Rauschenberg Medical Emergency Grants

This program provides one-time grants of up to $5,000 for recent unexpected medical, dental, and mental health emergencies to artists in financial need* who are creating in the visual arts, film/video/electronic/digital arts, and choreography. Only generative artists are eligible—artists creating their own, independent work, with recent and ongoing opportunities for the public to experience that work.

*To be eligible to apply, your average adjusted gross income for the last two years you’ve filed tax returns must be no greater than $75,000 ($150,000 for joint filers).

Please note: Rauschenberg Medical Emergency Grants are not for lost wages, living expenses, or medical care for individuals other than the artist. Visit NYFA’s Emergency Grants page for a regularly-updated list of emergency resources.

Please note: The need for emergency funding far outpaces available funds. An application to this grant program is not a guarantee of a grant award. In each cycle, we will distribute approximately $150,000 in total funding. Learn more about the review and decision-making process at the bottom of this page.


Applications Open: February 13, 10:00 AM ET

Applications Close: March 15, 5:00 PM ET

For Emergencies Occurring: August 1, 2023 and after

Applicants Notified: April 26, 2024


*Please note that the application form on Submittable will automatically close and stop accepting applications at this time.


Cycle 24 will open April 16, 2024, with a deadline of May 17, for emergencies occurring October 1, 2023 and after. Applicants will be notified June 28, 2024.


There are three eligibility criteria in this program: Individual, Artistic, and Emergency. We recommend you check all of these before taking the time to complete the application. If you meet the requirements, you should next review the application guidelines for instructions on submitting an application. You can also learn how the funding decisions are made, read our Frequently Asked Questions, and view a video information session.

1 – Your Individual Eligibility. You Must:

  • Be a generative artist creating work in visual arts, film/video/digital/electronic arts (not a performer), or choreography
  • Be 21 years or older on the cycle’s deadline
  • Reside in the United States, the District of Columbia, a Tribal Nation, or a U.S. Territory
  • Have an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or lower for an individual, or $150,000 for joint filers, averaged over the last two federal tax returns
  • Your medical emergency and treatment must occur in the U.S. (including D.C., Tribal Nations and U.S. Territories)
  • Demonstrate current and ongoing activity in your artistic discipline
  • Not have received a Rauschenberg Medical or Dancer Emergency Grant previously
  • Not be enrolled in any degree-seeking program

2 – Your Artistic Eligibility.

You need to create original work in at least one of the eligible disciplines, AND have recent and sustained artistic activity.

Recent and sustained is defined as activity over the course of at least the last five years, with multiple opportunities for the public to experience your work during this time. This can be through exhibits/screenings/performances/activities in art spaces, galleries, local businesses, art houses/film series, public art installations, public spaces, museums, fairs/festivals, community projects, and/or residencies with public-facing components. Student exhibits, performances, and other activities are not considered. We do not accept portfolios/work samples. Reduced activity during the pandemic is acceptable.

If self-produced online presentations or sales of your work are your sole platform, such as Instagram or YouTube, we cannot consider your application eligible.

Eligible Artistic Disciplines

Only artists creating work in visual arts, film/video/electronic/digital arts or choreography may apply to this grant program. The applicant must be the primary maker of the creative work—for film/video, only the publicly named director and/or producer or credited co-maker are eligible. Editors, cinematographers, assistant producers, television producers, screenwriters, television/film performers and crew members, dance performers, et al are not eligible.

Works which are intended for commercial or mass production, or are work-for-hire projects, are not eligible. These include music videos, television shows, graphic and fashion design, commissions, and industrial films.

Please review the definitions for the eligible disciplines:


This category includes work in all choreographic styles, including mixed-media or multi-genre performance works in which choreography and/or organized movement is primary. Choreography performed solely within an instructional/training setting; for competitions; or for music videos, TV, and commercial films is not eligible.

Visual Arts

Crafts/Sculpture: All forms of craft, including ceramics, glass, wood, metal, fiber, textiles, and mixed media. This category accepts work in all forms of sculpture, including kinetic works and installations.

Painting: Painting of any kind upon any surface.

Photography: Work in traditional and experimental photography or any work in which photography or photographic techniques are pivotal, if not exclusive.

Printmaking/Drawing/Book Arts: Work in visual media other than painting, including artist’s books, aquatints, collages, engravings, etchings, lithographs, monotypes, prints, serigraphs, woodcuts, and drawings.

Film/Video/Electronic/Digital Arts

Film/video directors and producers of independent work are eligible to apply. Performing artists in film/video or television/live performance, performing arts recorded digitally, and performances/writing distributed online are not eligible. Editors, screenwriters, cinematographers are not eligible. Also not eligible are music videos, television shows, graphic and fashion design, commissions and industrial films.

Film: Any work in which film or film techniques are pivotal, if not exclusive. This category also accepts work that has been initially shot with a film camera. Filmed material that has been transferred to computer for editing and processing is acceptable.

Video/Electronic/Digital Arts: Work in which technology is an essential element of the work’s creation, presentation, or understanding. Examples include: work created on video whether manipulated or not, works created or displayed on computers or other electronic media; work created with computer models such as sculptural works; interactive installations including immersive virtual environments; internet projects; hypertext documents; other image, text, audio, or video works rooted in technology.

3 – Your Emergency and Expenses Eligibility.

In this program, an emergency is a one-time, unexpected, non-chronic condition as a result of illness, violence, an accident or triggering event, or sudden medical event, that requires treatment to ensure your health or life, and which without treatment has extreme impact on your daily life and ability to carry out/return to your creative practice.

In each cycle, we can consider emergencies that have occurred within approximately the last six months. The earliest date for an eligible emergency is listed in the Cycles information. The  medical emergency and treatment must occur in the U.S. (including D.C., Tribal Nations and U.S. Territories).

How emergency expenses work:

You may request funds for related, eligible expenses incurred for up to 12 months from the date of the emergency. For example, if an emergency occurred on July 15, 2023, you can request funds for eligible expenses through July 15, 2024. Funds may be requested for expenses which you have already incurred, or will incur; which you have already paid for or have not. Whether or not you have insurance, you can request funds for your own out-of-pocket expenses. If you have not yet received a diagnosis or treatment because of lack of funding or the timing of this application, you may still apply. If you haven’t yet received a diagnosis or treatment, and/or your documentation isn’t on hand, provide as much information about your condition as possible, including estimates of treatment costs in your local area, if possible. If you receive a grant, you will be required to submit copies of paid bills/receipts for all funded expenses. You may also be required to submit a copy of your two most recently filed tax returns, demonstrating your adjusted gross income.

Eligible expenses include, but are not limited to, these out of pocket costs to the artist:

  • Provider (hospital/doctor/dentist/clinic) bills, including co-pays
  • Tests/diagnostics/assessments/consultations to determine necessary treatment
  • Physical/occupational therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic
  • Prescription drugs specifically for the emergency medical condition
  • Emergency dental work
  • Transportation expenses to/from appointments/treatments

Grants cannot be requested for non-emergency medical conditions; ongoing medical/psychological/psychiatric treatment; wellness visits; regular check-ups, annual exams or procedures; standard vision care or eyeglasses, or hearing aids, or medical equipment (unless required as a direct result of an emergency injury/surgery/condition); elective procedures; insurance purchase/premiums; herbal/supplement/dietary/experimental treatments; or any non-medical expenses, even if the result of an emergency.

Grants cannot be requested for treatment, prescriptions, or other expenses related to a chronic condition, or a progressive/age-related condition such as arthritis or cataracts, unless there are extenuating circumstances which cause an unexpected and severe worsening of the condition. Example: A recent traumatic incident triggered a flareup of an existing mental health condition.

Chronic diseases are defined broadly as conditions that last one year or more and require ongoing medical, dental, or mental health attention or limit activities of daily living or both.

Funds go directly to the artist, not a medical provider, unless there is a specific reason to do otherwise, with pre-approval from NYFA. Grant awards are routinely paid via direct deposit.


New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) is proud to partner with the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation to administer the Rauschenberg Medical Emergency Grants. Robert Rauschenberg was committed to assisting fellow artists in need of emergency medical aid, ultimately establishing the nonprofit foundation Change, Inc. in 1970. In this spirit, this program is designed to serve artists in financial need who otherwise may delay critical treatment or incur substantial and perhaps overwhelming debt. We recognize the urgency of caring for and helping one another and, while artists are famously self-sufficient, we encourage you to ask for support when needed.


NYFA is committed to supporting artists from every background, and at all stages in their creative careers. We strongly encourage artists of color, LGBTQ+ artists, artists with disabilities, and artists living outside of the New York area to apply.

To request an accommodation or assistance in applying, please email [email protected]. We ask that requests for accommodation be made as soon as possible, preferably two weeks prior to the deadline, to allow adequate time for staff to support you in submitting an application on time.

NYFA’s Equity and Inclusion Statement can be found here.


If you have questions, please contact the Grants Coordinator at [email protected] or 212.366.6900 x 239.

Mollie Quinlan-Hayes, Program Coordinator, Rauschenberg Grants, reviews the guidelines and application form of the Rauschenberg Medical Emergency Grants and responds to frequently asked questions.

Image Credit: Robert Rauschenberg in front of his Vydock series photographed in Rauschenberg’s Laika Lane studio, Captiva, FL, 1995, Photo Credit: Ed Chappell, Copyright: Robert Rauschenberg Foundation