Monthly Archives: June 2016

Tomorrow: NYSCA Visits Albany and Poughkeepsie

Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, Chair, New York State Council on the Arts, together with NYSCA staff Megan White, Deputy Director of Programs, Liz McAleer, Chief of Staff, and Ronni Reich, Director of Public Information, will hold the next in their series of regional “listening tours” in the Capital Region and Hudson Valley. Meetings will take place 14 June at the Albany Institute of History & Art, 125 Washington Ave., Albany, 14 June at Arts Mid-Hudson, 696 Dutchess Turnpike, Poughkeepsie, and 21 June at Historic Hudson Valley, 639 Bedford Rd., Pocantico Hills. If you are an artist, an applicant, grantee, arts leader, or audience member and you would like to attend our gathering, please send an email concerning your interest and affiliation together with specific contact information to


NYSCA in the News

Festival season is in full swing for NYSCA grantees, with the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, the Museum Mile Festival, and the Albany Symphony Orchestra’s American Music Festival this week. Also, read on for news about grants and opportunities in the Adirondacks and the North Country.

At the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, a Lot of the Humans Are Women

This year, the Human Rights Watch Film Festival will focus on women’s rights around the world. The festival opens today, presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center – which is supported by NYSCA’s Electronic Media & Film Program – and the IFC Center. One of the 18 features in the festival, Maisie Crow’s “Jackson,” which deals with reproductive rights, is also funded through NYSCA’s Individual Artist program. More than half the films are directed by women.


American Music Festival takes place across Troy

The Albany Symphony Orchestra, a recipient of NYSCA funding through the Music Program, has begun its annual five-day American Music Festival at various locations throughout Troy, and several events will take place over the weekend. The environmentally-themed festival consists of 15 concerts, recitals, interactive experiences and special events. It features 35 new and recent works by 33 American composers, including 18 world premieres and concludes on Sunday with nature walk guided by the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservatory.

The five best free things to do in NYC over the next seven days

Among the next week’s top activities recommended by Time Out New York is the Museum Mile Festival on Tuesday. Enjoy live music and free admission to NYSCA-supported institutions including El Museo del Barrio, the Museum of the City of New York, The Jewish Museum, Cooper Hewitt, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

St. Lawrence County Arts Council encouraging applicants for 2016 and 2017 Teaching Artists’ Fund projects funds

Artists and organizations may apply for a share of $10,000 in grants for Fall 2016 Teaching Artists’ Fund projects by Sept. 1. This fall only, people may apply for both 2016 and 2017 grants. This support is available through the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts, administered by the St. Lawrence County Arts Council.

Depot Theatre Receives Grants for Improvements

“The Depot Theatre, a not-for-profit organization committed to providing professional theatrical arts in the Adirondacks, has received grants from the New York State Council on the Arts and the Charles R. Wood Foundation to improve infrastructure to enhance the patron and artist experience. The New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) has awarded the Depot with a matching-grant of $16,653 to replace audience seating and carpeting in the 140-year-old building…The matching-grant, which is in addition to $6,000 in annual operating support from NYSCA, will also provide for dedicated accessible and companion seating sections for patrons with disabilities.”

NYSCA in the News

This week, NYSCA grantees from NYC to the North Country have been making headlines. Read on to find out about programs ranging from children’s theater to old time fiddle music – and about one NYSCA-supported organization’s milestone expansion.


Koolhaas Firm OMA Will Expand Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo

The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, a NYSCA grantee, will undergo an $80 million expansion – the largest undertaken by a cultural organization in the Western New York region – at the hands of architectural firm OMA. This will be the first U.S. museum project undertaken by the firm, which was founded by Rem Koolhaus.

Casting Announced for American Ballet Theater’s Final Two Weeks

ABT has announced the casting for the end of its Metropolitan Opera season. “Romeo and Juliet” will feature Hee So, Cory Stearns, Craig Salstein and Isabella Boylston. On June 23, Alessandra Ferri will return to the role of Juliet for the first time since her retirement from the Company in 2007. “The Sleeping Beauty” will also star Boylston, with Veronika Part and Marcelo Gomes among the principals. Stella Abrera will celebrate her 20th Anniversary with the Company on June 30 as Aurora. ABT is supported in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Armory Square Summer Entertainment Series celebrates 32nd annual event

The Armory Square Association will offer six outdoor concerts in Syracuse this summer as part of its 32nd Candlelight Series. Performers include Todd Hobin, Ronnie Leigh, Jerry Cali, Symphoria Brass Quartet, Dick Ford, Danielle Patrice, Loren Barrigar and Mark Mazengarb. The Candlelight Series is a free program of the Armory Square Association, made possible by a grant through NYS Senator John A. De Francisco as well as 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 NYS Legislature – administered by CNY Arts.

New York City Children’s Theater Celebrates 20th Anniversary Season

New York City Children’s Theater celebrates its 20th anniversary with a winter season beginning Nov. 26. Its offerings include the dance-inspired “Ballerina Swan and the Nutcracker,” “Young Charles Dickens,” “Love That Dog,” featuring poetry by Robert Frost and William Carlos Williams, and “Please Bring Balloons,” an interactive performance suitable for ages 2 through 5. NYSCA is among the theater’s supporters.

Don Woodcock and Gretchen Koehler to perform old time fiddle music Saturday in DeKalb Junction

“The concert is part of the performance series held each year by the DeKalb Historical Association. The 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 support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and administered by the St. Lawrence County Arts Council.”

For Your Information: NYSCA Panel Review Process Underway

Now that the FY2017 NYSCA Application deadline has passed, we have begun our evaluations. The Council uses a multi-step process to evaluate applications involving program staff, peer review panels, a committee of Council members, and the full Council. NYSCA’s panel review process is currently underway, with experts in each of our sixteen program disciplines analyzing applications. The meetings will continue through September and follow the process below:

Peer Review Panels and the Rating System

In each program category, the peer panel convenes with program staff present. The panel is composed of at least seven people and represents a diverse group of professionals from across the state. Each member has relevant and specific expertise. NYSCA accepts nominations for panelists from the general public. The panel discusses, evaluates and rates each request according to the Council’s criteria. The panel ratings form the basis for staff funding recommendations to the designated Council Committee.

Rating System

Rating Descriptor Strengths/Weaknesses
9 Exceptional Exceptionally strong (model and standard for field or discipline with essentially no weaknesses)
8 Outstanding Extremely strong with negligible weaknesses
7 Excellent Very strong with some minor weaknesses
6 Very Good Strong with numerous minor weaknesses
5 Good Strong but with at least one moderate weakness
4 Satisfactory Some strengths but with some moderate weaknesses
3 Fair Some strengths but with at least one major weakness
2 Marginal A few strengths and a few major weaknesses
1 Poor Very few strengths and numerous major weaknesses

Minor Weakness:  An easily addressable weakness that does not substantially lessen impact. Moderate Weakness:  A weakness that lessens impact. Major Weakness:  A weakness that severely limits impact.

Any application that scores below a three (3) in any one of the criteria areas will be ineligible for funding regardless of how well they scored in the other criteria areas.

A roster of our more than 200 panelists is available at