member of a nonprofit funded by the NYS Council on the Arts in 2016.

Opportunity: From our Friends at the New York Council for the Humanities

Applications are now open:

Open to tax-exempt organizations in New York State, the Council’s Reading & Discussion Programs for Adults bring together community members for a series of thematically-linked, text-based conversations about important ideas. Thirteen themes are available:

Applicants choose a theme, decide how many sessions to hold, and find a local scholar to facilitate the discussions. Awardees then select readings from themed book lists. Sample syllabi can be found on the Council’s website.  Applications to host a spring series are due Friday, June 24. You can apply here.

NYSCA in the News

Theatrical comedy and tragedy masks, isolated on black.From Steampunk Shakespeare on Staten Island to local musicians in St. Lawrence County and summer theater for kids at the Oneida Public Library, NYSCA grantees are showing their creativity all over the state. Here are some recent stories featuring their projects:

Shakespeare meets steampunk hippies in High Rock Park ‘Dream’ production

In the Staten Island Shakespearean Theatre company’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” audiences can expect a “raucous hippy carnival, sprinkled with steampunk sensibilities and Hula-Hooping fairies.” The play runs June 18-26 in the Greenbelt Conservatory and features local musicians alongside classically trained actors. This production was one of the awardees of a New York State Council on the Arts Encore Grant from Staten Island Arts.

Arturo O’Farrill Quartet, the First of Five Star-Studded Jazz at the Maverick Events, is July 2

“Maverick Concerts, the oldest continuous summer chamber music festival in America, celebrates the start of its second century of Music in the Woods this year. The Arturo O’Farrill Quartet kicks off the Jazz at the Maverick series this season with two Saturday performances – a Young People’s Concert in the morning and an evening concert – for his debut at the Maverick.” The concerts take place July 2 in Woodstock. This event is part of The New York State Presenters Network Presenter-Artist Partnership Project made possible through a regrant from the New York State Council on the Arts

River To River Festival in downtown New York City

“Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) presents the 15th annual River To River Festival, Downtown NYC’s completely free summer arts festival, June 16-26. The 2016 edition presents a diverse collection of dance, music, theater and visual art by both renowned and breakout artists from NYC and beyond. The festival seeks to provide world-class, free summer entertainment and to inspire residents, workers and visitors in the neighborhoods south of Chambers Street by connecting them to the creative process, unique places and each other.” NYSCA supports the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council through the Presenting and State & Local Partnership programs.

OPL’s Summer Reading Program warms up with June registration

The Oneida Public Library is now inviting registration for free summer programs for children ages 6-14. One of these programs, the mid-July OPL Children’s Summer Theater workshop allows young actors to practice improvisational skills, and is supported with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and administered by CNY Arts.

People, puppets join for Bristol Valley Theater opener “Avenue Q”

Bristol Valley Theater, a NYSCA-supported company in Naples, will begin its season with the Tony Award-winning musical “Avenue Q,” by Robert Lopez of “Frozen,” Jeff Marx, and Jeff Whitty. The show features a company of irreverent puppets and live actors and runs June 16-26. The season also includes “Shooting Star,” “Peter and the Starcatcher,” “The Foreigner,” “The Cookie Fight,” and “Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde.”

Town of Colton announces summer music series — Colton Riverside Performances—colton-riverside-performances-20160612

“Musicians from communities along the Racquette River will be showcased during the Colton Riverside Performances organized by the town’s Tourism & Beautification Committee in cooperation with the Colton Historical Society and others…Throughout the summer, organizers will raise funds by raffling barn quilts painted with the help of art club students at Colton-Pierrepont Central School. All six of the quilts are on display in the Colton Hepburn Library until raffled during a performance.” This project is made possible in part with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, administered by the St. Lawrence County Arts Council.

The Latest: Posts from our Forums

As always, we encourage our visitors to interact with our staff and with each other in our forums, which can be accessed by clicking the All Forums link above. There, you will find a variety of discussion topics, including Administration, Arts Education, Audience Engagement, Calls for Applications, Community-Based Arts Organizations, Cultural Access and Inclusion, Development, Entrepreneurship, Marketing, NYSCA Grants, Production, Regranting, Share Your Events, Share Your News, Social Justice in the Arts, and a “Suggestion Box.”

human symbol with bubble talk tag

Here are some of our recent posts:

In Arts Education: “There’s been a lot of discussion in the last week on this NYT piece on segregation in NYC public education, and this Slate series about race in America’s schools. How have these conversations played out in your office, your school(s)? What are the next questions you’d like these talented reporters to tackle?”

In Calls for Applications: “The Institute for Electronic Arts (IEA) is currently accepting applications for one week, New York State artist residencies for Electronic Media and Film projects… Applications for these opportunities are due by August 19th, 2016.”

In Share Your Events: “Horizon Theatre Rep’s Production of Geist at the 4th Street Theater. Sept 15th through Oct 2nd! On the waning days of World War I, a platoon of soldiers vanished without a trace. In their last recorded post we found tapes of plays they enacted to pass away the time…”

Do you have an event coming up? Want to share with us a new audience engagement initiative or marketing strategy? Have a question about NYSCA grants? Thoughts about the articles in the Arts Education thread?

Let us know in the forums!