NYSCA Council Meeting & Celebrating the NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship


NYFA Board Member Michael Findlay, NYSCA Executive Director Mara Manus, NYSCA Chair Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, NYFA Executive Director Michael Royce, NYFA Chair Judith Brodsky

Thursday October 6, 2016, the New York State Council on the Arts held a Council Meeting to vote on funding recommendations in 9 of our 15 programs, and followed the meeting with a ceremony commemorating a new phase in one of the organization’s most important partnerships. Over the past 31 years, NYSCA has provided approximately $30 million in support of the New York Foundation for the Arts to administer support for individual artists through the State & Local Partnerships Program. This collaborative initiative will now be known as the NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship Program.


Performance artist Karen Finley, a four-time recipient of the NYFA Artist Fellowship — now known as the NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship — shared her poem “Black Sheep”

“Today, we welcome our colleagues from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Board Chair Dr. Judith Brodsky, Executive Director Michael Royce, Director of Institutional Advancement Mark Rossier, and Director and Curator David Terry to this NYSCA reception to jointly celebrate the revitalization and renaming of the NYFA Artist Fellowship as the NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship,” said NYSCA Chair Dr. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel.

“The new name will more accurately reflect the role of NYSCA and our commitment to the creativity of individual artists. Today, we commemorate the new partnership and look forward to continuing our long-term, close relationship. NYSCA has been the primary funder of the re-named NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship. During more than 30 years, NYSCA has invested more than $30 million to provide cash awards. And in the past, grants as much as $1 million were awarded. These funds are administered by NYFA. The NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship provides cash awards in fifteen different disciplines to artists living and working in New York State. The grants provide unrestricted support to fund the artistic vision and endeavor of each fellow. We look forward to continuing this fruitful relationship.”

The ceremony continued with presentations from two artists who received multiple Artist Fellowships funded by NYSCA and administered through NYFA.

Karen Finley, a recipient of the Artist Fellowship in Performance Art in 1986, 1990, 1995, and 2001, spoke ardently about the value of the funding she received for her art, and the importance of the artistic freedom conferred by the award. Finley is the winner of two Obie Awards and two Bessie Awards.

Edwin Sanchez, a playwright, screenwriter, and novelist spoke to the importance of receiving his first recognition as an artist through the Artist Fellowship, which he received in 1989, 2000, and 2006. His work has been performed by NYSCA grantees the Atlantic Theater Company, New York Stage and Film, and Primary Stages.


Edwin Sanchez, a three-time recipient of the NYFA Artist Fellowship — now known as the NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship — read from his novel “Diary of a Puerto Rican Demigod.”

This was also the inaugural meeting of NYSCA’s new Executive Director, Mara Manus. Ms. Manus has served as executive director of the Public Theater in New York City as well as a program officer at the Ford Foundation. Previous roles also include Director of Playwrights of New York, Executive Director of The Film Society of Lincoln Center and Founding Director of the Arthur Miller Foundation and Southampton Arts Center. Ms. Manus founded a management consulting firm, Manus + Co, to launch cultural organizations and provide other non-profits with leadership and organizational development support.

By the conclusion of the meeting, NYSCA had approved grant recommendations in our Architecture + Design, Arts Education, Dance, Electronic Media and Film, Individual Artists, Literature, Music, Museums, and Special Arts Services Programs. In July, NYSCA approved grant recommendations in the Facilities, Folk Arts, Presenting, State & Local Partnerships, Theatre and Visual Arts Programs. In December, NYSCA will vote on panel recommendations for the Regional Economic Development Council Program.

The photos below illustrate our meeting and our celebration of the warm collaboration between NYSCA and NYFA.

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