The Essentials: 2021 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship

The Essentials: 2021 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship
Detail: Emily Oliveira (Craft/Sculpture '20); "The Goddess, Asleep, Is Bitten by a Cosmic Snake and Thereby Hallucinates the Universe into Existence;"
 2019-2020; hand dyed silk, cotton thread, freshwater pearls
; Photo Credit: Ellie Huntress

The NYFA Grants team reviews the application process so you can make the most of this year’s award cycle.

The NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship is a $7,000 unrestricted cash grant available to artists living in New York State and/or one of the Indian Nations located therein. This grant is awarded in fifteen different disciplines over a three-year period (five categories a year) and the application is free to complete. The NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship is not a project grant, but is intended to fund an artist’s vision or voice, at all levels of their artistic development. The 2021 award cycle is now open, with applications being accepted in the categories of Fiction, Folk/Traditional Arts, Interdisciplinary Work, Painting, and Video/Film.

NYFA’s Grants team recently held an information session on the 2021 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship for prospective applicants. We’re sharing some key takeaways below, and a link to the recording for this information session.

The next online information session will review the 2021 award categories in depth and be held on Monday, December 14 from 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM EST on Zoom. All information sessions will be recorded and uploaded to NYFA’s Facebook page shortly following.

Read the Guidelines.

Applicants can find guidelines for Fiction, Folk/Traditional Arts, Interdisciplinary Work, Painting, and Video/Film on NYFA’s website. Each provides everything an applicant needs to know to prepare and submit their application. Therefore, a great first step to working on your application is to read and review the guidelines for the discipline/s you plan to apply in (applicants can apply in up to two different discipline categories).

Upload Your Work Samples Correctly.

As each discipline requests different uploading formats, it is important to make sure that your work samples align with the formatting requirements found in the guidelines.

When selecting your work samples for submission, here are a few things to think about:

  • Submit completed works, as this will ensure you can talk more cohesively and confidently in your written statements.
  • Remember the panel is reviewing applications online, so select works that translate well onscreen.
  • If you are going to include a detailed image of a work, add the word DETAIL in the title. This will help the panel understand what they are reviewing. 
  • If the discipline allows for multiple types of uploading (i.e Folk/Traditional Arts or Interdisciplinary Work), you do not need to include something in each format, so focus on selecting what best represents your work. 
  • Graphic novels are eligible under Fiction. But keep in mind you can still only submit up to 20 pages. Similarly, manuscripts with pictures still need to be no more than 20 pages. Your title page is not included in this page limit. Your title page or table of contents should list the title of the work(s) included in the manuscript and the date(s) your work was completed.
  • Do not include your full name on your work sample or file titles. The first round is reviewed anonymously!
Image: A rectangular screen sits, suspended in air, on a custom-made metal frame within a gallery-like setting. The screen is separated into three parts, with a collage-like image placed within.
Detail: nova Milne (Digital/Electronic Arts ’20); “Skin Without Biography 2011/2019” (Installation view); 2019; a 3-screen video sculpture with 6 channel sound, archived 3K home movie, 4k footage, animation and rotoscopy, media players, cords, powder-coated steel, artist’s custom hand-tufted wool carpet, 2-min seamless loop

Be Clear and Consistent.

There isn’t a formula that works for every artist when it comes to curating work samples and crafting statements. Overall, it is important to remember that your written statements should use simple and clear language. In addition, tell a cohesive story across your application by referencing the themes and ideas that are relevant to the work samples you submitted. 

Don’t Miss the Deadline!

The 2021 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship Cycle closes on Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 11:59 PM EST. Go ahead and start your application today! 

Visit our website for more information about the NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship, including FAQs and upcoming information session dates. 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.

Amy Aronoff
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