NYFA is constantly evolving to serve the needs of artists in New York State and beyond.
The 2009-2010 biennial report provides a window into the work done in our 2009 and 2010 fiscal years. If you have additional questions about our programs and services, please contact the Development Department at 212.366.6900 x 211
Click HERE to download the Biennial Report as a pdf or e-mail email@example.com for a hard copy.
Mary Teresa Giancoli
Couple in Zocalo, Atlixco, Puebla, Mexico,
silver gelatin print, 10 x 10" on 11 x 14", 1999
The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) was established in 1971 by the New York State Council on the Arts as an independent organization to facilitate the development of arts activities throughout the State. From its inception, the Foundation has functioned as a creative development corporation, catalyst, advocate, and incubator for fiscal and programmatic developments in the arts.
Throughout its history, by serving as an intermediary on behalf of the field, NYFA has explored multiple ways of developing and providing grants, regrants, loans, and other financial and informational services to respond to the diverse and changing needs of a diverse and ever-changing arts community. Through multiple educational and information programs, NYFA has sought ever more effective ways to expand participation in all the arts and broaden audience and the public's understanding of the role individual artists and arts organizations play in the their lives, their communities, and in society in general. While NYFA primarily has served New York State, it has also collaboratively developed regional, national, and even international initiatives.
Today, NYFA continues its history of serving artists, the arts community, donors, and the broader public by supporting programs in five major areas: Grants, Services, Information & Research, Public Programs, and Donor Services. These program areas have evolved out of thirty years of responding to the changing needs of the arts community in New York State. NYFA's organizational strength and flexible administrative infrastructure has allowed NYFA to be a resource for artists and arts organizations, and donor in the face of ever-changing political and funding climates.
In its infancy, NYFA was primarily a provider of a variety of fiscal services for the New York State arts community. These services included the Revolving Loan Program, the first ever bridge-loan program in the arts, and the beginnings of NYFA's Fiscal Sponsorship Program. NYFA's ability to provide fiscal sponsorship to individual artists and emerging organizations grew out of a variety of initiatives beginning with "Artists' New Works" in 1976. NYFA currently sponsors more than 300 Artists' Projects and 60 Emerging Organizations.
In 1984, NYFA was selected by the New York State Council on the Arts to administer the state's Artists' Fellowships and its public service component, Artists' & Audiences Exchange. The Fellowship program has since expanded to award direct grants to New York State artists in sixteen disciplines and has awarded more than $19 million to over 3,000 artists. Past recipients include subsequent winners of four Pulitzer Prizes, four Tony Awards, 15 MacArthur Fellowships, and many other honors.
Over the years, NYFA has developed many granting and re-granting programs for both individuals and arts organizations, including such initiatives as the National Dance Residency Program, and such present grant programs as BUILD (Building Up Infrastructure Levels for Dance). Community Assets, one of NYFA's past grant programs for small, community-based arts organizations, was selected along with four other sites in the U.S. and Europe for evaluation by National Arts Stabilization, which aims to study issues of stabilization and capacity building in arts communities.
Through NYFA's grant programs and fiscal sponsorship, more than $8 million is now awarded annually to artists and arts organizations.
NYFA expanded its scope in the 1980s by participating in a number of key conferences and studies. In 1984, NYFA partnered with Columbia University's Research Center for Arts and Culture to provide statistically valid data on the lives and conditions of working artists in New York State. The initial study spawned a national counterpart, which has been repeated and expanded in recent years. Both The Montauk Conference in 1986 and The Orcas Conference in 1988 were key milestones in the development of NYFA's national role as an information and communications services provider. In the early nineties, NYFA conducted a national study of artists' communities, which later served as a catalyst for the Alliance of Artists' Communities conference in 1996.
The Orcas Conference was fundamental to the development of Arts Wire, which was launched shortly thereafter. Arts Wire was the first nationwide on-line communications network for the arts community. Arts Wire Services provided services contracted by diverse constituencies within the arts community nationwide, including acclaimed workshops that help artists and arts organization become more digitally fluent. The Arts Wire Web site and its services have recently been incorporated into NYFA's other Web-base resources. NYFA Web services were reconceived and relaunched as NYFA Interactive (www.nyfa.org) in November 2002. This Web site now serves more than 100,000 unique visitors monthly.
NYFA has also emerged as a leader in addressing new technology and its role in the arts community, as well as in the development of artists' networks. NYFA's efforts in this regard began with the development of a statewide survey of artists concerning the use of these technologies in producing art. As a result, NYFA established a new category in Artists' Fellowships: Computer Arts.
In 1998, in partnership with NYSCA, NYFA collaborated in planning and creating the first Governor's Conference on Art and Technology, circuits@nys. Following the Conference, The Digital Directory: Art and Technology Resources in New York State was compiled, and is available both in print and online. A Conference report is available online and in print. NYFA later developed support programs for technology technical assistance and planning that ran through the 2002 fiscal year.
The roots of NYFA's programs serving schools also grew out of initiatives in its early years. In 1973-4, NYFA initiated a pilot project, which expanded over several years to become NYFA's nationally recognized Artists-in-Residence program, providing support for teaching artists-in-residence in school and communities throughout the state. The program continued through fiscal year 2003 as Artists in the School Community. NYFA has also served as an incubator for several important arts and education organizations including Studio in a School, Arts Connection, Center for Arts Education-the NYC Annenberg Initiative, and the New York City Arts and Education Roundtable. NYFA also ran the New York City Choral Initiative for many years, which provided choral directors to NYC public schools and held professional development workshops and conferences for choral directors and educators.
In combination with Artists & Audience Exchange, NYFA's current educational programs are growing beyond the schools to serve as a life-long learning resource. Through public programs held in collaboration with schools, community organizations, libraries, and arts organizations, NYFA reaches out to the community to help place the artist at the center of arts activities.
Realizing the crucial role played by local public funding of the arts, in fall 2000 NYFA spearheaded a yearlong study of the effects of public funding on the New York City cultural community. The resulting project, known as “A Cultural Blueprint for New York City,” was a non-partisan, citywide initiative of cultural and civic leaders in consultation with citizens, arts groups, and business leaders. Its report, Culture Counts, documents a yearlong independent study of New York City’s cultural sector — the first in 30 years. Information was gathered from a total of 1,500 New Yorkers via surveys, one-on-one interviews, focus groups, and town-hall meetings. The report includes a first-ever cross-borough poll of New Yorkers by the Fordham Institute for Innovation in Social Policy about the role of arts and culture in their lives — and its findings emphatically conclude that New Yorkers want more of both.
The September 11 tragedy was all too real to the NYFA staff, many of whom witnessed the destruction of the World Trade Center from our office windows. As we began to reach out to artists and arts organizations in lower Manhattan with emergency assistance, funders looked to NYFA to find out how they could help. The result was the New York Arts Recovery Fund, begun with leadership gifts from the Rockefeller and Robert Sterling Clark Foundations. A major grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation a month later firmly established the Recovery Fund as a crucial resource for the cultural community. The Arts on the Highwire concert in January 2002 to benefit the Fund raised its visibility in the city. NYFA raised $5.2 million for the Fund, and completed regrants of $4.635 million in August 2002.
When the Urban Institute (a national nonpartisan research group in Washington, D.C.) was seeking a partner to develop a national database in support of individual artists, everyone they spoke to told them the same thing: go to NYFA. The results of this collaboration appeared in fall 2002 when NYFA launched NYFA Source, its expanded information service modeled on NYFA’s Visual Artist Information Hotline (begun in 1995), which now serves more than 10,000 artists monthly in the visual, performing, media and literary arts nation-wide. Corporate sponsors and grantmakers in the arts will also use the database to examine funding areas and trends, and target their support strategies.
Also critical to the development of NYFA's role as an information service provider was the development of FYI, NYFA's quarterly journal for people who live and work in the arts, in 1984. In fall 2002, it was redesigned and relaunched as NYFA Quarterly. Its readership has now grown to more than 70,000, serving artists and organizations in all disciplines throughout New York State and across the country.
Today, NYFA provides organizational strength and a record of solid leadership in its multiple roles as grantor and service provider for New York State's extensive constituency of artists, arts organizations and communities. NYFA's information resources serve a national constituency. This Web site describes all of our current programs and represents our most recent efforts to remain a leader in providing effective services and support to the arts community and the broader public of which it is a part.