NYSCA in the News

This week, NYSCA grantees are in the news with an impressive organizational turnaround, exhibitions exploring history and religion, and an opportunity for museum visitors to help break a world record.

After digging out of a financial hole, Everson Museum is charting a new course

Syracuse Post-Standard

“Until about 15 years ago, the Everson museum was the authority on ceramic art, nationally and internationally. But the museum lost its focus. The ceramics exhibition sat, nearly untouched, for about 30 years. The other exhibits rarely changed.” Following the appointment of CEO and Director Elizabeth Dunbar in 2014, changes have been made. Whereas in 2012 and 2013, the museum had deficits of $500,000, and in 2014 exhibitions had to be canceled in the face of an $800,000 loss, the museum is now in the black. A new curator has been hired. The museum began charging visitors a flat fee, instead of free admission with additional charges for special exhibitions. The I.M. Pei building is undergoing renovations to the auditorium and converting space for gallery and classroom use. “Dunbar has also worked to get more fun into the building, on its grounds and out into the community. Last year, the museum had more than 6,000 people attend programs and about 1,400 people reached through community events. Before Dunbar arrived, the outreach was nearly nonexistent and the numbers of people who attended programs was a third of what was done last year.” NYSCA supports the Everson Museum through our Museum, Electronic Media & Film, and Regional Economic Development Council Programs.

Speak, poet: Buffalo poetry scene is diverse, vibrant and fresh

The Buffalo News

“Buffalo’s poetry culture – like the city itself – is clawing its way from shadowy bars and coffeehouses into the streets, stages and public consciousness. Poetry in Buffalo is not new but a slew of players are keeping it as fresh as the Main Street medical campus, and growing just as fast.” Singled out is NYSCA Literature and Arts Education grantee Just Buffalo. “The JBWC reaches out for young poets to nurture and create Buffalo’s next generation of literary voices by providing a free after-school program for writers ages 12 to 18. ‘While the traditional reading is and will always be prevalent, I’ve been so excited to see more and more events that celebrate and present poetry in innovative ways,’ said Robin Jordan of the center. ‘It’s really important that young people realize language has tremendous power and it can be used to empower you as well as to enslave you,’ added Buffalo News Poetry Editor Bob Pohl. ‘Drawing young people into poetry is a vital force for this country because all art is transformative.’

Muslim Culture Show a Hit at Children’s Museum of Manhattan


“An exhibition about Muslim cultures around the world is proving popular at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. The museum has seen an increase in visitors since the show opened, with a third of those visitors from outside the New York area. The show, called ‘America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far,’ runs through December and will open in February 2018 at the Creative Discovery Museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee, followed by a run in 2019 at the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia…The exhibition includes interactive features like a global marketplace where children can pretend to buy spices from Egypt, ceramics from Turkey and rugs from Morocco. They can also weigh their catch at the Zanzibar fish market, smell Indonesian fruits, serve Tajik tea and design outfits inspired by West African tailors who work in New York. And they can explore ancient trade routes on a camel or an Indian Ocean boat called a dhow. The exhibit is decorated with geometric tile designs, patterned rugs, ceramics and other works of art. A 3-D installation shows mosque architecture from the Maldives to China.” NYSCA supports the Children’s Museum through our Museum Program.

Everything is awesome for Lego fans at ‘Brick Fest Live’ this weekend at the Hall of Science

Queens Courier

“This is the chance to build bridges with friends and family — and some walls, skyscrapers and garages, too. Brick Fest Live, a two-day Lego fan jubilee, will take place at the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Corona Park this weekend. Hands-on attractions and activities will rule both days. In the Collaborative Building section, enthusiasts will work together with colorful 1-inch by 1-inch Lego bricks to create a floor mosaic that will be submitted for consideration by Guinness World Records.” Also included: Nerdy Derby, in which visitors can design, build and race cars on special tracks in the museum’s Viscusi Auditorium; a 7-foot-tall model of Woody from the movie “Toy Story” made entirely of Lego bricks; and a Big Brick Pit with 100,000 2×4 inch red bricks for visitors to work with. NYSCA supports the Hall of Science through our Museum and Electronic Media & Film Programs.

New exhibit marks 100th anniversary of U.S. entering World War I


“The Buffalo History Museum is marking the [World War I] centennial by opening a new exhibit that explores what was supposed to be ‘the war to end all wars.’ That exhibit includes tributes to Western New Yorkers who served and sacrificed for the war effort. The exhibit known as ‘For Home and Country’ features numerous mementos from a war that had begun in 1914. The U.S. committed to the war in 1917 but American soldiers didn’t see combat until the following year…The newly-opened exhibit in the Buffalo History Museum remembers the buildup with a series of posters in its main hall, including the iconic Uncle Sam ‘I Want You’ Army recruitment advertisement. Hanging on a wall as part of the exhibit space on the ground level is a large banner which reads, ‘Buffalo Will See It Through.’… The museum’s exhibit also includes displays of authentic uniforms and equipment that American fighters used in the field. A mock-up of a machine gun position is featured.” NYSCA supports the Buffalo History Museum through our Museum Program.

From Albany Pro Musica: a month of events addressing peace

Albany Times-Union

“Panels, performances, services and lectures on peace and reconciliation are among the packed slate of events supplementing Albany Pro Musica’s …May 6, rendering of “The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace,” an anti-war choral work by Welsh composer Sir Karl Jenkins. Upcoming peace-related programming includes…presentations on the piece with APM singers and artistic director Jose Daniel Flores-Caraballo; a…panel on “Reconciliation as a Key to Societal Healing”; a…seminar and reading by author and Iraq War interrogator Eric Fair…[a] Rockefeller Institute event on global peace and reconciliation; a series of interfaith performances and services…; and “Facing the Truth: Lessons from Post-Apartheid South Africa,”…at the Albany Institute of History & Art…The ambitious and wide-ranging lineup follows last year’s “City of Immigrants,” Albany Pro Musica’s month-long series of multidisciplinary events that anticipated its April concert.” NYSCA supports Albany Pro Musica through our Regional Economic Development Council Program.


NYSCA in the News

This week, NYSCA grantees look toward the future, with a new museum, culture plan, virtual reality exhibit, and more.

Ground broken for children’s museum on Buffalo’s waterfront

Lake Placid News

“A new children’s museum is one step closer to opening on Buffalo’s waterfront. A groundbreaking ceremony for the $27 million Explore & More Children’s Museum was held on Wednesday. The 43,000-square-foot museum is expected to open in the area known as Canalside late next year. Planners project it will attract 250,000 visitors each year. The new four-story Children’s Museum will feature seven Buffalo-themed educational play zones. Plans call for retail space on the first level, a two-story atrium space with a water exhibit on the second floor, other exhibits on the third floor and a rooftop terrace with a view of the city and the Buffalo River. The museum is currently located in East Aurora.” NYSCA supports Explore & More through our Museum, Regional Economic Development Council, and Folk Arts Programs.

Staten Island ‘culture plan’ outlines ways to improve the borough’s North Shore


“In a recent community forum, Staten Island Arts along with the Design Trust for Public Space outlined strategies for ways in which to revitalize, improve sustainability, and boost economic development within the rapidly changing North Shore (Staten Island’s waterfront). The meeting kicked off the first of a series of feedback sessions as part of the Future Culture: Connecting Staten Island’s Waterfront project. Residents already have many ideas on how to improve their community, but ultimately, the agenda for Future Culture is to foster local culture by cultivating quality public spaces that will promote creativity, diversity, enhance along the waterfront area as well as nearby neighborhoods.” Initial ideas include “Form a North Shore Cultural Station, a cultural committee, an investment fund, and a fellowship program; Determine sites, resources, and sponsors for large festivals, events, performances, ongoing programming series, and educational programming that prioritize collaboration with immigrant- and heritage-based organizations and groups; Create a map of local cultural assets and wayfinding strategies to encourage local exploration beyond the ferry terminal and connecting public- and privately-owned sites to routes of discovery; Create enhanced, connected, high-performance green spaces that promote urban ecological diversity, foster resiliency, and safeguard direct access to the water’s edge; among many others.” NYSCA supports Staten Island Arts through our State & Local Partnership, Regional Economic Development Council, Folk Arts, and Arts Education Programs.

David Byrne to feature at BRIC’s inaugural Free Arts Festival

Brooklyn Eagle

“Keeping its promise to present innovative content to Brooklynites, the company recently announced that it would be hosting its inaugural BRIC OPEN Festival, a weekend-long series of events featuring dance classes, groundbreaking community discussions and interactive performances. The festival will take place from April 27 to April 30 in BRIC’s Fort Greene headquarters at 647 Fulton St. next to the BAM Harvey Theater. The festival will ‘illuminate the power of inclusive, participatory arts and media,’ while also ‘testing ideas about the creation and consumption of culture,’ according to the BRIC website. The opening event will feature a talk from co-founder of the Talking Heads David Byrne called ‘Reasons to be Cheerful.’” Additional events include a #BHeard Town Hall called ‘The People, The Press and The President’ presented in partnership with Columbia Journalism Review; a ‘Dance = Freedom’ series, offering free dance classes for all ages and abilities in collaboration with Ronald K. Brown/Evidence with Annique Roberts, Ballez with Katy Pyle and Jules Skloot, Urban Bush Women and Arielle Rosales; and ‘Beyond Sacred,’ an interview-based theatre production exploring the diverse experiences of Muslim Americans. NYSCA supports BRIC through our State & Local Partnership, Regional Economic Development Council, Presenting, Individual Artists, and Electronic Media & Film Programs.

Ai Weiwei’s provocative ‘Fences’ artwork coming to Downtown Brooklyn

Brooklyn Eagle

“Artwork on the theme of fences, by renowned Chinese artist/political activist Ai Weiwei, will be installed at numerous sites across three boroughs this coming fall — including atop bus shelters in Downtown Brooklyn. On Oct. 12, Weiwei’s exhibition ‘Good Fences Make Good Neighbors,’ commissioned by the Public Art Fund to celebrate its 40th anniversary, will capture the world’s attention with roughly ten major large, stand-alone installations and dozens of smaller “interventions.” The exhibition, running four months, will contain about 100 pieces, according to a Public Art Fund spokesperson. Weiwei’s site-specific work, in the form of metal wire security fences, is inspired by the international migration crisis and rise in nationalism, and is particularly significant considering the Trump administration’s plan to build a $22 billion fence at the Mexican border…Other sites for the artwork across the city include the Essex Street Market on the Lower East Side, Cooper Union on Astor Place, Doris C. Freedman Plaza at Central Park and Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens. The exhibition runs Oct. 12, 2017 through Feb. 11, 2018.” NYSCA supports the Public Art Fund through our Visual Arts Program.

Off-Broadway theaters stay afloat as they test the waters with shows bound for the Great White Way

New York Daily News

“How do you get to the Great White Way? Well, for most performers, the road starts Off-Broadway. Roughly 100 shows open every year in the commercial and nonprofit theaters that make up the Off-Broadway League — a talent incubator that’s fueled some of the industry’s biggest hits…In the past 25 years, 17 Pulitzer Prize-winning plays began Off-Broadway, including [‘Hamilton’]. Other well-known Broadway hits with indie roots include ‘Avenue Q,’ ‘Driving Miss Daisy,’ ‘Rent’ and ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’…Half of the 2016 Best Actor Emmy nominees have worked Off-Broadway, including Claire Danes, Viola Davis, Matthew Rhys, Keri Russell, Liev Schreiber and Kevin Spacey. Over the past two decades, 303 of all Tony nominations and 106 of the wins were for productions started Off-Broadway.” NYSCA Theatre Program grantees mentioned Second Stage Theatre, the Public Theater, and Playwrights Horizons.

BAM Goes Heavy On Virtual Reality With Teknopolis Exhibit For Kids

Technical.ly Brooklyn

“The Brooklyn Academy of Music has long been at the forefront of promoting the avant garde [including]…Teknopolis, an interactive, multi-space exhibit for kids that ran from Feb. 25 to March 12. The exhibit was inspired by…installations as the Toronto International Film Festival’s fest for kids, which incorporated a large digiPlaySpace gallery with indie games, robots and other tech experiences. The BAM exhibit was designed to present works that would ‘inspire the creative impulses of visitors, encouraging them to create their own music or animation, or at least elicit strong responses from them about the exhibit’s experiences’… One of the key benefits of the exhibit is that it allowed visitors to sample virtual reality and experience adventures using the technology. Most visitors had their first VR experience at the exhibit. Among the highlights: the installation ‘Shifting Clouds’ by artists Adrien M and Claire B, which featured clouds in the shape of the visitor’s silhouette; ‘The Turning Forest,’ a VR fantasy tale with 3D sound created by BBC Research & Development and VRTOV; ‘Pop n’ Lock Dance Machine’ by Catshrine, which allowed visitors to create their own animated dance videos; and ‘Lumarca,’ a volumetric display by Matt Parker and Josh Holtsford presenting a digital avatar of the visitor that mimicked his or her movements… According to BAM, 2,700 members of the public attended the exhibit.” BAM intends to make Teknopolis an annual experience. NYSCA supports BAM through our Presenting and Electronic Media & Film Programs.

Buffalo Arts Studio celebrates 25 years in downtown Buffalo


“The Buffalo Arts Studio started 25 years ago with the idea to bring an affordable studio space to Buffalo. With the rising cost of living in the city, leaders in Buffalo’s art world created a space where artists could afford to develop. The Buffalo Art Studio is one of the original tenants at the budding Tri-Main Building. Curator Shirley Verrico said, ‘When it started there were hardly any businesses in the Tri-Main building and the neighborhood around the building was suffering…[Now] There are hundreds of businesses within the Tri-Main building, it’s some of the best of what happens in Buffalo.’ The Buffalo Arts Studio is spreading across Western New York, especially on the city’s east side. Verrico said, ‘We really have faith in our neighborhood. We’re watching it develop in such a positive and wonderful way and we believe the arts are a huge part of that. We see how it changes people’s lives, how it changes neighborhoods.’ Now 90 artists who are all connected through Buffalo Art Studios will celebrate that this weekend through an auction: A fundraiser to keep the Buffalo Art Studio dream alive.” At the 22,000 square-foot studio, original art prices will begin at $50. NYSCA supports Buffalo Arts Studio through our Visual Arts, Special Arts Services, and Facilities programs.

NYSCA in the News

This week, NYSCA grantees announce new seasons, collaborations, and homes — as well as couture costumes and award-winning opera singers to watch.

Cinematographer Vittorio Storaro to be honored by George Eastman Museum

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

“Next weekend, the George Eastman Museum honors…cinematographer, Vittorio Storaro, with the Eastman Award, and will host the artist at three events that should strongly appeal to film fans. First, at 7 p.m., Friday, March 24, Storaro will introduce Francis Coppola’s great epic, Apocalypse Now, in its extended Redux version. Storaro won the Oscar for the legendary project…Second, at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 25, Storaro will receive the Eastman Award, followed by an onstage conversation and a screening of Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy, which Storaro shot beautifully in bright primary comic strip colors…Third, and most…unusual, at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 26, Storaro will introduce a free screening (first-come, first-served) of the East Coast premiere of Muhammad: Messenger of God, a controversial Iranian-made epic on the life of the great prophet. It’s a unique opportunity to see a film unavailable in the West, and one that Storaro says contains some of his greatest work.” NYSCA supports the George Eastman Museum through our Museum and Electronic Media & Film Programs.

First look at Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory

The Poughkeepsie Journal

“A hundred years ago, the three-story brick building that stands on N. Cherry Street in the City of Poughkeepsie was world-renowned for making underwear. Now, after years of vacancy, the 22,0000-square-foot property features affordable and market rate housing and three commercial spaces, which open house guests will be able to tour for the first time on March 30. The grand opening of the Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory will feature tours of the building and the businesses that now inhabit it, including light snacks in the Poughkeepsie Open Kitchen, coffee from North River Roasters, studio visits with resident artists, information on Spark Media Project/Mill Street Loft programs, and more…On the third floor, visitors will find local art organizations Street Loft and Spark Media Project, which will be merging and utilize the space which, in proximity to city schools, will be used for activities and after school programs” NYSCA supports Spark Media Project through our Electronic Media & Film, Arts Education, and Regional Economic Development Council Programs and Mill Street Loft through our Arts Education and State & Local Partnership Programs.

Lincoln Center Festival Announces 2017 Lineup


“Lincoln Center has announced the lineup for its 2017 summer festival, which will run July 10–30. The 22nd annual Lincoln Center Festival will feature 20 international productions and 43 performances across dance, music, theatre, and film from around the U.S. and the world. ‘One thing that has emerged as a theme this year—because the world has certainly changed since the 2016 Festival—is that our international festival has become about borders and specifically about crossing them,’ commented festival director Nigel Redden in a press statement…this year’s festival will include Israeli filmmaker Amos Gital’s play about the assassination of the Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin: Chronicle of Assassination (July 19), Syrian playwright Mohammad Al Attar’s family drama about a man stopped at a Damascus checkpoint, While I Was Waiting (July 19–22), and Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv’s sold-out production of To the End of the Land by David Grossman (July 24–27). The festival’s theatre lineup also features the U.S. premiere of Opening Skinner’s Box from Britain’s Improbable Theatre. Inspired by Lauren Slater’s 2004 book, the show offers an overview of the 20th century’s most famous psychological experiments. In the world of ballet, the Bolshoi Ballet, New York City Ballet, and Paris Opera Ballet will come together onstage for a special 50th anniversary presentation of George Balanchine’s 1967 masterpiece, Jewels; $20 lottery tickets will be available with details to be announced at a later date. Performances will run July 20-23 in the David H. Koch Theater.” NYSCA supports Lincoln Center through our Presenting and Music Programs.

Irish literary giant coming to Babel

The Buffalo News

“Like wine, 86-year-old Irish author Edna O’Brien seems to get better with age. O’Brien’s latest novel, ‘The Little Red Chairs,’ is ‘her masterpiece,’ according to Philip Roth, one of the most celebrated American authors and two years her junior, who also proclaimed her ‘the most gifted woman now writing in English.’…It took decades, but eventually O’Brien was celebrated as one of her country’s greatest authors in her native Ireland. In 2015, O’Brien was honored with Ireland’s highest literary accolade, and Irish President Michael D. Higgins publicly apologized for the way she was treated early in her career. O’Brien’s works include novels, short stories, dramas and an autobiography. She makes her first appearance in Buffalo at 8 p.m. Friday in Kleinhans Music Hall. She’ll be speaking as part of Just Buffalo Literary Center’s Babel international author series. A question-and-answer session will follow.” NYSCA supports Just Buffalo through our Literature and Arts Education Programs.

Couture Designers Made the Costumes for This New Ballet

New York Magazine

“[Choreographer Blanca Li’s] Goddesses & Demonesses, appearing at New York City Center for a limited engagement (March 30 to April 1) is costumed by fashion nobility —the likes of Azzedine Alaïa, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Sophie Theallet, and Stella McCartney. To top it off, the show also features Swarovski-encrusted masks crafted by Erik Halley, an accessories designer who has worked with everyone from Dior to Yamamoto. Goddess & Demonesses is a pas de deux, mixing the vocabularies of modern dance, flamenco, and ballet, which Li choreographed for herself and Bolshoi Ballet principal dancer Maria Alexandrova as an invocation of femininity inspired by Greek mythology.” NYSCA supports City Center through our Dance and Presenting Programs.

2017 Winners of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions are Announced

Broadway World

“After a months-long series of competitions at the district, regional, and national levels, a panel of expert judges named six young singers as the winners of the nation’s most prestigious vocal competition, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Each winner receives a $15,000 cash prize and the prestige and exposure that come with winning the competition that launched the careers of many of opera’s biggest stars. This year’s winners are Samantha Hankey, 24, mezzo-soprano (Eastern Region: Marshfield, MA); Kirsten MacKinnon, 26, soprano (Middle Atlantic Region: Vancouver, BC, Canada); Aryeh NussbaumCohen, 23, countertenor (Eastern Region: Brooklyn, NY); Richard Smagur, 26, tenor (Central Region: Clarkesville, GA); Kyle van Schoonhoven, 28, tenor (Central Region: Lockport, NY); and Vanessa Vasquez, 26, soprano (Middle Atlantic Region: Scottsdale, AZ). The Met Auditions, currently in their 64th year, were the public’s first introduction to many of today’s best-known stars …Over 100 singers who participated in the National Council process early in their careers are on the Met’s roster in the current season.” NYSCA supports the Metropolitan Opera through our Music Program.

This Museum is Celebrating 50 Years of Diverse Queer Experience


“The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, in an effort to keep up with the times, recently completed a 2,300-square-foot expansion, doubling its exhibition space, and hired Gonzalo Casals, the former Deputy Executive Director of El Museo del Barrio as [its] new director. Casals is charged with re-energizing the museum’s mission to not only, ‘educate, inform, inspire, entertain and challenge all who enter our doors,’ but to also focus on diversity in the gay community. The museum’s new exhibition, Expanded Visions: Fifty Years of Collecting, a survey of the museum’s more than 30,000 objects, captures the history of the changing museum and community… The show is organized by themes, which extend back a few centuries to show that queer people have always existed… ‘What I think is really interesting is the way the curators hung the show,’ explains Casals. ‘Rather than do sections by identity or sexual expression, they identified common themes like togetherness, friendship, and relationships, so on every wall, you are confronted with our community’s diversity.’… The exhibition also includes works by artists such as Andy Warhol, Robert Mapplethorpe, Nan Goldin, and Catherine Opie, offering a cross generational showing of contemporary gay art.” NYSCA supports the Leslie-Lohman Museum through our Museum and Visual Arts Programs.

Fiasco Theater Named Roundabout’s Company in Residence


“Roundabout Theatre Company has announced its new artistic plans for 2017, including its inaugural directing fellow, associate artist, and a new company in residence. After collaborating with Fiasco Theater on their acclaimed [pared]-down production of Into the Woods in 2015, Roundabout has named Fiasco their company in residence. The organization will provide Fiasco with an artistic home and full use of company resources to continue developing their work. Jenny Rachel Weiner, who recently concluded her year as a Roundabout resident playwright and whose play Kingdom Come debuted in the company’s Black Box Theatre, has joined the company as an associate artist for 2017. She joins current associate artists Mark Brokaw, Doug Hughes, Bill Irwin, Pam MacKinnon, Joe Mantello, Kathleen Marshall, and Theresa Rebeck…RTC has also named Whitney White as its inaugural directing fellow.”  NYSCA supports RTC through our Theatre and Arts Education Programs.


Announcing the 2017 NYSCA-A.R.T./New York Creative Opportunity Fund Recipients

NYSCA is pleased to announce the recipients of the first NYSCA-A.R.T./New York Creative Opportunity Fund (A Statewide Theatre Regrant Program).

The NYSCA-A.R.T./New York Creative Opportunity Fund is a new regrant program that provides funds for small, New York State-based theatres and projects to support either organizational growth or the development of new work. The goal of the Creative Opportunity Fund is to provide a funding opportunity with a simple application process accessible to small organizations, unincorporated entities, and individual theatre artists in the interest of creating high-quality, professional theatre for the public of New York State.

A total of $42,500 was awarded to 20 companies for the 2017 fiscal year. Recipients in two categories are as follows:

Opportunity To Create

The Movement Theatre Company
Kyoung’s Pacific Beat
Steps Theatre
Hip to Hip Theatre Company
Lesser America
Untitled Theater Company No. 61
Theatre 167
Quick Silver Theater Company
Paramount Hudson Valley Arts
New Phoenix Theatre on the Park
Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Arts

Opportunity To Grow

Theater Breaking Through Barriers Corp.
Broken Box Mime Theater
Prospect Theater Company
Little Lord
Restless Productions NYC
Shake on the Lake, Inc.
Jewish Repertory Theatre of Western New York
Sheas 710 Main Theatre

NYSCA in the News

This week, NYSCA grantees announce new leadership and community programs, and a sweet ballet gets a new pop-surrealist look.

A New York Philharmonic Coup: Deborah Borda Is Named the New Leader

New York Times

“[D]uring the past two months, [The New York Philharmonic] reached a crisis point: An exodus of top executives threatened the Philharmonic’s ability to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for the long-delayed renovation of its drab Lincoln Center home, and left a vacuum just as the orchestra needs to plan the introduction of its next music director, Jaap van Zweden, in 2018.So it was nothing short of a coup for the troubled Philharmonic to announce on Wednesday that it had poached one of the most successful arts administrators in the nation to become its next president and chief executive officer: Deborah Borda, who helped make the Los Angeles Philharmonic the envy of the orchestra world during her 17 years at its helm…Ms. Borda’s achievements in Los Angeles read like a to-do list for New York. She ushered the orchestra into its new home, the popular Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall. She bolstered the orchestra’s shaky finances and proved herself a prodigious fund-raiser, more than quintupling the endowment to $276 million this year. She signed Gustavo Dudamel as its music director when he was still in his 20s, and helped make him an international star. And she deepened the orchestra’s ties to its city while helping it earn a reputation for artistic risk-taking.” NYSCA supports the New York Philharmonic through our Music and Arts Education Programs.

SPAC to strengthen community connections

Albany Times-Union

“The Saratoga Performing Arts Center this summer will focus on strengthening connections between the venue and its community with a series of programs and initiatives that include lower ticket prices, free events with local arts partners and educational outreach…Among the ticket promotions are a discounted package combining admission to performances during the residencies of the New York City Ballet, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; expansion of Kids in Free lawn admission for classical programs from age 12 to 15; a $30 amphitheater ticket in select sections for classical performances; and $20 child and student amphitheater tickets for Freihofer’s Jazz Festival. In other jazz festival news, SPAC’s aging gazebo stage…will be replaced with a larger, technologically up-to-date gazebo. The new gazebo will also be the site for a summer performance series developed as part of a recently announced programming collaboration with Caffe Lena in Saratoga.” NYSCA supports SPAC through our Presenting Program.

Book-lyn Museum: Art book shows of borough’s treasures

Brooklyn Daily

“It’s the Brooklyn Museum in your pocket! The tiny new book “Treasures of the Brooklyn Museum” showcases more than 250 full-page photos of items in the Museum’s permanent collection. But the [former curator] who chose those items and wrote the introduction says that the 4.5-inch square volume is still no substitute for the real thing. ‘It’s the teaser to make you go to the Museum,’ said Kevin Stayton… ‘Experiencing a piece of art live, in the flesh, is a completely different experience than seeing it in a book.’..But the book has one advantage over actually visiting the Museum, said Stayton — it features works of art that are rarely on display, such as the watercolor “The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed By the Sun” by William Blake, which is too delicate to show for long.” NYSCA supports the Brooklyn Museum through our Museum and Arts Education Programs.

Roadtripping Frank Lloyd Wright’s greatest archi-hits

New York Post

“This year marks the 150th birthday of Frank Lloyd Wright, America’s most famous architect. While New Yorkers are most familiar with his last major project, New York’s Guggenheim Museum, he’s renowned for his houses which blew up prevailing Victorian forms. Luckily, fans of architecture — and road trips — can take in a variety of Wright’s residential work in a long weekend.” In Buffalo, reporter James Nevius recommends visiting the Darwin D. Martin House and Graycliff. NYSCA supports the Martin House Restoration Corp and Graycliff through our Architecture + Design Program and the Guggenheim through our Museum and Electronic Media & Film Programs.

A Revived 1920s Ballet Will Be a Surreal Confection of Candy and Kitsch


“A Gibson girl with a perfectly coiffed Vidal Sassoon bob wearing a ballgown made of slabs of meat and sausage links…and Katy Perry posing like Titian’s Venus in a “Garden of Earthly Delights” settings..are just a few examples of the works of pop-surrealist painter Mark Ryden, who, in his 30-year career, brought the lowbrow art movement out of the underground circuit of Southern California and into the mainstream…So when American Ballet Theatre’s choreographer and artist-in-residence Alexei Ratmansky and artistic director Kevin McKenzie decided to revive Richard Strauss’s surrealist and saccharine ballet Whipped Cream…Ryden was the ideal candidate to create the set and costumes. The libretto features a boy who just received his confirmation venturing into a pastry shop and overdosing on sugar. His excesses cause him to hallucinate, and his delirium takes the shape of a massive whirl of whipped cream emerging from an outsized bowl. He then finds himself at the hospital under the ministration of doctors and begs to be saved by Princess Praline, Princess Tea Flower, and Prince Coffee…Ryden joins a rich tradition of surrealists dabbling in theater work: Salvador Dalí worked on a production of Le Tristan Fou, Dorothy Tanning did the costumes for Balanchine’s The Night Shadow, and Ernst and Miró worked on Diaghilev’s Romeo et Juliette.” The production runs at the Metropolitan Opera house May 22 to July 1. NYSCA supports ABT through our Dance and Arts Education Programs.

Museum Program News: NYSCA and GHHN announce Creativity Incubator

NYSCA and GHHN are partnering on the Creativity Incubator – a workshop series that will encourage staff in museums to test out experimental interpretive approaches. There will be 3 workshops in 2017. As part of this hands-on experience, one lucky site in three different regions will have their collections or permanent installations re-imagined by creative thinkers in the field and session participants. Currently, three sites in the Hudson Valley are vying for this opportunity: Boscobel House & Gardens (www.boscobel.org), Roosevelt-Vanderbilt NHS (https://www.nps.gov/hofr/roosevelt-vanderbilt-national-historic-sites.htm), and Southeast Museum (http://www.southeastmuseum.org) – and you get to choose! Voting is only open for three weeks and anyone can vote! To vote for the workshop location, visit https://www.wedgies.com/question/56941b0c99dc4810000000f9

The workshop will take place April 25, and the location will be announced April 11.

Creativity Incubator Workshop Series

Hudson Valley Session

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Location will be announced on 4/11!

9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Workshop Fee: $25

Space is extremely limited – don’t delay! 

Register Today!


NYSCA FY2018 Application Tips: The Full List


Tomorrow, March 21, 2017, is the deadline to apply for FY2018 grants. Below, we have compiled a list of tips that have appeared daily, Monday-Friday, on our Facebook page throughout the application period.

1.Where to Register and Apply

Applying to NYSCA is a multi-step process. First, request a new account if you have never applied before at arts.ny.gov. Next, create/update Organization Information and Organization Budget forms at arts.ny.gov (in that order). Then, register your requests at arts.ny.gov. Then, Prequalify and apply in the Grants Gateway Application Portal at grantsreform.ny.gov.

2. Prequalification:

NYSCA recommends that applicants begin Prequalification as soon as possible. Resources about Prequalification are available on our homepage at arts.ny.gov.

3. What is Grants Gateway – and how do I use it?

NYSCA has created tutorials to help you use the New York State grants portal, Grants Gateway. Click here for the print tutorial: http://www.arts.ny.gov/public/grants/Tutorials/FY2018NYSCAGrantsGatewayTutorial.pdf and here for video tutorials: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLKT9_EWjYRqX9E0iX8hzF5guyVrdPX3_2. Please note the video tutorials were created for FY16 and may include deadlines that do not apply in FY18.

4. GOS or Project Support

General Operating Support applicants are evaluated on the holistic strength of the organization rather than a specific project offering, leaving more areas open to scrutiny. If a first-time applicant is very strong, it may be eligible for GOS. However, most applicants receive Project Support first.

5. Who can sponsor my application as an individual artist?

Any non-profit organization can serve as a sponsoring organization. To review a list of organizations that have served as fiscal sponsors, visit our website and search Past Grants in the Individual Artists and Architecture + Design Programs. As you will see, fiscal sponsors for theatre, dance, and music commissions and electronic media and film projects include Fractured Atlas, the New York Foundation for the Arts, Women Make Movies, and Independent Feature Project. For Architecture + Design Independent Projects grants, sponsoring organizations have included the Architectural League of New York, Storegront for Art & Architecture, and Van Alen Institute.

6. How important are my work samples?

Work samples are critical – and so are descriptions of your work. Tell us how each of your samples connects to your request and the story of your project and/or your organization’s trajectory.

7. Avoid Last-Minute Errors

There are multiple steps to our granting process and we are doing everything we can to make the process run smoothly. To be sure that no last-minute issues arise, we highly recommend having a complete draft of your grant ready to go AT LEAST one week before the deadline.

8. Grants Gateway Roles

All applications should designate themselves Grantee Contract Signatory if possible – the only roles that will be able to submit are Signatories and Grantee System Administrators. If there are multiple people working on a grant, additional roles will need to be created with a different user names. For a detailed description of Grants Gateway roles, visit our application tutorials.

9. About the Work Plan

Work Plan Overview, including the Project Summary, Organizational Capacity, Objectives, Tasks and Performance Measures, are not considered by staff or panelists as part of the application review. These sections are designed to populate your contract IF your organization is granted funding for FY18.

10. How much should I write?

If you’re working on the application offline, narrative questions typically allow for 4,000 characters.

11. Submitting Supporting Materials

Getting an error message trying to submit supporting materials? You may need to submit a single PDF. You can combine files into one PDF using Adobe Acrobat, Preview (Mac), or 3rd-party programs such as PDF Joiner.

12. Expenditure vs. Project Budget

The NYSCA Project Budget Form requests information about revenue and expenses for the entire project, including non-NYSCA funds. The Grants Gateway Expenditure Budget outlines how the organization plans to use the NYSCA grant request. Applicants must complete both budgets.

13. How many grants may I apply for?

Applicants may apply to two non-exempt funding categories, and cannot apply for both General Support and another non-exempt category in the same NYSCA program.  Please see the NYSCA guidelines for a complete list of exempt funding categories.

14. What goes in the budget notes section?

The budget notes help panelists clearly understand how you will execute your project. The more information you can provide here, the better — we don’t recommend leaving this blank.

15. What do I need to do if I currently receive multi-year support?

T0 renew a multi-year grant:

  1. Make sure your NYSCA final reports are submitted; you will not be able to renew if you have outstanding, overdue reports
  2. Make sure you’re Prequalified (unless exempt)
  3. Register at arts.ny.gov by March 21


16. If I receive multi-year support, how long will the term be?

For grant opportunities offering multi-year support, such as General Operating support grants, panelists will determine the length of the offering, from two to five years, based on the strength of the application. For more information about what panelists are looking for, read our funding criteria at http://arts.ny.gov/public/grants/funding_criteria.htm

17. Prequalification Reminder

Remember that applicants must be prequalified by the deadline of March 21st, 4 PM. If your 990, CHAR 500 and audit or financial statement will have expired by March 21st, you must upload current, unexpired documents by March 10 in order for prequalification specialists to review your vault.

18.Grants Gateway Help

Need help with Grants Gateway? Write to GrantsGatewayHelp@its.ny.gov.

Please note: this address is ONLY for Grants Gateway issues and NOT for questions about NYSCA’s Programs or Guidelines. NYSCA’s help desk is also available for non-Gateway technical questions at http://arts.ny.gov/grant_app/helpdesk/public_help.cfm

19. How should I write my narrative?

Don’t tell us your work is great – show us why. What does your project and organization do? Who do you serve? How? If you’ve faced recent challenges, tell us how you did (or will) overcome them. Be clear. Be specific.

20. Writing the narrative: Part 2

Remember to keep in mind NYSCA’s Funding Criteria, available in full in our Guidelines and on our website, which fall into these categories: Service to the Public, Artistic/Programmatic Excellence, and Managerial/Fiscal Competence

21. Have I submitted my application?

Visit the Guidelines for a screenshot of the final steps of the application process. You can verify that your application was submitted by clicking on the Details link and seeing your Current Status now shows Assignment of Reviewers. You will also receive an email verifying its submission.




NYSCA in the News

This week, NYSCA grantees are in the news for events showcasing historic contributions, from lost paintings to a first lady’s artifacts. There’s also plenty new to celebrate, including the announcement of new sculptures in NYC and Buffalo and a new program to help diversify the theatrical workforce. One museum has it both ways, with the launch of an app that commemorates New York City’s Gilded Age.

Hidden beneath paint, a famed artist’s wall decorations

Albany Times-Union

“Not only did Thomas Cole paint the lush mountain landscapes that inspired the Hudson River School art movement of the 19th century, he also painted on the walls of his home. Lost beneath layers of paint for more than a century, the patterned borders below the ceilings were rediscovered several years ago and are now revealed in their semi-faded glory. The stylized depictions of drapery and fabric, painstakingly recovered by conservators, will be fully displayed when the Thomas Cole National Historic Site opens for the season in May. While not exactly lost masterworks, they offer new insight into one of America’s most influential painters.” NYSCA supports the Thomas Cole National Historic Site through our Museum Program.

Good Timing for New Historical Society Exhibit on Women

Westside Rag

“[T]he New-York Historical Society Museum and Library has opened Saving Washington, the debut exhibit of the museum’s new Center for Women’s History…the exhibit explores the contributions of women of all classes to political and social causes of the time, despite being excluded from official roles in affairs of state. First Lady Dolly Madison was perhaps best known as a formidable hostess, capable of bringing together political adversaries in a congenial atmosphere. To give visitors a taste of Mrs. Madison’s popular “squeezes”—gatherings in which guests had to ”squeeze” into the president’s mansion—interactive features offer the opportunity to virtually experience a dinner table conversation and a friendly card game. But Mrs. Madison’s behind-the scenes influence and that of her female contemporaries are also explored in the exhibit, which includes more than 150 artifacts. Among those items on display in Saving Washington are political documents and publications, household objects, works of art, and personal effects belonging to Mrs. Madison including a silver snuffbox, the contents of which she shared freely with her guests. The full Center for Women’s History…opens late next month.” NYSCA supports the New-York Historical Society through our Museum and Regional Economic Development Council Programs.

This summer’s installation for the Met Rooftop has been announced

Time Out New York

For the 30th anniversary of the The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, “there will be a new plein air installation on its terrace courtesy of the Argentinian sculptor Adrián Villar Rojas—who at age 36 will be the youngest artist to create a piece for The Met’s roof. Working in clay, wood and concrete, Rojas is known for colossal objects like his space station for the New Museum, his whale mysteriously plunked down in the middle of a Patagonian forest and his menagerie of animals emerging from the sea for the 2015 Istanbul Biennial…For The Met, he’s planning on a series of a series of 20 large-scale sculptures titled “The Theater of Disappearance.” Together, they’ll reference treasures from the museums various holdings covering all of its 17 curatorial departments. Rojas’s work will be on view April 14–October 29.” NYSCA supports the Met through our Museum and Presenting Programs.

This New App Takes You Back in Time to New York City’s Gilded Age


“Watch some of the city’s most iconic Gilded Age buildings, like the Waldorf Astoria or the Andrew Carnegie House, travel back in time right before your eyes with a new app from The Museum of the City of New York. ‘A Walk Through Gilded New York,’ guides users with an audio tour and images of 15 historic sites, transitioning from how the buildings look now to drawings and photographs taken during the period starting from the late 19th century up to World War I. Stops on the virtual tour include Tiffany & Co.’s original headquarters, the sites of Siegel-Cooper and Lord & Taylor department stores, the Metropolitan Opera House, the Morgan Library, the William K. Vanderbilt house, Delmonico’s Restaurant and the Plaza. Each location includes roughly 2 minutes of narration by actress Grace Grummer — known for her role as Nora Ephron in Amazon’s “Good Girls Revolt” series and for other roles in Mr. Robot and American Horror Story. The entire two-hour tour covers areas from Union Square all the way up to 105th Street in East Harlem.” NYSCA supports the Museum of the City of New York through our Museum, Architecture + Design, and Regional Economic Development Council Programs.

‘My Fair Lady’ Returning to Broadway for First Time in 25 Years

NBC New York

“Lerner & Loewe’s classic musical “My Fair Lady” will return to Broadway next spring for the first time in 25 years. The musical, an adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s play “Pygmalion,” will begin previews at the Lincoln Center Theater’s Vivian Beaumont Theater on March 22, 2018 — with an opening night set for April 19. While no stars have been announced for the production, a director has: Barlett Sher, the visionary behind LCT’s Tony-winning revivals of “The King & I” and “South Pacific.”” NYSCA supports Lincoln Center Theater through our Theatre and Arts Education Programs.

Roundabout Theatre Company aims to increase diversity backstage

Crain’s New York

“The Roundabout Theatre Company is launching a program to train and place a diverse group of city high school graduates in technical jobs backstage. The three-year initiative, called the Theatrical Workforce Development Program, aims to place 50 fellows in professional careers as stagehands, sound engineers, and hair and makeup artists, among other jobs. To accomplish this, Roundabout, Broadway’s largest nonprofit theater company, is teaming up with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and The Door, a youth-development nonprofit. The program will cost around $4 million to administer over three years. The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment is putting up $500,000 to cover the cost of a six-week “boot camp” for each year’s group of fellows to train in safety, workforce readiness and technical skills. Roundabout is responsible for the rest of the funding and for choosing the fellows. Julie Menin, the city’s media and entertainment commissioner, said this was the theater industry’s first major effort to diversify its workforce. She said a recent study found that 70% of the people employed in theaters identify as white. ‘This is really important for the industry,’ Menin said. ‘This is a field that is very hard for diverse young people in the city to break into.’” NYSCA supports the Roundabout Theatre Company through our Theatre and Arts Education Programs.

St. Lawrence County Arts Council hosting Regional Arts Celebration

Daily Courier Observer

“The St. Lawrence County Arts Council will host a Regional Arts Celebration from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on March 18 at the TAUNY Center. The event provides a meet-and-greet opportunity for regional artists and arts organizers. Event-goers can listen to live music as they network and make new friends. There will be an Information Station which will allow attendees to swap and collect promotional materials. Artists are encouraged to bring business cards, brochures, flyers and any other printables that promote their work. The event also provides an opportunity for SLC Arts to recognize its 2017 grant recipients and present its 2017 Arts Recognition award.” NYSCA supports SLC Arts through our State and Local Partnership Program.

Arts Services Initiative of WNY plans for 2nd annual ‘Make Music Day’ in Buffalo & Niagara Falls

WNY Papers

“Arts Services Initiative of Western New York has announced Buffalo and Niagara Falls will join cities across the country and around the world for the second time to celebrate “Make Music Day” on June 21. “Make Music Day” is a worldwide celebration of music. ASI launched local participation in 2016 with 30 performances at 16 venues in Erie and Niagara counties, which, collectively, attracted over 5,000 participants and attendees. ASI is gearing up to bring a day filled with music to the area again. Completely different from a typical musical festival, “Make Music Day” seeks to encourage all people, young and old, amateur or professional, to experience the pleasure of making music. Every kind of musician – of all musical persuasions – pours onto streets, parks, plazas and other public spaces to share their music with friends, neighbors and strangers. All of it is free and open to the public.” NYSCA supports ASI WNY through our State and Local Partnership, Regional Economic Development Council, and Presenting Programs.

Colorful sculpture to make its debut at Metro station


“Few people would expect to find a sprawling sculpture of a DNA-like structure in a public transit station. But given the fact that Allen-Medical Campus Metro Station is a transit gateway to the growing Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, officials say it’s a fitting home for a sculpture called “Gut Flora.” The Albright-Knox Art Gallery commissioned the work for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority as part of an effort to promote public art. Artist Shasti O’Leary Soundant created the work which will be 15 feet tall and 25 feet wide. The sculpture, which will be installed this spring, is made up of 260 pieces that are designed to resemble a “beneficial bacteria colony” that is required to keep people healthy.” NYSCA supports Albright-Knox through our Museum and Regional Economic Development Council Programs.


NYSCA FY2018 Application Tips: Week 4

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NYSCA celebrates the life of Miriam Colón

The staff and Council of the New York State Council on the Arts celebrates the life of Miriam Colón, who died March 3 due to pulmonary complications.

In her distinguished career as an actress and champion of the arts, Miriam Colón made numerous film, television, and theater appearances, founded the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, and served as a member of the NYSCA Council.

Born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, Colón launched her career at the age of 12 and starred in her first film Los peloteros (The Baseball Players) for the División de Educación de la Comunidad de Puerto Rico (DivEdCo). She appeared in such television shows and films as Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Scarface, John Sayles’ Lone Star and City of Hope, Billy Bob Thornton’s All The Pretty Horses, and the principal role in the film version of Rudolfo Anaya’s novel Bless Me, Última. On stage, she appeared in René Marqués’ The Oxcart with Raúl Juliá and Lucy Boscana under Lloyd Richards’ direction.

“Committed to social justice, the free exchange of ideas and flow of creativity, Miriam Colón worked tirelessly to support the cause of ‘bringing theater to the people,’” said NYSCA Chair Dr. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel.

“Moving to New York City at the age of 17 from Ponce, Puerto Rico, she was the first Puerto Rican actor to be admitted as a student at the Actors Studio. With great success in film and television, she played an equally important role in breaking down cultural barriers. In 1967 she founded the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater in New York, where she helped young Latino actors and writers develop their craft.”

Dr. Diamonstein-Spielvogel continued, “I had the pleasure to know and work with Miriam whose petite stature belied her towering significance in the Latino community. Ms. Colón obtained the company’s first permanent home in 1981, when she noticed an empty firehouse on West 47th Street; it remains there today as Pregones Theater Puerto Rican Traveling Theater. She was the artistic director until 2014; when the company merged with Pregones, and she became the artistic adviser. A recipient of the Mayor’s Award of Honor for Arts and Culture in May 1982, she was also recognized as a pioneer of the Spanish-speaking theater at a special ceremony in her honor at City Hall Plaza in August of that same year. A cultural advisor at the city, state, and national level, she was appointed to the New York State Council on the Arts, where she served for more than ten years. At the national level, she served not only as a panelist on the Expansion Arts Panel of the National Endowment for the Arts, but also on the Institutional Advancement Pilot Program Panel; and as a member of the National Hispanic Task Force. In September 2015, President Obama awarded her the National Medal of Arts.”

Al Berr, NYSCA Deputy Executive Director of Programs during Colón’s service, added, “During her many years’ service as a Council member, she was a passionate champion of government funding and its significant importance to arts organizations and the communities they serve. We send our condolences to the organization she founded, now known as Pregones Theater Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, and to the entire New York arts community, which, of course, is her extended family.”