How are NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellows selected?

NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellows are selected based on their artistic vision and voice presented within their application. Materials are reviewed and voted on by the panelists through elimination rounds, producing a smaller pool for each round. An artist’s advancement is a product of the collective vote of the panel. A single panelist cannot ensure an applicant’s success or failure. The panel’s selection of Fellows and Finalists is reviewed by NYFA’s Artists’ Advisory Committee and by NYFA’s Board of Trustees. Neither the Committee nor the Board reviews the work of applicants or makes any aesthetic judgments.

How many applications are received for the NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in each cycle, and how many fellowships are awarded per category?

NYFA receives between 2,000-4,000 applications each application cycle. The number of grants awarded is predetermined by the amount of funding available for distribution. The number of awards distributed per discipline category is dependent on the number of applications we receive in each discipline. In 2023, NYFA awarded 87 Fellowships to 88 artists, totaling an amount of $696,000.

Can I apply for one of the Named Fellowships?

No. In addition to funding we receive from the New York State Council on the Arts, NYFA receives  support from other sources to make grants to individual artists. The Deutsche Bank Fellowship, Geri Ashur Screenwriting Award,* Gregory Millard Fellowship, and Shelley Pinz Fellowship are all selected as part of the NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship selection process. 

*Geri Ashur Screenwriting Award Fellows receive $10,000.

How are panels assembled?

We maintain that the NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship be peer reviewed, and that panelists be practicing artists experienced in the discipline they are reviewing. Recommendations for potential panelists come from many sources including: NYFA’s Artists’ Advisory Committee, arts and cultural organizations around New York State and Indian Nations located therein, and suggestions from practicing artists. All potential panelists must receive three recommendations from their field.

NYFA makes every effort to assemble diverse panels, considering genre, gender, ethnicity, cultural background, and geographic location. Applicants may participate in this process by suggesting themselves or others as panel candidates. Each discipline is reviewed by a unique panel, and panelists change every year. Panelists’ names are kept confidential until the awards are announced. 

How is work reviewed?

Please read the discipline specific guidelines for more detailed information on how your application will be reviewed.


What are the Eligibility Requirements for applying?

Applicants must be at least 25 years old at the time of the application deadline, and must also be a resident of New York State and/or one of the Indian Nations located in New York State for at least two years prior to the deadline.

Applicants cannot be matriculated in a graduate or undergraduate degree program regardless of their field of study.

Fellowships are not awarded to interpretative artists such as dancers or actors; applicants must be the originators of the work, i.e. choreographers or playwrights.

Recipients of the NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship within the past 5 years are ineligible, as well as NYFA employees, members of the NYFA Board of Trustees or Artists Advisory Committee, or immediate family members of any of the above or of a panelist from the current cycle. Artists that have been awarded five NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowships receive Emeritus Status and are no longer eligible to apply.

Please review the entire list of eligibility requirements on the NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship Homepage

Can I apply if I am taking a class in an unrelated subject towards a degree, or am a student in a degree-granting program that is unrelated to my application?

No. Regardless of your field of study, no matriculated students are allowed to apply for a fellowship.

I was recently awarded at NYSCA grant. Am I eligible to apply for the NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship?

Yes. NYSCA grants are separate from the NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship. However, if you received a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in any discipline in the last five consecutive years, you are ineligible to apply. Applicants who were named as NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship Finalists are eligible to apply.


How do I choose the appropriate category in which to apply?

Ultimately, this decision starts and ends with the applicant: no applications will be disqualified – all applications are seen in the panel review process. However, each individual panel has the ability to choose not to advance applicants to further rounds if they deem the work noncompetitive in the category. Review the guidelines carefully before starting your application.

How do I know if I should apply in the Interdisciplinary Work category?

Apply in the Interdisciplinary Work category if your work samples interweave various mediums and modes of creation together into one piece or body of work. Artists whose work is centered around installation, audience participation, creating immersive experiences, and/or performance are encouraged to apply. However, artists who work in a multidisciplinary practice (i.e. who do sculpture and painting, or video and painting) are encouraged to apply in the disciplines that best represent their work samples (i.e. Painting, Crafts/Sculpture, Video/Film) in order to make for the most competitive application. Ultimately, it is up to the applicant to decide which category they should apply in, as they know their practice best.

How should I choose which of my works to submit?

Choose work that represents your vision as an artist, and that was created in the last five years. Panelists are looking to support an artist’s voice or vision, so applicants should submit work samples that show a strong stylistic presence, voice, or theme . This can be achieved by showing the panel the depth rather than breadth of your work and by showing a sample of something that you do well. When making your work sample selection, narrow it down to focus on one or two bodies of work that relate in some comprehensive way. The job of the work sample is to get you from the first round to the next, so give the panelists enough to understand your work and to peak their interest.

Should I submit a current work which is not yet completed?

We ask applicants to only submit completed work samples in their applications. The NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship is not a project grant, and is intended to fund an artist’s vision as displayed across their work. Applicants should not submit project proposals or works they are in the process of completing. However, if your work is ongoing, participatory, or ever-evolving, you are welcome to submit it as a work sample. Please be sure to indicate this in the description section of your work sample.

Can I send published work?

Yes, you may send published work. However, do not include publication and/or production information anywhere on your manuscript in order to preserve the anonymity of your application. You may also have work published in the interim while we review applications. There is no restriction on published or unpublished work. In addition, applying with work samples does not put your materials in the public domain. Panelists are asked to review work samples independent of the artist’s career point, therefore the status of your work’s publication has no bearing on whether you receive a fellowship.

If I work with another artist, how do I apply?

Collaborating artists should apply together under one application. A collaboration is defined as up to three artists who can clearly demonstrate an ongoing collaborative career. Collaborators only need to establish one online account and submit only one application. Should a collaborative application receive an award, the grant will be divided evenly between the collaborating artists. All individual applicants must clearly state their roles and must meet eligibility requirements.

Can I apply in more than one category?

You may apply in up to two different categories per cycle, but you can only receive funding in one. To do so, open one account online then create an application for each category. You should submit separate support materials for each category, however you may use the same work samples for both applications if you choose. Indicate the other category in which you are applying on each application.

Can I receive feedback about my application?

Due to the large number of applicants and time constraints, we regret not being able to give one-on-one feedback about application material. However, each of the discipline specific guidelines has a checklist to help guide applicants on how to avoid common mistakes when applying.

You can also find general feedback and useful tips for creating a strong application here.


When are the fellowships announced?

The application cycle typically runs from the Fall to early-Winter. All applicants will be notified of final decisions by early-Summer of that years’ discipline cycle. Notifications are sent via Submittable. Official announcements are made in mid-Summer, and the names of all Fellows and the panelists who selected them will then be listed online at www.nyfa.org.

If I receive an award, what must I do?

If selected for a Fellowship, individuals are required to submit documentation verifying their New York State residency for the past two years, and from January of the award year. Acceptable documents include tax forms, phone bills, utility bills, bank statements, etc. Most recent tax laws state that Fellowships are taxable income; therefore, you should consult your tax advisor.

I haven’t received notification about the status of my application. When should I contact NYFA?

First, sign in to your Submittable account and check your application for a Notification message. If you have not received a notification by August, please contact us.

Can I view my application after it has been submitted?

You can view your application after you’ve submitted by first logging into your Submittable account here. Once you are logged in, click on the “View Your Submissions” button in the top right corner of the page (you may be prompted to sign-in to your account for a second time). On the next page, you will find a list of all your Submittable applications. Locate the submission you want to view, and click on the name of the submission. You’ll be taken to the submission’s details page. Click on the “Forms” tab, and you will be able to see all of the information you entered for that application. You are also able to download a copy of your application for your records, including any of the files you attached to the submission, i.e. your work samples.

I’ve submitted my application for this year. Can I use my Submittable account to apply for applications in future award cycles?

Yes. Once you have created a Submittable account, you can continue to use this login information to apply for future NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship applications cycles, and so much more! Submittable hosts a variety of applications for awards, exhibitions, and opportunities. You can now use your account to apply to any of the applications available on Submittable. Your account is not strictly tied to the NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship application.

I am unable to upload my work samples because my files are too big. What should I do?

NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship applications have an upload limit of 2GB. If you are submitting images, each image can be no larger than 4MB. You can resize images using image editing software such as Photoshop, Preview, etc. If your video/film files are too large, you’ll need to compress them using video editing software, such as Movie Maker, Premiere, Final Cut, iMovie, etc. After you have compressed and reformatted your work samples, ensure they are not pixelated and that they play correctly before you upload them to the application. We highly recommend completing your application well in advance of the deadline to allow time for work samples to upload and to avoid potential technical problems.

Can I submit my application after the deadline?

All applications must be submitted by the deadline date. Please note that the application form will automatically close at the deadline time of 5:00 PM ET, regardless of whether you still have a draft application open on your browser. We strongly encourage you to submit your application at least 24-48 hours before the deadline date to allow time to address any technical issues.


How do I use Submittable to submit my application?

Step by step guidance for using the Submittable platform and setting up a free account is available here.

How do I preview my submitted application?

To preview your submitted application, please sign-in to your Submittable here

Note: Submitted applications should only be previewed using the link above. You may not be able to preview your submitted application by signing in through the same portal link you used to apply.

Can I save my application as a draft before submitting?

Yes. To save your application as a draft, scroll to the bottom of your working application and select “Save Draft.” Sign in to your submittable account to view your draft applications. You can’t also sign in via the direct link to saved drafts here.

I can’t log into my Submittable account. Should I contact NYFA?

NYFA staff does not have access to your Submittable account. If you are unable to login to Submittable, or are having other issues related to the website, we suggest you contact Submittable directly at [email protected].

I have been running into issues accessing or submitting my application, what should I do?

We highly suggest using a laptop desktop computer to complete your application on the platform. For a smoother performance, we recommend using either Firefox or Chrome as your browser. If you’re already using Chrome, please clear the browser cache and cookies. Additionally, please make sure you are using the most up to date version of your browser.

If you are still running into technical issues, you can reach out to Submittable’s Support team directly via the contact form, Submitter Support, or via the support email address [email protected] so that they can troubleshoot directly. 

How can I convert paper documents to digital files if I don’t have a scanner?

Instructions for scanning documents on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch are available here. Instructions for scanning documents on an Android device using Google Drive are available here.

How do I convert my file to the required file type?

This free online tool can help you convert to a wide variety of file types.

NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowships are administered with leadership support from New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Image: Amy Cheng (Fellow in Painting ’96)