Between 2001 to 2005, NYFA awarded an annual grant of $25,000 called the NYFA Prize to one of the NYFA Fellows who showed "exceptional promise." In addition to rewarding artistic promise, the prize sought to dramatize the need for substantial unrestricted grants for artists and to encourage other donors to fund additional prizes and fellowships. Artists selected for NYFA Artists' Fellowships automatically became eligible for the NYFA Prize. The finalists for the prize were selected by members of NYFA's Artists' Advisory Committee. A committee of NYFA's Board of Trustees then made the final selection.
NYFA Prize Recipients
2005 recipient Melissa Haley is an archivist living in New York City. Her essays have appeared or are forthcoming in The American Scholar, Commonplace, and Post Road. She attended New York University and Barnard College, where she studied American History. Her master's thesis on women astronauts was included in an N.Y.U. bicentennial time capsule. She was born in Salem, Massachusetts.
2004 recipient Ralph Lemon received a CalArts Alpert Award in the Arts, and has been invited to participate in the National Theatre Artist Residency Program, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts. Presently, he is an Associate Artist at Yale Repertory Theatre and a Board Member of Danspace Project at St. Marks Church. Lemon is currently working on the Geography Trilogy, three full-evening performance works created over an eight-year span that investigate an apparent collision of cultures and a search for personal and artistic identity within a broader world arena. Geography, Part III: House is projected to open in fall 2004.
The 2003 NYFA Prize recipient was Melanie Ann Baker, a Brooklyn artist who creates large-scale charcoal drawings. Ms. Baker was a painter before she recently switched to the medium of charcoal. A native of Columbus, Ohio, she received her B.F.A. from Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute and an M.F.A. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
In 2002 NYFA Prize recipient was playwright Carl Hancock-Rux. Mr. Rux’s new play, Talk, produced by the Foundry Theater and directed by Marion McClinton, had an acclaimed initial run in April 2002 at the Joseph Papp Public Theatre and recently won two Obie Awards. Mr. Rux is also a performer and recording artist — his debut album, Rux Revue (Sony/550 Music), was selected by the New York Times as one of the top ten alternative music CDs of 1999. He is currently at work on a new CD, among other projects. He subsequently won the a 2003 CalArts Alpert Award in the Arts.
The first NYFA Prize was awarded to filmmaker Monteith McCollum, in June 2001 based on his film, Hybrid, on which he worked as cinematographer, animator, composer and producer. A film about love and alienation, Hybrid tells the story of Mr. McCollum’s 100-year-old grandfather, Milford Beeghly – a man obsessed with his agricultural experiments. The title, Hybrid, refers to the hybrid seed corn that was the object of these experiments. Hybird has been shown at film festivals around the world (including the Museum of Modern Art's New Directors/New Directions series) and on the public television series P.O.V.