Monthly Archives: November 2016

NYSCA Support In Action: Pregones and PRTT Share a Vision and Reap the Rewards

In FY13, NYSCA awarded Pregones Theater $90,000 through our Regional Economic Development Council program to plan and implement a merger with another NYC based Latinx theater company in order to grow from a single-stage to dual-stage company, provide employment opportunities and produce high-quality work for underserved theater audiences.

The merger was finalized the following year with Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre (PRTT), and NYSCA has since continued to fund Pregones/PRTT through our Theatre, Presenting, and Regional Economic Development Council programs. In addition, the Theater Subdistrict Council awarded the organization $500,000 for its Plataforma project, “The Bronx-Broadway Showcase for Latino Theater,” devoted to developing new works.

This week, American Theatre Magazine – a publication of fellow NYSCA grantee Theatre Communications Group – singled out the company in a feature by Fabiana Cabral titled “Two Theatres, Both Home,” showing how collaboration and resource sharing have made two organizations far more than the sum of their parts.

A few highlights from the article:

“The primary challenge for both companies was how to merge their approaches. While Pregones’s tight-knit ensemble created or adapted most of the works they have staged—hits like El bolero fue mi ruina, Dancing in My Cockroach Killers, Baile Cangrejero, El apagón/The Blackout, and more—PRTT was known for staging classics and new plays, in English and Spanish, from Puerto Rico, Spain, Chile, Mexico, Venezuela, and other Latin American countries, as well as plays by U.S.-based artists.”

“It is not easy for a minority population to own both cultural specificity and claim their place in performance history. Pregones/PRTT is dedicated to reminding everyone that Latinx theatre is a not a niche market, nor is it a simple exercise in maintaining diversity ‘cred.’ Latinx theatre is a vital part of the American theatre, despite receiving little attention in mainstream media outlets.”

“[W]hile Pregones and PRTT have pooled resources and artists, Rolón explained, they ‘didn’t want to just merge the identities of the theatres, but rather respect and honor what each stands for.’ Soldanela Rivera, an artist on the board of the merged company, described it metaphorically: ‘The organization began with puertorriqueños. We have two lands—now this theatre has two lands, one uptown, one downtown. We live here, and we have a home there, and our heart is wherever we are.'”


NYSCA wants to hear from you!

NYSCA wants to hear from you! Read about two new communications features below to find out how we can help share your news with the New York State arts community.

Holiday Guide

We would like to create a comprehensive directory of holiday season arts programs created by our grantees to serve as a resource for our constituents. Please share with us your holiday plans at using the subject line Holiday Events by December 7.


Brought in your largest audience ever? Exceeded your fundraising goals? Tried a new program that broadened your reach or deepened your engagement with your community? Tell us about it! We want to share our grantees’ accomplishments so that we can provide examples of what works and, together, make our arts community even stronger. Share your stories: post in the comments on the NYSCA Network or on social media using the hashtag #NYSCASuccess. You can also email us at, using the subject line #NYSCASuccess. We’ll compile the results for a post on the NYSCA Network on December 12, along with longer posts on select grantees. Stay tuned!

NYSCA Chair Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel’s “The Landmarks of New York” receives rave review

NYSCA Chair Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel’s “The Landmarks of New York,” which was recently published in its sixth edition, has received a rave review from The East Hampton Star. Irene Silverman writes, “The book is a tribute not only to the preservation commission upon the 50th anniversary of its founding but also to the impassioned civic commitment of its author, who has almost certainly headed more historic preservation-related organizations than anybody else in this country, starting in the ’60s and continuing, as chairwoman of the New York State Council on the Arts, full steam ahead today.

Ms. Diamonstein-Spielvogel is one of those writers who can take a weighty subject and make it not just enlightening but entertaining. Her reader-friendly introduction to the book — which, be warned, runs to 912 pages, with photos and backstories of 1,360 individual landmarks, 10 scenic landmarks, and 139 historic districts — manages to sound dispassionate in one sentence and derisory in the next, with heroes and villains aplenty in its absorbing stories of how endangered structures have been snatched from the jaws of backhoes.”

She continues, “A record of 400 years of architectural richness, “Landmarks” is an indispensable addition to the libraries of historians, architects, and preservationists, yes, but also for all of us who like knowing more about such remnants as the tall-case cast-iron lampposts that have survived in every borough but Staten Island (which may have more landmarked houses than any of the other four), or the city’s seven remaining sidewalk clocks, originally used as advertising posts, or a street name, an individual building, or an entire neighborhood.

“Landmarks of New York” weighs about five pounds and has a list price of $75, but this book is worth every backache and penny.”

We wish our Chair another hearty Congratulations!


ArtsWestchester honors NYSCA Chair Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel


Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, Chair, New York State Council on the Arts; Robert W. Roth, Board President; Janet Langsam, Executive Director, Arts Westchester; State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins

On November 19, ArtsWestchester honored NYSCA Chair Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel as one of five Wonder Women during its Annual Gala. Also honored were New York State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Suburban New York and Connecticut Community Banking Area President for Wells Fargo Maria Ferreira, arts patron Emily Grant, and journalist Mary Calvi. Congratulations to all, and thank you, ArtsWestchester!


Left to right: Maria Ferreira, Wells Fargo Area President; Robert W. Roth, Board President; Emily Grant, Arts Patron; Elizabeth Bracken Thompson of Thompson & Bender, Gala Dinner co-Chair; Mary Calvi, co-anchor, CBS 2 News;State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins; Geoff Thompson of Thompson & Bender, Gala Dinner co-Chair, and Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, NYSCA Chair.


Grantee News: Lincoln Center names Debora L. Spar its new President

In the New York Times, Michael Cooper reports: 

Debora L. Spar, the president of Barnard College, will become Lincoln Center’s 10th president in March. “In appointing Ms. Spar, who is also an author and a former Harvard Business School professor, Lincoln Center’s board looked beyond arts administration circles and decided to tap someone with experience running a large nonprofit and with a track record of raising money for capital projects — skills that could prove useful as the renovation [of David Geffen Hall] proceeds…Ms. Spar, who started a $400 million capital campaign at Barnard, which she said was the largest in the college’s history, said that she was confident that the money for Geffen Hall could be raised.” She will be the first woman at the helm of the country’s largest performing arts center. Her tenure at Barnard has been marked by an increasingly diverse student body and enhanced role of the arts on campus. NYSCA supports Lincoln Center through our Presenting and Music Programs.


NYSCA grantee New York Transit Museum wins National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award

Congratulations to NYSCA grantee New York Transit Museum, one of 12 winners of the annual National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, which recognizes out-of-school arts and humanities programs for young people.

As described in an AMNY article by Meredith Deliso, the winners, selected from 50 finalists, were honored at the White House on Nov. 12 and will receive a $10,000 grant. The museum’s after-school program Subway Sleuths is tailored to children on the autism spectrum and uses a shared interest in trains as a means to  develop social skills. Each class is facilitated by a special education teacher and a speech-language pathologist, both trained in ASD support, and a Transit Museum educator.

NYSCA supports the Transit Museum through our Museum Program.


News from the Field: Creative Aging

A new Createquity article, “(Eng)Aging With the Arts Has Its Benefits,” synthesizes multiple studies to conclude that “the most compelling evidence of the value of the arts revolves around improving the lives of older adults” Key findings about participatory arts include:

  • Singing improves mental health and subjective wellbeing (i.e., perceived quality of life)
  • Taking dance classes bolsters cognition and motor skills, and even lessens the likelihood of developing dementia later in life
  • Playing a musical instrument has myriad positive effects, including dementia risk reduction
  • Visual arts practice generates increases in social engagement, psychological health and self-esteem

To read the complete article, click here

NYSCA supports creative aging initiatives through our Arts Education Program. Does your organization have a creative aging program? Are you interested in starting one and have questions? Let us know in the comments, and our staff will respond with suggestions!


NYSCA in the News


Courtesy of Albright-Knox Art Gallery, featuring Bond by Alexander Liberman.

How the Albright-Knox Art Gallery raised more than $100m in just three months

The Art Newspaper

“Last April, Janne Sirén, the director of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, got an email that most museum leaders only dream about. [Jeffrey Gundlach, a Los Angeles-based billionaire] who had never before donated to the institution pledged to jump-start its $80m capital campaign with an ambitious matching scheme…In less than three months, it amassed more than $100m—a rate of more than $1m a day… As large institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York struggle to raise funds for ambitious expansions, the Albright-Knox’s rapid-fire campaign stands out.” NYSCA Council Member Amy Cappellazzo, a founder of the advisory firm Art Agency, Partners, aided in the fundraising effort. NYSCA supports Albright-Knox through our Museum Program.

The Philharmonic to Stream Young People’s Concerts

New York Times

“When the New York Philharmonic televised its Young People’s Concerts from 1958 through 1972, it introduced new generations to classical music. Now the orchestra is updating the program: It said Thursday that it was putting videos of Young People’s Concerts, and additional educational materials and interactive games, online for schools and families to stream for free… The orchestra is calling the initiative “Young People’s Concerts Play!”… The orchestra also plans to send its teaching artists to schools around the city to demonstrate the new platform, and to get feedback to guide the development of future releases.” NYSCA supports the New York Philharmonic through our Music and Arts Education Programs.

TDF Costume Warehouse in Astoria Helping Arts Groups Around the Country


“Every day is dress up day at the Theater Development Fund’s Costume Warehouse. Located in Astoria, Queens, the building houses more than 80,000 costumes and accessories that can be rented by not-for-profit performing arts groups nationwide. NY1’s Frank DiLella takes you behind the scenes in this On Stage report.” The costumes have been donated and include those worn by well-known performers, such as Anthony Rapp’s “Rent” jacket, “Gypsy” costumes worn by Bernadette Peters and Patti LuPone, and Pearl Bailey’s “Hello, Dolly!” costume. NYSCA supports TDF through our Theatre and Dance Programs.

Spark Media Project looks to ignite interest in film festival

Poughkeepsie Journal

The fourth edition of Spark Media Project’s Reel Expressions International Youth Film Festival is set for tonight at the Bardavon 1869 Opera House in Poughkeepsie. The organization will present 13 films, each of which runs less than 10 minutes. Two of the films in the festival originated at Spark. And in addition to the U.S., films submitted to the festival came from Canada, France, India and Australia. Filmmakers range from age 13 to 19. Spark and the film festival this year are partnering with the City of Poughkeepsie’s First Friday community event. Spark Media Project teaches media arts — including filmmaking and animation — to participants as young as 6 and as old as college-age teenagers. NYSCA supports Spark Media Project through our Electronic Media & Film, Arts Education, and Regional Economic Development Council Programs.

Geva Theatre Center completes 51,832 s/f multi-phase renovation

New York Real Estate Journal

“Geva Theatre Center has completed a seven year, multi-phase, top to bottom renovation of its 51,832 s/f home. This renovation has transformed Geva’s historic home, the former New York State Arsenal and Rochester Convention Hall, into a cultural asset serving people from all over the country, providing arts and cultural programs and contributing to the economic vibrancy of the region.” NYSCA supports the Rochester-based theater through our Theatre, Literature, Individual Artists and Facilities Programs.