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New York Foundation for the Arts established the NYFA Hall of Fame in recognition of the extraordinary artists we serve and the generous patrons who help us do so.

Since 2011, at our annual benefit, we have honored artists and patrons of the arts who, through their career-long sustenance of artistic vision and uncompromising integrity, represent the best that NYFA has to offer. Below, each inductee discusses his or her body of work and the impact of NYFA's support on creative pursuits. 


On April 12, 2018, we honored Paul Beatty, Phil Gilbert, and Carolee Schneemann at Capitale (130 Bowery, New York, NY 10013). Click here for a recap of the 2018 benefit.


On April 4, 2017, we honored Ida Applebroog, Peggy Cooper Cafritz, Christopher d'Amboise, and Lynn Nottage.



Ida Applebroog

Ida Applebroog (Fellow in Graphics '86, Painting '90) is a pioneering artist of the feminist movement whose work explores themes of violence and power, gender politics, women's sexuality, and domestic space using images that are at once beguiling and disturbing. Her work has been show in many solo exhibitions at museums and galleries in the United States and abroad, and it resides in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art, among others.

“I received my first grant in 1986, and the second one in 1990, and it came at a time where I was very low on income and very low on recognition. It was great.”


Peggy Cooper Cafritz

Peggy Cooper Cafritz, Patron of the Arts and former President of the District of Columbia Board of Education, is known for championing contemporary and emerging African American artists. Her dual passions for art and education led her to co-found the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C., now one of the premiere arts high schools in the country. Among her may other achievements, she has helped bring greater racial and cultural diversity to the Smithosonian's professional ranks, exhibitions, and educational programs as former Co-Chair for the Smithsonian Institution's Cultural Equity Committee.

“NYFA allows artists to change the trajectory of their careers. It allows them a cut at having enduring careers.”


Christopher d'Amboise

Christopher d'Amboise (Fellow in Choreography '89) was born into a family of dancers and has had many careers: dancer, choreographer, playwright, director, and educator. As Principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, d'Amboise worked closely with George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, originating works as well as performing major repertoire. His work has been recognized with some of the industry's top honors, including a Tony nomination for "Best Featured Actor in a Musical" in Andrew Lloyd Webbers's Song and Dance, and a Helen Hayes Award for "Outstanding Choreography in a Play" for the Olney Theater's production of Colossal. He is currently at Moving Story, a production company he founded that supports innovative dance-driven projects, as well as Heritage Professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA.

“The NYFA grant allowed me to start my company. And it was this incredible validation of...being a risk-taker.”


Lynn Nottage

Lynn Nottage (Fellow in Playwriting/Screenwriting '94, '00) is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter whose plays have been produced widely and throughout the world. In 2017, Nottage's Sweat, a play about the American working class, was recognized with a Pulitzer Prize for Drama; she was also a producer and writer on She's Gotta Have It on Netflix. Nottage received a 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Ruined, and is a past recipient of the MacArthur ‘Genius Award’ among many other honors. She is Co-Founder of the production company Market Road Films and is an Associate Professor in the Theater Department at Columbia University School of the Arts.

“I got a grant from NYFA, which literally was my very first award. It really was the encouragement that I needed to move forward.”


On April 12, 2016, we honored James Casebere, Anna Deavere Smith, Faith Ringgold, and Zhou Long.



James Casebere

James Casebere's (Fellow in Sculpture '89, Photography '85, '94) pioneering work has established him at the forefront of artists working with constructed photography. For the last forty years, Casebere has devised increasingly complex models that are subsequently photographed in his studio. Based on architectural, art historical and cinematic sources, his table-sized constructions are made of simple materials, pared down to essential forms to create ambiguous, evocative, and surreal environments.

“I am the artist I always wanted to be.”


Anna Deavere Smith

Anna Deavere Smith (Current Fiscally Sponsored Artist) received the National Humanities Medal, presented to her by President Obama in 2013. She was the 2015 Jefferson Lecturer for the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is a MacArthur Fellow, and received The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize. She is recipient of two Tony nominations, and two Obie awards. Her current work-in-progress, the Anna Deavere Smith Pipeline Project, examines the school to prison pipeline. In popular culture you have seen her in Nurse Jackie, Black-ish, The West Wing, The American President, Rachel Getting Married, and Philadelphia.

“What NYFA has done is given me a kind of freedom that I hope manifests in a very good project.”


Faith Ringgold

Faith Ringgold's public art works include, Flying Home: Harlem Heroes and Heroines, 1996 in MTA's 125th Street, For the Women's House, 1971 Rose M Singer Center on Rikers Island. The Crown Heights Children's History Quilt, 1994 a Percent for Art project is at P.S. 22 in Brooklyn. Tar Beach Mosaic, 2003 Princeton Library, and People Portraits, fifty-two mosaic panels in the Civic center subway station in Los Angeles, CA, 2010. Ringgold has received more than 75 awards, fellowships, citations and honors, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Fellowship for painting, two National Endowment for the Arts Awards (for painting and sculpture) and 23 honorary doctorates.

“At 85, I don't think life would be nearly as wonderful, if I were not an artist.”


Zhou Long

Zhou Long (Fellow in Music Composition '00) is the first Asian American to win the Pulitzer Prize in Music for his opera, Madame White Snake. Dr. Zhou also received the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award. He was a recipient of commissions and fellowships from the Guggenheim, Koussevitzky and Fromm Foundations, and various institutions around the world. Zhou Long is currently Distinguished Professor at the UMKC Conservatory.

“As a composer I work between the cultures of the East and the West.”



On April 14, 2015, we honored Judith K. Brodsky, Antony Hegarty, Shirin Neshat, and Eric Overmyer.



Judith K. Brodsky

Judith K. Brodsky is a board member of NYFA, Distinguished Professor Emerita, Visual Arts Department, Rutgers University where she founded the Brodsky Center for Innovative Editions (BCIE) and co-founded the Rutgers University Institute for Women and Art. She is a former president of the College Art Association, National Women's Caucus for Art, and ArtTable. Through her leadership, teaching, activism and fundraising ability, she has had an important impact on the transformation of the art world into a diverse global community.

“I love being able to help support artists.”


Antony Hegarty

Antony Hegarty (Fellow in Performance Art/Multidisciplinary Work, 1997) is the lead singer of the band, Antony and the Johnsons, whose debut album by the same name was released in 1998. Their album I Am a Bird Now won the UK’s Mercury Prize in 2005 and was named Album of the Year by Mojo magazine. Hegarty has also collaborated with Lou Reed, Rufus Wainwright, filmmaker Charles Atlas, and Björk.

“It meant everything to me. It changed my life. It was the first profound endorsement that I'd ever received from an institution.”


Shirin Neshat

Shirin Neshat (Fellow in Photography, 1997) is an Iranian-born artist and filmmaker living in New York. She is the recipient of various prizes, including the Golden Lion Award at the 48th Venice Biennial (1999), the Hiroshima Freedom Prize (2005), and the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize (2006). In 2009, Neshat directed her first feature-length film, Women Without Men, which received the Silver Lion Award for Best Director at the 66th Venice International Film Festival.

“It really gave me that necessary moral and psychological support to believe in myself.”


Eric Overmyer

Eric Overmyer (Fellow in Playwriting, 1986) is a writer, producer, and playwright. His television credits include The Affair, Law & Order, The Wire, Treme, and Boardwalk Empire. His plays include: On the Verge, In a Pig’s Valaise, and Native Speech. He is the recipient of grants and fellowships from McKnight, the NEA, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Le Comte du Nouy Foundation and has been nominated for 4 Emmy Awards.

“The money was nice - I was starving - but the encouragement meant even more.”



On April 22, 2014, we honored Deborah Kass, Terry McMillan, and Dwight Rhoden, and the Ford Foundation (represented by Darren Walker).



Deborah Kass

Deborah Kass was awarded a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Painting in 1991. She employs the visual motifs of post-war painting to explore the intersection of politics, popular culture, art history, and the self.

Her artworks are included in the collections of many prominent museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Her mid-career retrospective, Deborah Kass: Before and Happily Ever After, was exhibited at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, PA. 

“It really gave me a lot of courage to have that support.”


Terry McMillan

Terry McMillan was awarded a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Fiction in 1986. She made her fiction debut with Mama, which won the Doubleday New Voices in Fiction Award and the American Book Award.

She is the author of the bestselling novels Disappearing Acts, Waiting to Exhale, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, A Day Late and a Dollar Short, and The Interruption of Everything. She was recognized with a NAACP Image Award and the Essence Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Literature.

“I couldn’t believe that someone thought I was doing something good enough to warrant this grant.”


Dwight Rhoden

Dwight Rhoden was awarded a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Choreography in 1998. For nearly 2 decades, his choreography has been the lynchpin in the development of Complexions Contemporary Dance.

Since 1994, he has created over 80 ballets for Complexions and other companies including: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dance Theater of Harlem, New York City Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, and Pittsburgh Ballet Theater. He has won the Choo San Goh Award for Choreography and the Ailey School Apex Award.

“NYFA is a part of the fabric of the arts community — and they made the difference.”


Ford Foundation

(represented by Darren Walker)

The Ford Foundation works with visionary leaders and organizations worldwide to change social structures and institutions so that all people have the opportunity to reach their full potential, contribute to society, have a voice in the decisions that affect them, and live and work in dignity.

Their commitment to social justice is carried out through programs that strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human knowledge, creativity and achievement.

"NYFA is important because it provides vital resources to artists."



On April 23, 2013 we honored Elliot Goldenthal, Mira Nair, and Fred Wilson, as well as Michael Findlay, director of Acquavella Galleries.



Elliot Goldenthal

Elliot Goldenthal was awarded a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Music Composition in 1989. He creates works for orchestra, theater, opera, ballet, and film.

Goldenthal was named one of two finalists for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in music for his original two-act opera, Grendel, directed by Julie Taymor. He received an Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for his score for the 2002 film Frida, also directed by Taymor. He has scored over 30 films, including Heat, The Butcher Boy, and The Tempest. 

"Early support was essential. It led on to other things, and led on to other things, and paid itself back fifty thousand times."


Mira Nair

Mira Nair was awarded a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Film in 1988. Her first feature, 1988's Salaam Bombay!, was the first Indian film to win the coveted Camera D'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1988, followed by more than 25 international awards, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars in 1989.

In 2001, Nair's film Monsoon Wedding won the Golden Lion, Venice's top prize in cinema, becoming one of the highest-grossing foreign films of all time. She is currently in production of the stage musical of the film, set to open on Broadway in 2014. 

"Grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts made these dreams — which were not mainstream dreams, which were supposedly from the margins — possible."


Fred Wilson

Fred Wilson was awarded a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Sculpture in 1987 and 1991. He creates site-specific installations in collaboration with museums and cultural institutions throughout North America, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

His many accolades include a MacArthur "Genius" Grant in 1999; his work has been the subject of numerous group and solo exhibitions worldwide, and is held in more than 25 major public collections internationally.

"NYFA was really special and it remains really special. The most exciting part is that it catches you right at the beginning — at the cusp of your nascent ideas."


Michael Findlay

Michael Findlay is a director of Acquavella Galleries, which specializes in Impressionist and Modern European works of art and post-war American painting and sculpture.

Born in Scotland in 1945, Findlay directed one of the first SoHo galleries of the 1960s. In 1984, he joined the staff of Christie's; in 1992, he became its International Director of Fine Arts and a member of its board of directors. Retired from Christie's since 1992, Findlay currently serves on the Art Advisory Panel of the Internal Revenue Service.

"An organization like NYFA is vital for the constant fertilization of creativity at all levels, especially at ground level, and from ground-level up."



On April 30, 2012 we honored Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio, Christian Marclay, and Suzan-Lori Parks.



Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio

Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio received NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowships in Architecture in 1985, 1987, and 1998. Their interdisciplinary design studio, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, integrates architecture, the visual arts, and the performing arts.

Diller and Scofidio were the recipients of MacArthur “genius” grants from 1999–2004.Their notable projects include Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the High Line, and expansion of the Julliard School.

"To be recognized by NYFA gave us a credibility that was very important to us; that people were in fact looking at our work and looking at what we were doing."


Christian Marclay

Christian Marclay was awarded a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Interdisciplinary Art  in 1985. Celebrated as a pioneer in turntablism, he transforms sound and music into visual and physical forms through performance, collage, sculpture, and large-scale multimedia installations.

Marclay's works have been exhibited internationally in many galleries and museums, including the Tate Modern, the Whitney Museum, the White Cube, and the Louvre. 

"1985 was a pivotal year when [NYFA] gave me a grant. It helped me really that year to develop a lot of my performance projects."


Suzan-Lori Parks

Suzan-Lori Parks was awarded a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Playwriting in 1990. Named one of Time magazine’s “100 Innovators for the Next New Wave,” Parks is the first woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. She has been awarded grants by the Rockefeller Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and in 2001 was the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” grant.

Parks teaches at NYU and serves the Public Theater as its Master Writer Chair. Her latest project, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, is currently on Broadway.

"I didn't have an MFA, and what the NYFA Fellowship gave me was credibility; if NYFA was willing to take a chance on me, then other people were."



On April 26, 2011 we honored Todd Haynes, Wendy Perron and Andres Serrano.



Todd Haynes

Todd Haynes was awarded a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Film in 1989 and 1990. He has received numerous honors for directing and writing all of his films.

Haynes' feature film debut, Poison, won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival; his 1998 film Velvet Goldmine won Best Artistic Contribution at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival. His 2002 film, Far from Heaven, won an Independent Spirit Award for directing, and received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations. Haynes’ most recent film, I’m Not There, won an Independent Spirit Award.

"[The NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship] was part of that original support that laid the groundwork for that kind of faith in the work, and faith that there's an audience out there — and that there's a support system out there."


Wendy Perron

Wendy Perron was awarded a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Choreography in 1985. The Wendy Perron Dance Company, for which she choreographed more than 40 works, performed in cities throughout the U.S. and Europe from 1983–1997. Perron has choreographed solos for ballet luminaries Peter Boal and Martine van Hamel.

Perron has also served on the dance faculties of Bennington College, Princeton University, and NYU Tisch School of Art, among others. She now serves as Editor-at-Large of Dance magazine and has contributed articles to The New York Times and The Village Voice.

"It was sort of the turning point. I think I made stronger work after the NYFA grant. It was sort of the beginning of doing more work and being more visible."


Andres Serrano

Andres Serrano, born in 1950, was awarded a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Photography in 1987. Serrano studied at the Brooklyn Museum and Art School.

After receiving critical acclaim for his Immersion series — including Piss Christ (1987) — he turned to the genre of portraiture, creating several thematic bodies of work throughout the 90s, including Nomads, Budapest Series, and A History of Sex.

Serrano is represented in New York and Paris by the Yvon Lambert Gallery.

"It gave me hope and the belief that i was on the right track and that I should be an artist. NYFA has done that for thousands of artists. They're a great organization to be a part of."