Eligibility and FAQs



• Be an artist creating work in visual arts, film/video/digital/electronic arts, or choreography

• Be 21 years or older on the cycle’s deadline

• Reside in the United States, the District of Columbia, a Tribal Nations, 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 be enrolled in any degree-seeking program


Only artists creating work in visual arts, film/video/electronic/digital arts or choreography may apply to this program. The applicant must be the primary maker of the creative work (editors, cinematographers, assistant producers, television producers, 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. Eligible disciplines are defined as:

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 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 and 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.



What constitutes current and ongoing activity in artistic discipline?

You must show recent and sustained artistic activity over the course of at least the last five years on your resume/bio/CV. You must list multiple opportunities for the public to experience your work, including the year, location (city or town and venue), and title. 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. We do not accept portfolios/work samples.

If self-produced online presentations or sales of your work are your sole platform, such as Instagram or YouTube, it is unlikely that we will consider your application eligible.

What if I am planning elective dental or medical procedures?

Elective or pre-planned treatment is not eligible.

What if I’ve just started creating my own work during the pandemic and hope to show it when things open up?

We are pleased that you have found that creating art is a positive action during this difficult time. However, for this program applicants must demonstrate recent and sustained practice with public showings of their work over at least the last five years.

Is there an income limit?

Yes, this program is intended for artists in financial need. To apply, you need to have an averaged adjusted gross income (from your two most recent federal tax returns) of $75,000 or less; $150,000 or less if you file jointly.

What work samples should I provide?

None. These applications are reviewed for Demonstrated Need only, so work samples and portfolios are not requested.


What constitutes a medical, dental or mental health emergency?

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.

Can I apply for an ongoing health condition?

No, funds can only be used for a one-time, unexpected health-related condition. We do not cover expenses for treatment, prescriptions, or other expenses related to a chronic condition. Extenuating circumstances which cause an unexpected and severe worsening of the condition may be considered at the discretion of the panel. Example: A recent traumatic incident triggered a flareup of an existing mental health condition.

If you have recently been diagnosed with a condition which requires long-term treatment, such as cancer or multiple sclerosis, you may apply for the expenses of your initial exams/diagnosis, any emergency surgery, and other urgently-needed treatment to stabilize your condition.

Grant funds can be requested for expenses directly related to the emergency for up to 12 months following the date it occurred (a series of treatments to resolve the problem, physical therapy, etc.)

What if I don’t have a diagnosis/can’t afford to see a doctor without funds?
  • Provide as much detail on your own as you can
  • Find typical expenses in your area
  • Request the maximum likely amount

If you are awarded a grant, you can discuss receiving funds ahead of time to allow you to pay for exams/diagnosis.

What if I don’t know yet what my out of pocket costs will be?

Submit what you have, and we encourage you to estimate the highest likely amount up to the maximum of $5,000. If you receive a grant, you will ultimately only receive funding in the amount of your actual costs.

What medical documentation do I need to submit with my application?

A PDF of no more than 15 pages including:

  • Record of diagnosis/injury from your medical provider with the date of the emergency
  • Document from your medical provider of what treatment was/is required
  • Date(s)
  • Type
  • Your actual or estimated financial obligation
  • No photos or x-rays, please
What if my documentation is more than 15 pages?

Provide information on the primary condition/diagnosis and the expense. Staff will reach out to you for more information if your application moves forward in the panel process.

What if I have two different emergencies?

We recommend that in selecting which emergency to apply for, you consider which:

  • Has the highest eligible expenses up to $5,000
  • Meets our definition of emergency 
  • Has the most solid documentation

If all other requirements are met, you may apply for expenses related to both.

May I apply if I’ve already paid for the emergency treatment?

Yes, you may request funds for expenses you have already paid and/or expenses not yet paid or incurred.

Can I apply for physical or occupational therapy or acupuncture?

Yes, if it is prescribed by a medical professional, limited in scope and is vital to recovery from the emergency cited.

Can I apply for prescription drugs?

Yes, if they are prescribed by a medical professional and are vital to recovery from the emergency cited and not ongoing in nature.

Can I apply for supplements, herbal therapy or experimental therapy?

No, these are generally not eligible expenses.

Can I apply for psychological/psychiatric treatment?

Yes, if it is prescribed by a medical professional and is vital to recovery from the emergency cited and not ongoing in nature.

What if I have delayed medical or dental care and now need it urgently?

If you can demonstrate your condition is at a point where treatment is urgently necessary to protect your life or health, you can apply. For example:

  • A broken tooth wasn’t repaired and it is now infected
  • An injury from a past fall wasn’t treated and has recently gotten much worse, requiring treatment
What if I can’t get the application in by the deadline, or I don’t have my medical documentation by the deadline?

Our deadlines are firm. If the only item you are missing is the medical documentation, and you expect to receive it shortly, go ahead and apply. If your application moves to the next stage of the process, staff will reach out to you for material. Otherwise, plan to apply in the next cycle if your emergency occurred during the eligible time window.

What if I am planning elective dental or medical procedures?

Elective or pre-planned treatment is not eligible.

Can I request living expenses or other costs while I am not working/receiving treatment?

No. Only out-of-pocket emergency medical expenses are eligible.

What if my parent, partner or child has a medical emergency?

This program can only accept applications for the emergency medical expenses of the artist themselves.

If I am injured as a result of a natural disaster, can I also request funds for loss of property or other damages?

No, the fund only covers medical, dental, or mental health expenses, no other damages or loss of property.

Do I need insurance to apply?


Can I use the funds to buy insurance?

No, funds can only be used for medical emergencies as outlined above. Please refer to NYFA’s website for other kinds of emergency or financial support.


Can I ask for less than $5,000?

Yes, you may ask for any amount up to $5,000.

Might I be awarded less than my full request?

Our support is to help grantees to recover and return to their creative practice. Therefore, grants are generally awarded at the maximum amount of eligible expenses, up to $5,000 (sometimes these are less than the actual requested amount).

Do I need to document my expenses?

Yes. If you are awarded a grant, you will need to provide copies of paid bills/receipts for the emergency expenses described in your application.


Can I ask someone else to complete the application on my behalf?

Yes. We understand that certain medical conditions may make it necessary for a proxy to complete the application, but the funds will only be released to the artist who has experienced the emergency.

What if my artist friend/relative has had a medical emergency and can’t submit the application?

We do accept applications completed and submitted by a proxy; if the grant is awarded, the artist themself will need to legally accept the grant.

Can I submit a paper application?

Yes. We understand that under certain conditions, it may be easier for an artist to submit a paper application. If this is of interest, please email [email protected] or call (212) 366-6900 ext. 239 to speak with the program coordinator. 

What if I don’t have the technology to create a PDF file of my medical documents or resume?

If you have MS Office, and you have the files as Word, you should have Adobe Acrobat on your computer or you can download it for free, and you can save the doc or an email from your provider as an Adobe pdf file.

For medical documentation, the best choice is to scan up to 15 pages and have them saved as one PDF. If you don’t have a scanner, if you have a friend or relative close by with a scanner, or can get to a FedEx-type shop, that’s best. If not, you can contact the program coordinator at [email protected] to make arrangements.

When is the deadline to apply?

Applications Open: November 29, 2022

Applications Close: January 13, 2023, 5:00 PM EST*

For Emergencies Occuring: April 1, 2022 and later

Notification of Award: February 17, 2023

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


How long after I apply will I hear if I receive a grant?

We anticipate notifying applicants of their status within six weeks of the application deadline. For those receiving grants, additional documentation is required, and payment processing can take a minimum of 15-20 business days after all paperwork is submitted. These processing times are subject to change.

Do I have to pay taxes on these funds?

We classify these as emergency grants, and you will not receive a 1099 for these funds.

Can you just send the check directly to my doctor or other medical provider?

No, checks are only sent to the artist. Even if the application was completed by a proxy, the funds must go directly to the artist.

What happens when the funds are expended or I don’t receive a grant?

A pool of funds is allocated for each cycle. Cycles will occur bi-monthly through at least June, 2023. If you are an unsuccessful applicant, and continue to meet eligibility requirements (including the date of your emergency), you may reapply with a new application in a future cycle.

If I receive a grant, do I need to submit any additional reports or paperwork?

To receive your grant, you will need to sign a Letter of Agreement and provide other formal documentation including copies of your medical bills/invoices. We require a report six months after the award to know how your recovery and work are progressing. We may request an interim report after two-three months, as well.


Image Credit: Detail Robert Rauschenberg; Hearts (Spread); 1979; solvent transfer, fabric collage, graphite, Plexiglas boxes, and electric lights on wood panels; private collection; Copyright: Robert Rauschenberg Foundation