Monthly Archives: July 2016

NYSCA in the News

At NYSCA, the definition of “arts” is broad and inclusive! This week in the news are well-known musicals like “Grease” and “West Side Story,” a production of “Hamlet” touring to correctional facilities and homeless shelters, participatory chalk art and the exhibition “Art AIDS America.”

Chalkers to return to Dansville for August festival

Livingston County News

Dansville ArtWorks will welcome the fifth annual Chalk Walk & ArtsFest on Aug. 6. The event runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine, with music by the Steel Alchemy Community Steel Band and Groveland Station. Six juried chalk artists will create pieces for the event outside the Dansville Public Library. Chalk may also be purchased at the event for anyone to join. NYSCA supports the festival through the Decentralization Program, which provides regrant funds to the Genesee Valley Council on the Arts at Livingston Arts Center.

Lesley Ann Warren to Guest Star in DANCE TO THE MOVIES

Broadway World

The Gateway presents “Dance to the Movies” at Patchogue Theatre from Aug. 10-14, featuring artists from “Dancing with the Stars,” “So You Think You Can Dance,” and “American Idol.” The show recreates numbers from movie musicals including “West Side Story,” “Grease,” “Chicago,” “Singin’ In The Rain” and “Moulin Rouge,” and creates new dances to scores from such movies as “Dirty Dancing,” “Titanic,” “The Matrix” and “Harry Potter.” Academy Award nominee Lesley Ann Warren will make a special appearance. The Gateway’s 2016 season is funded in part by the County of Suffolk and the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Mobile Shakespeare Unit to Mount Fall Production of Hamlet


“The Public Theater will mount its Mobile Unit again this fall for a three-week touring production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, directed by Patricia McGregor. Now in its seventh year, the Mobile Unit’s free fall tour (August 26-September 17) will bring Shakespeare to audiences who have limited or no access to the arts by visiting correctional facilities, homeless shelters, social service organizations, and other community venues. Following the free tour, McGregor’s production of Hamlet will have a sitdown run at the Public Theater from September 19-October 9 with an official press opening on September 22.” NYSCA supports the Public Theater through the Presenting and Regional Economic Development Council programs.

Art of the AIDS Years: What Took Museums So Long?

New York Times

“Given the volume, quality and variety of art made in response to AIDS over 36 years, it seems inexplicable that no mainstream museum ever attempted a historical survey. Now one has. “Art AIDS America” is a show at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, and it coincides with a cluster of smaller Manhattan shows…” As Holland Cotter notes, the exhibition and those like it demonstrate how art “can broadcast or insinuate messages into the larger culture, embody complex truths, absorb fear, preserve memory.” NYSCA supports the Bronx Museum of the Arts through the Museum and Arts Education programs.

Asia Society’s New Art Expert Paints His Vision


Singapore native Boon Hui Tan, the Asia Society’s new vice president of global arts and cultural programs in New York, is set to “collaborate with arts institutions and artists globally to build a greater worldwide understanding about Asia.” He will also oversee the Asia Society Museum, which this September will feature an exhibition of Zao Wou-Ki, a Chinese post-war abstract painter who trained in China and France. “The larger cultural program is about having people understand the full implications of the global contemporary and to look at major transition points… We are asking how can art be revelatory, or can give us an epiphany about that culture and that society now,” he says. “We need to engage more seriously with the full diversity of the global art world. We need to find a balance between artistic practices of East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia and West Asia. Our programming needs to reflect that diversity.”


Photos: NYSCA visits Farmingdale and Southampton

NYSCA concluded its series of regional meetings throughout New York State with visits to Farmingdale State College on July 14 and Stonybrook Southampton on July 15. For those who were unable to attend a meeting, we welcome your feedback on NYSCA’s activities and invite you to share your thoughts via email or in our forums on this site. We look forward to your insightful comments and valuable suggestions as to how we can continue to build and improve our arts community, and, in turn, the quality of life in all of New York’s 62 counties. 

NYSCA in the News

We’re right in the middle of summer, but that doesn’t mean it’s vacation time for NYSCA grantees. This week, two festivals – one near Cooperstown and one in Manhattan – are featured; grant info sessions are taking place in Livingston and Monroe Counties and Brooklyn; and MoMA PS1 celebrates 40 years.


Glimmerglass, the Opera Festival That’s Closer to Nature

“One cannot get much more Americana than Cooperstown, [home of the Baseball Hall of Fame.] But just 8 miles north of Cooperstown on Otswego Lake lies the Glimmerglass Festival, known up until 2011 as Glimmerglass Opera. Run since 2011 by Francesca Zambello, who is also the artistic director of the Washington National Opera in D.C., Glimmerglass runs from early July to late August every summer and is the second-largest summer opera festival in the U.S. Glimmerglass celebrated its 40th anniversary last year and sells close to 35,000 tickets every summer.” According to artistic and general director Francesca Zambello, 50 percent of the audience is local within a 2-hour radius. This season centers on a theme of “Unjust Accusations” and includes Robert Ward’s adaptation of Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible.”

Nine Shows Extended at New York Musical Festival

The New York Musical Festival (NYMF), previously known as The New York Musical Theater Festival, has announced extensions for nine productions – A SCYTHE OF TIME, LISA AND LEONARDO, CHILDREN OF SALT, EH DAH? QUESTIONS FOR MY FATHER, TINK!, DUST CAN’T KILL ME, SINGLE, NEWTON’S CADLE and CAMP ROLLING HILLS. Additional extensions may be announced at a later date. These shows take inspirations from sources such as Edgar Allen Poe, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Tinkerbell from “Peter Pan.” For a full list of extension performances, visit

The Anti-Museum Director: Alanna Heiss on the 40th Anniversary of PS1 Contemporary Art Center

“Alanna Heiss founded the PS1 Contemporary Art Center in an abandoned school in Queens in 1976. The building had no roof, no windows, no plumbing, and no electrical wiring. This remained the case even after Heiss opened the first exhibition there in June that year, called simply “Rooms.” The show is now legendary—a remarkable sampling of contemporary art from the mid-’70s and probably the pinnacle of site-specific installation, with each work created for its sublimely decrepit context” After settling on a museum location in Long Island City, she began work with a $100,000 grant from the New York State Council for the Arts and a $100,000 bank loan. PS1 merged with the Museum of Modern Art in 2000. As part of the anti-museum’s 40th anniversary, Heiss has organized a show at PS1 influenced by “Rooms,” along with the rest of the first decade in the institution’s history, called “FORTY.”

Livingston Arts schedules info sessions for grants

Information sessions have been scheduled through Aug. 23 in Livingston County for the Genesee Valley Arts Grants at Wadsworth Library, 24 Center St., Geneseo. Sessions last about 90 minutes. Individual artists and community groups are eligible to apply for the grants, which are funded through the New York State Council on the Arts’ decentralization grant program. Community-based projects and new initiatives taking place in 2017 are encouraged to apply for funding. Livingston Arts also administers decentralization grants for Monroe County. Five information sessions are scheduled in Monroe County where applications are due in November. To learn more, visit

Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC) Announces 2017 Community Arts Grants

Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC) has announced fall deadlines and summer info sessions for its 2017 Community Arts Grants. BAC Grants, supported in part by NYSCA, annually distributes nearly $350,000 to help fund arts and cultural projects in all disciplines across the borough. Applications opened Friday, July 15th, 2016, and will close on Wednesday, September 21, 2016. Registration is now open for BAC Grants Information Sessions, taking place borough-wide from August 1 through August 29, 2016. New applicants and those that have not been funded since 2014 are required to attend. For eligibility guidelines and a complete schedule of upcoming grants seminars, as well as application tips and other resources, please visit:

How can Riverhead attract additional tourists?

“In recent years, a consistent theme has emerged in Riverhead: marketing the town as a destination for shoppers and vacationers. To reach that goal, community members have partnered with Sustainable Long Island, a non-profit economic development organization, and Long Island Arts Alliance, a network of art organizations. Their focus is on expanding tourism…and emphasizing the town’s arts and culture services.” Supported by NYSCA, the project includes “creating a master plan for the initiative, developing a ‘comprehensive arts and culture tourism map’ for the Riverhead corridor and having ALON Marketing Group develop specific travel trade packages for the town.”

NYSCA in the News

It’s a time of celebration for NYSCA grantees! Just Buffalo rings in its 40th anniversary, NYFA has announced the recipients of its 2016 Artists’ Fellowships, and the Adirondack Film Society begins a screening series featuring a world premiere by a North Country filmmaker.


NYFA Awards Over $600K to New York State Artists

“The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) has announced the recipients and finalists of its Artists’ Fellowship Program. The organization has awarded a total of $647,000 to 98 artists (including five collaborations) throughout New York State in the following disciplines: architecture/environmental structures/design, choreography, music/sound, photography, playwriting/screenwriting.” The Artists’ Fellowship Program is administered by NYFA with leadership support from the New York State Council on the Arts.

Just Buffalo Literary Center Celebrates Its 40th Year

Just Buffalo offers in-school programs, free after-school and summer youth writing workshops, anthologies of student writing, and a Studio Poetry series in which poets read in abandoned silos. A decade ago it added Babel, a reading series that brings well-known authors from around the world to Buffalo and regularly draws audiences of roughly 1,500 people. To fund its programs, the center applies for grants from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and also partners with it on its Literary Presenters’ Technical Assistance Program (LitTap), which offers technical advice, networking opportunities, and other services to the state’s literary presenters and publishers. The latest Just Buffalo/LitTap partnership, according to Kathleen Masterson, director of literature and theater programs at NYSCA, gives grants to mature literary organizations. As Just Buffalo heads into its fifth decade, it will create a literary corridor along Washington Street including a mural based on Robert Creeley’s poem “Love Comes Quietly”; a sculpture of poet Lucille Clifton, who grew up in Buffalo; and a project to honor poet and activist Ishmael Reed, who was raised in the city.

Mount Tremper Arts goes year round

“Mount Tremper Arts (MTA) has announced a shift from its usual seven-week summer festival of weekly performances and artist residencies to an almost year-round schedule of monthly events and month-long residencies. The new format will allow for intensive collaboration with New York City performance spaces and a more consistent relationship with the upstate community, said the organization’s executive director, Matthew Pokoik…Each month-long residency is organized in partnership with a New York City theater, pooling resources to identify promising artists, leverage financial support, and provide marketing exposure.” The first residency this summer, July 16, will be DarkMatter, a duo that blends storytelling, poetry, comedy and fashion. NYSCA supports the Catskills-based organization through our Presenting program.

Warwick Summer Arts Festival begins July 15

“Since 2000, The Warwick Summer Arts Festival, founded by Elizabeth Reese, has been one of Orange County’s premiere arts festivals featuring music, theater, dance, exhibits, films and readings in locations around the Town of Warwick…The popular festival will bring attention to the arts with public performances and exhibitions reminiscent of a traveling carnival. Musicians and dancers will perform in unassuming venues such as local farms and fields. Artwork, employing a combination of mediums, will be exhibited at local businesses and throughout the Village of Warwick.” The Warwick Summer Arts Festival is made possible, in part, with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts.

AFS celebrates new digital projection at Strand Theatre

The Adirondack Film Society, which received NYSCA funding given to the Strand Theatre to acquire digital film-projection equipment, will present a series of screenings. Beginning July 16 with “A Night at the Opera,” the series also includes “Sullivan’s Travels,” “O Brother, Where Art Thou,” and the world premiere of “The Night We Met,” an independent feature directed and co-written by Albany filmmaker Jon Russell Cring shot in and around Schroon Lake. “Introducing North Country filmgoers to filmmakers and other industry professionals—typically, in small, intimate, up-close-and-personal settings—is one of the chief calling cards of the Adirondack Film Society.”



If you received a Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) grant last year, can you apply for this year too?

Past REDC grantees are welcome to apply in subsequent rounds, but priority will be given to applicants that have not received NYSCA REDC Program funding in previous years.

Funding opportunities are available through the Regional Economic Development Council program (REDC) for projects designed to enhance and transform the cultural and economic vitality of New York State communities. Arts and culture activities enrich and strengthen community, civic and social life in New York State. Successful proposals will demonstrate significant economic and community development impact that positions arts, culture and heritage at the core of local development and revitalization efforts.

For more information on the NYSCA’s REDC Funding and the application process please visit:  

Application Deadline:  4pm, July 29, 2016.

Seeing how much cultural funding goes to NYC from other sources, does NYSCA consider the need for funding in other regions of the state more heavily?

The agency is dedicated to supporting organizations statewide and regularly analyzes where grants are made to ensure a balanced and equitable distribution of funds. Council, Program staff, and panelist consider both geography and funding availability when reviewing applications for funding. Specific evaluative criteria include:

Geographic Location: The scarcity or availability of comparable services or activities in the geographic region in which proposed services or activities will take place

Funding Availability: The nature and extent of the availability of other public and private funds to support comparable activities

When will decisions be made for this year’s applications? Is it possible to know who the panel members reviewing our applications are?

Applicants will be notified of decisions for this year’s applications in the fall. While panel meetings are not open to the public, a roster of panelists and biographies can be found here:


You asked, we answered: NYSCA Q&A Part II

Below and in the previous post are questions submitted during NYSCA’s regional meetings. Have more questions? Let us know in the comments!

Now that NYSCA has moved to a calendar year contract schedule, are grant recipients encouraged to also move to a calendar year, as opposed to July-June season schedule, budget?

As NYSCA only provides a percentage of an applicant’s budget, it may not be advisable for an organization to make a change. Each organization should make their own determination of what works best for their own accounting in advisement with their Board of Directors.   NYSCA has webinars that may be helpful to grantees with this question, in conjunction with the New York Council on Nonprofits.  The topics covered include: 

How to manage cash flow when your primary funder(s) shift their funding periods

How to report on program activities when your fiscal year or project period does not line up with your contract term

The link to the recordings is available on the facing page of the NYSCA website.

Have you seen an increase in grant applications for arts education? Do you anticipate an increase in requests for funding for K-12 schools due to education budget cuts? What do you believe will be the response from NYSCA?

The applicant pool for Arts Education has had a slight uptick in recent years. At NYSCA we’re well aware of the ongoing challenges at public schools, where budgets are tight and it can be difficult to find funding for arts programs. That’s why we’re committed to supporting cultural partners working with public schools to bring teaching artists into the classroom for in-depth residencies – it’s a model that has demonstrated success and that we are proud to promote. Click here and search for the Arts Education program to see a list of past grantees, which will include all grantees in our K-12: In-School Programs category.

What changes are being made to improve or simplify the application process? Is the Cultural Data Project still required?

We understand the application process can be daunting and it is the staff’s collective goal to make the process as clear to applicants as possible. In addition to annually introducing new resources, tutorials, webinars and in-person application seminars, the agency is working closely with Grants Gateway to determine how we can curb redundancies and complexities in the application process.

We urge all interested applicants to familiarize themselves with NYSCA’s website and the Grants Gateway Grant Opportunity Portal well before NYSCA’s application opens in early 2017. Once the application opens, do not wait until the last minute to begin and submit your application.

Staff is always available to answer any questions you may have about the process. Contact information for all staff members can be found at:

The New York State Council on the Arts no longer requires the Cultural Data Project (now known as DataArts). The requirement was lifted in an effort to simplify the application process and reduce redundancies. 

Although not required, organizations are welcome to contribute to the data collection initiative and use its analytic and reporting tools to help increase management capacity, inform decision-making and support evidence-based case making. Organizations can complete a free Cultural Data Profile at


Holiday Greetings from NYSCA Chair Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel

What a wonderful experience to travel through our state, and have the opportunity to meet and talk with you, to learn more about your concerns and your fine work. Your participation is at the heart of our endeavors. As promised at our gatherings, questions we did not answer at our meetings, we will respond to through these NYSCA Network postings. Here are the first responses, by Megan White, Liz McAleer and Ronni Reich — please keep checking back as we post more information for your use. Wishing all a happy Independence Day!

With warm wishes, Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel Chair, New York State Council on the Arts

Can you talk about NYSCA opportunities that offer capacity-building funding versus project-specific funding?

NYSCA provides General Operating Support, which NYSCA sees as a fundamental investment in organizational capacity and sustainability as it offers organizations the license and flexibility to invest in their organizations in ways that program-specific grants do not. Programs with the exception of Facilities, Individual Artists, and REDC provide General Operating Support. You can view the guidelines here:

There is also a specific category in State and Local Partnerships that addresses Organizational Capacity; as outlined here:

The Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) program has a Workforce Development Category, as outlined here:

In the “old days” NYSCA program staff traveled to organizations and institutions, especially those requesting GOS. Do you anticipate a return to this activity?

NYSCA program staff members are once again conducting site visits to organizations and institutions throughout New York state on a regular basis. We will also host regional application seminars in the late fall and early winter. Please subscribe to NYSCA’s mailing list for more information about these events. Click here to subscribe:

How does NYSCA view history and humanities in terms of funding allocation and priorities?

All of NYSCA’s funding categories include opportunities for projects that deal with history and the humanities. Our Literature, Folk Arts, Museums, and Arts Education programs are particularly focused on these areas, and we also offer funds for historic preservation through our Architecture + Design program. For more information about individual program guidelines, visit

Some quotes for the 4th:

He that would make his own liberty secure,
must guard even his enemy from opposition;
for if he violates this duty he establishes
a precedent that will reach himself.
~Thomas Paine

In the process of gaining our rightful place,
we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds.
Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom
by drinking from the cup of bitterness and
hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle
on the high plane of dignity and discipline.
— Martin Luther King

Without freedom, no art; art lives only on the
restraints it imposes on itself, and
dies of all others.
–Albert Camus