Monthly Archives: September 2017

Water Way welcomes World Canals Conference with inspired video art

This month, art provides a fascinating window into the history, essential role and beauty of canals around the world.

In honor of the Erie Canal Bicentennial, the World Canals Conference will be held in Syracuse and will feature the special exhibition Water Way. The exhibition will showcase short films focusing on canal life and culture by young artists from New York State, Scotland, Belgium and Italy. Initiated and supported by NYSCA in partnership with the Urban Video Project, Water Way will be projected on the Everson Museum’s façade September 24-28.

Check out the videos below:

For more ways to ring in the Bicentennial, check out our Erie Canal calendar to find upcoming events near you, including the Corning Museum of Glass’ GlassBarge at the World Canals Conference and the SS Columbia Project in Waterford.

NYSCA in the News

“Cirque du Fringe: MIRACLE CURE” performs inside The Cristal Palace Spiegeltent at the KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival. Photo by Erich Camping.

This week, NYSCA grantees welcome thousands to a 500-performance, 10-day festival, announce new leadership, complete a mural showcasing Civil Rights leaders and more.

Rochester Fringe ready to open with ‘Big Bang’ in our night sky

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

The 10-day KeyBank Rochester Fringe Fest, which includes 500 performances at 31 venues opened Thursday.  The festival has “grown dramatically in its first five seasons, drawing 68,000 people last year.” New at the Fringe this year is the Immersive Igloo, “a 40-foot dome of soothing light show and surround sound, created by a Rochester native now living in New York City, Tom Montagliano.” Additional highlights include:

  • Rochester’s Garth Fagan company
  • PUSH Physical Theatre
  • Labyrinth, in which the Biodance company teams up with Eastman School of Music musicians at the Rochester Museum & Science Center’s Strasenburgh Planetarium
  • Plasticiens Volants, “the French outdoor theater company that fills the night air with surreal inflatables bathed in projected light and moving to a thumping tribal jazz soundtrack in Big Bang”

“Plasticiens Volants has been active for more than 40 years, but this show, and a previous Sept. 2 performance at Artpark in Lewiston, Niagara County, mark  the debut of the group in the United States. It has been a part of many high-profile events, including last year’s Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.” NYSCA supports the Rochester Fringe Festival through our Presenting Program.

Viviana Bianchi named BCA’s 5th executive director

Bronx Times

“The Bronx Council on the Arts, a non-profit focusing on locally-based arts, artists and programing, appointed Viviana Bianchi as its new executive director after a six-month search…’I believe in the power of arts to change and impact communities,’ she said…She added: ‘My goal is to make BCA the place to go for the arts.’…Bianchi…plans on collaborating with the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs on a new cultural plan, engaging in ‘creative placemaking’ where artists work on meaningful social projects to improve communities and working with the Westchester Square Business Improvement District. Charles Rice-González, BCA co-chair, stated that Bianchi’s passion for artists and the arts would elevate BCA’s voice as an artist advocate. She came to the position from Mindbuilders, another borough-based organization that provides artistic [programming,] as well as sports activities for youth. She has extensive non-profit and arts experience in organizations in Florida, Washington D.C. and New York and in her native Argentina.” NYSCA supports the Bronx Council on the Arts through our State & Local Partnerships Program.

Freedom Wall welcomes visitors to Buffalo’s African American Heritage Corridor


“Buffalo is marking the completion of its latest public art project, a mural depicting 28 civil rights leaders. The Freedom Wall is located at the entrance to the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor at East Ferry Street. It was painted by four Buffalo artists as part the Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s Public Art Initiative, which integrates art into public spaces. The work was painted over the course of the summer by John Baker, Julia Bottoms-Douglas, Chuck Tingley and Edreys Wajed, each a native of Buffalo who lives and works in the region and holds a degree from Buffalo State College. They were chosen to create the mural through input at a number of community meetings… Among the leaders whose portraits fill the wall are national figures such as Rosa Parks and Malcolm X, as well as prominent Buffalo politicians George K. Arthur and Arthur Eve. Additional figures are Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Toure), Mama Charlene Caver Miller, William Wells Brown, King Peterson, Angela Davis, Bill Gaiter, Alicia Garza, Al-Nisa Banks, W. E. B. Du Bois, Eva Doyle, Huey P. Newton, Shirley Chisholm, Frank Merriweather, Martin Luther King Jr., Mary B. Talbert, Rev. J. Edward Nash Sr., Dr. Lydia T. Wright, Frederick Douglass, Dr. Monroe Fordham, Thurgood Marshall, Fannie Lou Hamer, Minnie Gillette, Marcus Garvey and Harriet Tubman. A community celebration marking completion of the project was held Sunday.” NYSCA supports the Albright-Knox Art Gallery through our Museum Program and the Regional Economic Development Council initiative.

‘Breaking Bad’ actor, Arthur Miller’s daughter among Woodstock Film Festival highlights

Poughkeepsie Journal

“Appearances by actor Giancarlo Esposito from television’s ‘Breaking Bad’ and Arthur Miller’s daughter Rebecca will highlight the 2017 Woodstock Film Festival, a cinematic extravaganza that this year will feature nearly two dozen films by female directors. The 18th annual Woodstock Film Festival will be held Oct. 11-15 in Woodstock, Rhinebeck, Rosendale, Kingston and Saugerties. The festival’s annual Focus on Music program will include the New York premiere of the musical ‘Stuck.’ The film stars Esposito who, along with other cast members, will participate in a question-and-answer session following an Oct. 11 screening at the Woodstock Playhouse. Esposito and his fellow cast members will also perform songs from the film’s score. Rebecca Miller’s film about her famous father will be shown on Oct. 15 at the Woodstock Playhouse. ‘Arthur Miller: Writer’ is the festival’s closing night film and Miller will participate in a question-and-answer session following the screening…The 2017 Woodstock Film Festival will feature four world premieres, five North American premieres, one U.S. premiere, 20 East Coast premieres and nine New York premieres. The film festival’s centerpiece films are ‘Last Flying Flag,’ directed by Richard Linklater, who also directed ‘Before Sunrise’ and ‘School of Rock;’ and ‘The Square,’ directed by Ruben Östlund.” NYSCA supports the Woodstock Film Festival through our Electronic Media & Film Program.

HERE Was There and Will Surely Endure

Chelsea Now

“[In 1993] in Lower Manhattan, something wonderful happened. Two Downtown theatre companies, Tiny Mythic and the Home for Contemporary Theatre and Art, joined forces to create HERE Arts Center. The 2017-2018 season will be HERE’s 25th, which means the company will be celebrating its Silver Anniversary — no small feat given the failure rate of small arts organizations. ‘It was just a raw space when we found it,’ said co-founder Kristin Marting, of their location at 145 Sixth Ave. ‘It was 13,000 square feet of storage, full of refrigerators and appliances, with a loading dock. We had to gut and rehab the whole space ourselves, and our family and friends, with just sweat equity.’… Initially an organization with a $350,000 annual budget, that number has grown nearly sixfold. Once entirely volunteer based, HERE now employs nine full-time and nine part-time staff members. Equally impressive is the high quality of the work the company has produced over the past quarter century — including such groundbreaking productions as the premiere of Eve Ensler’s ‘The Vagina Monologues,’ Basil Twist’s ‘Symphonie Fantastique,’…Young Jean Lee’s ‘Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven,’ …[and] Taylor Mac’s ‘The Lily’s Revenge’… Other artists with a close association with the space have included Labyrinth Theater Company, Elevator Repair Service, Target Margin Theater, and The Talking Band.” NYSCA supports HERE through our Presenting and Theatre Programs.


Arts Ed Week: New Arts Learning Standards for New York State

Coinciding with National Arts in Education Week, we have news from the New York State Education Department: the Board of Regents has approved revised New York State Learning Standards for the Arts. For artists and organizations involved in arts education, these revised standards and accompanying resources can be a valuable guideline in your work. You can use them to refer to benchmarks on what students should be able to do in a specific arts discipline at a certain grade level, seek guidance in how to think about the artistic learning process, or look for inclusion strategies.

The new NYS Arts Standards are based around 4 artistic processes: Creating, Performing/Producing/Presenting, Responding, and Connecting. These processes are common to all arts disciplines.

The arts standards are supported by a variety of discipline-based instructional resources, such as the Conceptual Framework, Enduring Understandings, Essential Questions, discipline-specific glossaries, and an Implementation Guide to support administrators, parents, teachers and guidance counselors unpack the standards. These can be found at and .


NYSCA in the News

This week, NYSCA grantees launch a jam-packed theater season in Buffalo, kick off an intriguing fall arts schedule in Albany, and more.

Raising the curtain on the 2017-18 theater season

The Buffalo News

“Every year, as the new theater season approaches, observers of the scene ask themselves the same question: How long can Buffalo’s great theatrical growth spurt last? It’s been going on long enough — two decades and counting — that you can hardly call it a spurt anymore…This season, local professional and semi-professional companies, as well as road houses like Shea’s Performing Arts Center, will mount more than 100 productions. Excluding the inevitable last-minute additions, the season currently features 44 dramas, 33 musicals, 13 comedies and seven shows for children.” Upcoming NYSCA grantee productions include MusicalFare Theatre’s “Peter Pan” prequel “Peter and the Starcatcher,” Road Less Traveled Production’s mysterious drama “John” by Annie Baker, Alleyway Theatre’s musical horror comedy “Killer Rack,” Noel Coward comedy “Design for Living” at Irish Classical Theatre Company, and 600 Highwaymen’s “The Fever” as part of Torn Space Theatre’s Response Festival.

‘What a Wonderful World’ milestone celebrated at Louis Armstrong House Museum


“Louis Armstrong had countless hits across his storied career, but none more popular than the enduring jazz classic “What a Wonderful World.” Armstrong didn’t write the song, but his handwritten version of it is on display at the Louis Armstrong House Museum as part of a special exhibition marking its 50th anniversary. The exhibit also features photos, sheet music from the recording and other related artifacts for fans to enjoy…Recorded in 1967, “What a Wonderful World” celebrated peace and love at a time when the country was badly divided by the Vietnam War and protests…Museum officials say he didn’t like the song at first.  He wasn’t thrilled with the music, but once he saw the words, the song became personal. “He realized that it was all he felt about Corona, his neighborhood,” said Adriana Filstrup of the Louis Armstrong House Museum. “So that’s why he choose to sing this song, to make it his.”…Armstrong and his wife Lucille bought this modest house on 107th Street in 1943, and he lived here until his death in 1971. It is now a national landmark.” NYSCA supports the Louis Armstrong House Museum through our Museum Program.

Brooklyn Book Festival Starts Monday, September 11th


“The Brooklyn Book Festival (BKBF) and Brooklyn Book Festival Literary Council has released the complete schedule for a full week of Literary Events beginning Monday, September 11 and culminating in Children’s Day (Saturday, September 16) and Festival Day (Sunday, September 17)…the week kicks off with iconic artist, performer and author Patti Smith presenting her new book Devotion at St. Ann and the Holy Trinity Church…The flagship 14-stage Festival Day is New York City’s largest free literary event, attracting tens of thousands each year. This year’s festival features more than 300 writers of beloved works of fiction and nonfiction, poetry and graphic novels who will participate in panels, readings and other creative performances. Attendees are welcome to take a stroll through the vibrant outdoor Literary Marketplace, hosting more than 200 independent booksellers and publishers. This year’s Festival themes address pressing contemporary social and literary topics from refugees and immigration to music writing, science fiction and the always relevant topic of love.” NYSCA supports the Brooklyn Book Festival through our Literature Program.

Youtheatre: Class Acts brings live performance to children for 25 years

The Journal

“During the last 2½ decades, the Ogdensburg Command Performances Youtheatre: Class Acts program has presented approximately 400 live stage productions to more than 340,000 elementary and secondary students at schools across the north country…This year’s 25th season of the Youtheatre program has been expanded to 24 performances consisting of six productions in the four school districts of Gouverneur, Massena, Ogdensburg and Salmon River…“We’re adding an additional venue in Franklin County which enables us to reach the Akwesasne population,” said [OCP Administrator Sally F.] Palao. “And we’ll present ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ to two additional high schools in Massena and Gouverneur.’”… Mrs. Palao said this year’s 25th season marks an obvious milestone for the Youtheatre program, which had a difficult season last year because of budget cuts…The OCP Youtheatre program is unique, according to Mrs. Palao, because it enables students from across the north country to attend professional stage productions during the school day. Ogdensburg, Massena, Gouverneur and Salmon River schools are chosen as the base for the performances because the school campuses have the largest auditoriums. Students from other, smaller districts are then bused from the respective schools to the larger venues on performance days. The cost is shared by Youtheatre, the St. Lawrence-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services and local districts.” NYSCA supports OCP through our Presenting Program.

Fall arts guide

Albany Times-Union

The Albany Times-Union’s fall arts guide celebrates the Capital Region’s flourishing scene. NYSCA grantees featured include Proctors, whose Festival of South African Dance will showcase the politically charged Pantsula form—quick, syncopated stepping set to pop, electronic, techno or house music, frequently used as a medium for speaking out against apartheid and socioeconomic injustice; Hudson Hall, which will offer a rare performance of Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thomson’s opera “The Mother of Us All” about the life of Susan B. Anthony; Capital Repertory Theatre, which presents Laura Eason’s digital-age comedy “Sex with Strangers,” and Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, which will offer a light night of classical music parody with a new work by P.D.Q. Bach.

Raising the next generation of classical music lovers

Crains New York

“At a time when classical music is straining to attract new and younger audiences, tuba player Karen Geer is working hard to cultivate the next generation of musicians and music lovers. She leads the InterSchool Orchestras of New York, a nonprofit whose eight musical ensembles—composed of 350 musicians ages 6 to 19—perform in schools, community centers and nursing homes, and onstage at venues such as Lincoln Center. Using scholarships, financial aid and sliding-scale tuition, ISO provides music education for kids of all incomes and in all neighborhoods. They must audition and are placed in ensembles depending on their skill level. During Geer’s five years at the helm, she has increased corporate philanthropy and more than doubled government support.” This season, the ISO is cross-marketing with professional music groups and schools, such as the Third Street Music School Settlement, providing a quarter of a million dollars in need-based scholarships, and performing at high-profile venues such as the Oculus Plaza at the World Trade Center and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The orchestra plans to double its number of students to 700 by its 50th anniversary in 2022. NYSCA supports the ISO through our Arts Education Program.


Artists as Innovators: Celebrating Three Decades of NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowships

You are invited to join us!

NYSCA is pleased to announce that on Saturday, September 9, 2017, three decades of the NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowships will be commemorated with the opening of the traveling exhibition Artists as Innovators: Celebrating Three Decades of New York State Council on the Arts/New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships at the Dorsky Museum, SUNY-New Paltz. The fellowship program has supported more than 4,000 artists in various fields in the visual arts, literature, and performing arts at critical stages throughout their careers.

NYSCA Chair, Dr. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, who will speak at the opening, said: “We are pleased to acknowledge our fruitful, and long-lasting collaboration with NYFA. NYSCA has invested more than $30 million, to provide cash awards of $650,000 annually to artists, living and working in New York State. These fellowships provide unrestricted support, and have nurtured thousands of diverse, and engaged members of New York State’s creative communities. This outstanding exhibition, which will travel throughout New York State over the next three years, will offer an opportunity for the wider public to enjoy the tangible results of what NYSCA, in concert with NYFA, has initiated and supported.”

Participating artists include: Elia Alba, Ida Applebroog, Dawoud Bey, Sanford Biggers, Ross Bleckner, Wendell Castle, Tara Donovan, Chitra Ganesh, The Guerrilla Girls, Christian Marclay, Marilyn Minter, Lori Nix, Tony Oursler, Faith Ringgold, Martha Rosler, Dread Scott, Andres Serrano, Shinique Smith, Carmelita Tropicana and Fred Wilson. In addition to the visual artists in the exhibition, the roster of NYSCA/NYFA Fellows includes such significant figures as A.M. Homes, David Henry Hwang, Tony Kushner, Lynn Nottage, and Suzan-Lori Parks in theatre and literary arts; Todd Haynes, Spike Lee, and Mira Nair in film; Meredith Monk, Julie Taymor, and Yvonne Rainer in the performing arts; and Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio in architecture.

The opening reception will take place from 5:00 – 7:00 PM; at The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, SUNY New Paltz, 1 Hawk Drive, New Paltz, NY, where it will remain until November 12, 2017. The exhibition will then travel to SUNY Cortland, Alfred University, SUNY Fredonia, SUNY Plattsburgh, Stony Brook University, and Westchester Community College.

For more information about the exhibit, please contact Ronni Reich at; for more information about the NYSCA/NYFA fellowships, please visit:

NYSCA in the News

This week, NYSCA grantees collaborate to create a new fellowship to promote equity in the arts, combat Parkinson’s symptoms through dance, stage a one-woman show in New Yorkers’ kitchens, and more.

BRIC, Mark Morris Dance Group, MoCADA and TFANA to Build Diversity, Equity with New Fellowship

Broadway World

“BRIC, Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG), The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) and Theatre for a New Audience (TFANA) have announced the launch of the Downtown Brooklyn Arts Management Fellowship, a new program whose aim is to build long-term equity and diversity in the field of arts management. In the pilot year, beginning in September, seven Fellows…will work with and be mentored by arts managers from the cohort of four organizations, participate in a comprehensive professional development training curriculum, have opportunities to connect with and learn from each other through formal and informal activities, and build networking connections to springboard their careers as emerging arts leaders in New York City. They will receive full-time salary and benefits throughout the year…The Fellowship prioritizes emerging voices from racial and ethnic communities that are historically underrepresented in the industry, as well as low-income individuals who have not had access to internships or costly master’s degrees that are often the entrée into the industry. Over 600 applications were received for the seven available fellowship positions… ‘This fellowship program enables BRIC and our partners to invest in the careers of a new generation of arts administrators who are not adequately represented in our field. We are tremendously grateful to New York City’s Theater Subdistrict Council, The New York City Cultural Agenda Fund in The New York Community Trust and The New York State Council on the Arts’ Regional Economic Development Council Program (REDC) for helping to make this ambitious dream a reality,’ said Leslie Schultz, President of BRIC.”

Art Moves Me: Therapeutic dance program for Parkinson’s


Created in partnership with the National Parkinson’s Foundation of Western New York, the Burchfield Penney Art Center’s Art Moves Me class combines art with movement in order to help people with Parkinson’s Disease. “After participants gather for a brief discussion around a Burchfield painting, [teaching artist Christina] Pegado begins a dance lesson -asking her class to use their imaginations and movement.” Musician Bob Sowyrda, who accompanies the class said, “The wonderful thing about this program is it seems to find places of movement that people otherwise wouldn’t find themselves.”  “Parkinson’s disease has taken some things away from [me] and for myself to fight it, to do things that will help prolong a useful life, dancing and other exercises will help that,” remarked Paul Markwart, retired architect.” Participants say the class has “nourished my soul,” helped with balance issues, and alleviated symptoms. NYSCA supports Burchfield Penney through our Museum and Electronic Media & Film Programs.

Just Buffalo Literary Center programs for The Civil Writes Project

Buffalo Rising

“Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison will be making an appearance in Buffalo on November 9, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s historic talk here in Buffalo. Leading up to the BABEL-related visit by the heralded author, Just Buffalo Literary Center (JBLC) will be launching five weeks of programming directed towards helping to ensure that we will one day live in a world that is free from racial inequalities. Those five weeks will encompass numerous programs including writing workshops, book discussions, film screenings, and interdisciplinary performances. The call to action is part of an even greater vision called The Civil Writes Project…Follow the initiative as it unfolds on the JBLC Facebook page.” NYSCA supports Just Buffalo through our Literature and Arts Education Programs.

Why New Yorkers Are Turning Their Homes Into Stages for a Play About Syrian Refugees


“This fall, Off-Broadway theatre company PlayCo lifts what’s happening in Syria out of the news cycle, and turns it into an intimate human interaction…In Oh My Sweet Land, a woman of mixed Syrian-German heritage is cooking kibbeh, a traditional Syrian dish. While she prepares the food, she recounts a story of love, hope, exile, and war. She takes us on her journey through Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria, back to her roots and on a quest to find the man she loves, detailing the sights and people she meets along the way. Beginning in September, Oh My Sweet Land will play in the homes of volunteers throughout all five boroughs before audiences of approximately ten guests per night. The play, performed by Nadine Malouf with direction by Zuabi, will also be staged for larger audiences at community spaces around the city. ‘The Play Company decided to produce Oh My Sweet Land in non-traditional venues in an effort to literally bring these stories ‘home’ to audiences,’ explains PlayCo’s Founding Producer Kate Loewald. ‘It will be a very intimate experience that we hope will provide access to the work on a direct human level.’ The other objective, explains Loewald, is that the compact nature of the performance space will encourage the right kinds of conversations after each show…At each performance, PlayCo will provide audience members with information about organizations working on refugee issues and resettlement in New York City.” NYSCA supports PlayCo through our Theatre Program.

Hallockville Museum Farm’s Country Fair And Craft Show To Include Demonstrations, Over 50 Artisans, Tractor Pull, Tours, And More

At the Annual Hallockville Country Fair at the Hallockville Museum Farm in Riverhead, visitors can expect to see more than 50 craft vendors, tractor pulls all day, local food trucks, and demonstrations of blacksmithing, weaving, woodworking, quilting, and wooden boat building. “The Fair will also feature a 1930’s Depression Era Quilt Show in the Historic Naugles Barn, live music, children’s activities and games, guided museum tours of the 1765 Homestead, 1931 Cichanowicz Farmhouse and Homestead Barn, a special 250th Anniversary exhibit and historic transportation exhibit, a livestock display and farm animals…Proceeds will support the not-for-profit’s education programs, historic restoration, special exhibits, upkeep of 19 historic buildings on 28 acres of preserved land, farm animals and more.” NYSCA supports the Hallockville Museum Farm through our Folk Arts Program.

Glens Falls Symphony branches out from the concert hall into the community

Glens Falls Post-Star

“The Glens Falls Symphony is branching out from the concert hall to the community to emphasize “Immerse Yourself in the Music,” the theme of its 2017-2018 season. The symphony will partner with Crandall Public Library, downtown restaurants and area schools to offer community programs, many of them free, including film showings and children’s story times at the library and after-concert performances at downtown restaurants.” Films and children’s books presented prior to concerts will relate to themes of the music. NYSCA supports the Glens Falls Symphony through our Music Program.

Moving the Needle at the Jewish Museum

Long Island Pulse

“[Jewish Museum Director Claudia] Gould is uniquely equipped to bring contemporary realities to Modigliani’s work as well as the museum’s exhibitions and collection. Before starting as director of the Jewish Museum in 2011, she had a career of some three decades directing museums and creating exhibitions…She’s also restructuring the museum philosophically. She’s inviting contemporary artists to make commissioned ritual objects and has brought more diversity to the museum by including Chinese, Saudi, Korean, Buddhist and Christian artists…Gould claimed it’s ‘very easy’ to create a balance of pleasure, seriousness, history and inclusiveness within the Jewish Museum. ‘We try to make the exhibitions fun so everybody walks out smiling. We’re moving the needle without moving the mission and I think that’s very important.’” NYSCA supports the Jewish Museum through our Electronic Film & Media and Museum Programs.