Con Edison Immigrant Artist Program Newsletter, Issue No. 20

Con Edison Immigrant Artist Program Newsletter, Issue No. 20

Featured Organization: Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance (NoMAA)

This month’s featured organization is the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance (NoMAA), which is a non-profit arts service organization launched in 2007 under the incubation of the Hispanic Federation and with the financial support of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone. Since then, NoMAA has been nurturing the works of artists in these communities as well as developing partnerships with businesses and other organizations to increase the area’s visibility. It strives to foster the diverse artistic expressions of artists and cultural organizations throughout Washington Heights and Inwood by increasing the visibility of their works. NoMAA’s promotion of the arts enables the success of low-income artists from underserved communities, and stimulates economic development in the neighborhoods they serve. The NoMAA interview conducted by IAP Program Officer Karen Demavivas can be viewed below.

IAP: NoMAA currently offers the NoMAA Regrant Program, Technical Assistance Workshops, Artists’ Salons & Community Forums, and First Thursdays Arts & Business Stroll. Can you describe these initiatives in more detail?

NoMAA: The following are the details of these core programs:

NoMAA Regrant Program: This program supports new works by individual artists and capacity-building projects for arts organizations in Washington Heights and Inwood. This program is possible thanks to the support of JPMorgan Chase Foundation and the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone (UMEZ).

NoMAA Technical Assistance Institute & Workshops: The NoMAA Technical Assistance Institute is a day-long training conference for artists and arts organizations from Washington Heights and Inwood. The overall goal of the Institute is to provide information and assistance to help artists and arts groups to sustain themselves through their art and to be part of the arts marketplace in New York City and beyond. It responds to the developmental needs of the artistic and cultural community. There are hundreds of individual artists living and working in the Washington Heights/Inwood area as well as dozens of small primarily artist-run groups, actively engaged in arts and cultural programming. NoMAA recognizes the important role that local artists and arts groups serve in the socio-economic well-being of the community and their potential of contributing significantly to the overall arts movement in New York City. The organization is also part of the Upper Manhattan Arts Services Team, which is a collaboration between NoMAA and the Harlem Arts Alliance to provide technical assistance throughout upper Manhattan.

Uptown Arts Stroll: An annual arts festival that promotes the works of artists in all disciplines as well as the many community attractions in Washington Heights and Inwood during the month of June.

The First Thursdays Arts and Business Stroll: Monthly guided tours of local businesses, arts studios and galleries, organized by local artists and business partners.

NoMAA Artists’ Salon: The Artists’ Salon serves as a space in which artists of all disciplines can exhibit their work, perform, network and create partnerships with each other.

IAP: Since it began in 2007, can you highlight the prominent impact that NoMAA’s presence has had in Washington Heights and Inwood?

NoMAA: Here are some highlights of our 2010 accomplishments:

  • 100 sponsored arts activities reaching thousands of people in underserved Northern Manhattan neighborhoods; 
  • Over 500 artists served through our Technical Assistance Workshops, Gallery Program, and Artists’ Salon series; 
  • $68,000 awarded in regrant monies to 48 local artists and six arts organizations (almost a quarter of a million dollars total in regrants have been distributed since the program launched in 2007); 
  • Developed and enhanced core partnerships with a variety of prestigious community organizations and institutions including the Hispanic Society, Columbia University, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Audubon Partnership for Economic Development, Dwyer Cultural Center, Harlem Arts Alliance, Isabella Geriatric Center, the Manhattan Times, NY Restoration Project, NYC Parks & Recreation Arts, Culture and Fun Series, Workspace Offices & Studios and many others.

IAP: Can you share the ways in which NoMAA’s promotion of the arts sparks the economic development of the neighborhoods you serve?

NoMAA: In the three years that NoMAA has been active, we have contributed greatly to the economic development in the neighborhoods of Washington Heights and Inwood. Through our promotional efforts, we highlight all the wonderful local artists, arts groups, and happenings. We partner with local businesses and institutions that support the artistic community and our initiatives bring attention to our cultural destinations uptown. Our programs, especially the technical assistance workshops, provide our constituents with the tools to sustain themselves in the art world and the opportunity to contribute to the local community. We are also able to provide our artists and arts organizations funding to support new works of art and capacity building projects. Artists and arts groups that have received our support have gone on to many great successes such as Gina Crusco of Underworld Productions, an opera ensemble, that receives support from a wide variety of funders and produces distinctive contemporary operatic works. Another example is Rashaad Ernesto Green, a filmmaker who  will debut his first full-length feature film at the Sundance Festival this year!

IAP: How can artists, activists, and culture workers get involved in your work?

NoMAA: The first thing interested individuals can do is sign up for the NoMAA E-Newsletter and visit our website regularly to stay informed about our programs and services. Our E-Newsletter is a biweekly, bilingual (English and Spanish) e-newsletter featuring all the arts activities going on in Washington Heights and Inwood. NoMAA also sends emails periodically with news that relates specifically to artists including upcoming grants opportunities and free workshops. Our website provides information about NoMAA’s programs and services, resources for artists, news, links to other arts organizations and resources, and a calendar of all things and events related to the arts scene in Northern Manhattan. You can sign up for our mailing list via our website: Don’t forget to become a NoMAA fan on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!  Also, NoMAA will soon launch an inaugural membership program that will provide access to our programs and other great benefits!

Images: Top, NoMAA Grantees 2009-2010. Photo courtesy of Sirin Samman.
Amy Aronoff
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