In 1971 the New York State Council on the Arts established the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) as an independent organization to serve individual artists throughout the state, with the mission of empower artists across all disciplines at critical stages in their creative lives.
In 2010, NYFA introduced the Artspire brand to extend this mission to artists worldwide.
This mission is achieved through three main program areas: cash grants and fiscal sponsorship, online resources, and professional development training.
NYFA has a record of solid leadership in its multiple roles as grantor for artists and arts organizations. In 1984, NYFA was selected by the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) to administer the state’s Artists’ Fellowship. The Artists’ Fellowship Program has since expanded to award direct grants of $7,000 to approximately 100 New York State artists each year. These Fellowships are unrestricted rather than project-based, allowing artists to use the grant in whatever manner will have the greatest impact on their creative lives, which ranges from alleviating living costs, to purchasing materials, or taking time away from the workplace. The awards are made in 15 different disciplines with 5 disciplines awarded each year. Past NYFA Fellows include 8 Pulitzer Prize winners, 15 recipients of the MacArthur Fellowship, 5 Tony Award winners and Guggenheim Fellows numbering around 12 to 18 each year.
NYFA also administers two re-grant programs: the BUILD (Building Up Infrastructure Levels for Dance) program and the Andrew W. Mellon New York City Theater Program. Since 1999 the BUILD program has awarded over $1 million to small and mid-sized dance companies with annual budgets under $160,000 for the development of their organizational capacity and infrastructure. The Andrew W. Mellon New York City Theater Program, administered by NYFA since 2008, awarded $3 million in two-year general grants to 31 small and mid-sized theater companies with budgets under $3.5 million during the most recent grant cycle.
Since 1976, NYFA has provided fiscal sponsorship to individual artists and emerging organizations, making it the oldest program of its kind in the country. Fiscal Sponsorship makes it possible for individuals and organizations without not-for-profit status to raise funds for upcoming films, theatrical performances, art installations and other projects. In 2011, Fiscal Sponsorship helped more than 500 Artists' Projects and 70 Emerging Organizations raise and manage $3.5 million in funds for their projects. In 2010 NYFA launched artspire.org to provide fiscally-sponsored artists and emerging organizations with a strong web presence from which to promote their work and raise funds from individual donors. You can find more about these artists and organizations in our Artist Directory.
Since 2002 our website has become the nation’s pre-eminent provider of online information to individual artists with 1 million unique users, offering information on programs and events, as well as extensive online resources. This includes the Artspire Source database, which began as the Visual Artist Information Hotline in 1996. Artspire Source is now global in reach, offering 9,400 grants, awards, services, and other opportunities, as well as one-on-one assistance to artists available by telephone and email. Artspire Classifieds offers a comprehensive listing of arts-related jobs, events, opportunities, and studio spaces, throughout New York as well as the country. Artspire Podcasts provides a video archive of our professional development programming, extending the longevity and reach of this vital programming.
Our professional development program Artspire Learning serves close to 5,000 artists annually through seminars, workshops and individual feedback sessions with art professionals. Working to engage underserved needs of growing communities seeking professional development training, NYFA launched the Immigrant Artist Project in 2006, MARK in 2008 and Boot Camp in 2010.
The Immigrant Artist Project provides immigrant and first-generation artists with the resources they need to pursue their artistic goals. Through a combination of one-on-one mentoring, workshops, panel discussions and an online newsletter, the program reaches over 3,000 artists from more than 20 countries.
The MARK program helps New York State visual artists who live outside of New York City reach wider audiences. NYFA staff members travel throughout the state to give workshops and seminars on a myriad of topics including writing artist statements, creating work samples, delivering artist presentations, grant writing and research. The program serves approximately 70 artists annually.
Boot Camp is the NYFA program for visual and performing artists (including but not limited to all members of the creative teams in dance and theatre, music, and creative writing) who want a unique opportunity for individualized focus on the professional and business side of their creative practice. Boot Camp is a rigorous blend of formal classes, individualized training, networking and group interaction. Participating artists can expect Boot Camp to spark goals and help to define concrete steps to building a business plan that can lead to financial security while providing individual and group feedback. The curriculum emphasizes goal setting and creating a business plan, budgets and financial management, strengthening grant or project applications, improving writing and presentation skills and ways of identifying career opportunities. We also focus on strategies for expanding your visibility as an artist including using the internet effectively through websites and social networking tools.