NYFA and Dumbo Arts Festival


Join NYFA during the annual Dumbo Arts Festival for Estuary.

NYFA invites you to join us as we celebrate the 2014 Dumbo Arts Festival with a special reception for Estuary, an exhibition of work by 2013 Artists’ Fellowships Program (AFP) Finalists, featuring readings by Mary Katherine Nagel and EllaRose Chary.

Reception: Friday, September 26, 6 - 8 PM
Exhibition Dates: September 26 - September 28, 2014

New York Foundation for the Arts
20 Jay Street, Suite 740 
Brooklyn, NY


Exhibiting Artists

Architecture/Environmental Structures/Design:
Sonya Blesofsky, Lee Boroson, Sun Kwak


Michael Attias, Liz Kosack

Danielle Ezzo, Rachelle Mozman, Erin O’Keefe

EllaRose Chary

Photos: On homepage slider: Lee Boroson, Mobro (Garbage Barge), At top: Lee Boroson, Mobro (Garbage Barge) Middle: Sun Kwak, 41 Rolls of Winding 

Events: NYFA & Writer Ronna Wineberg at Barnes and Noble


You’re invited: NYFA & Ronna Wineberg on October 10

Please join NYFA & writer Ronna Wineberg (AFP ‘04 Fiction) as she reads from and signs her new novel, On Bittersweet Place.

Date: Friday October 10 at 7:00PM
Location: Barnes and Noble
150 East 86th Street (at Lexington Avenue)
New York City

Free & Open to the Public

On Bittersweet Place is the powerful coming-of-age story of Lena Czernitski, a young Russian Jew whose family flees their homeland in the Ukraine after the October Revolution. The story unfolds in Chicago during the Jazz Age of the 1920’s, where Lena’s impoverished family has settled and where she must traverse the early years of adolescence.  Her new world is large and beautiful and full of promise, but it is also cold and unwelcoming and laden with danger.”

Ronna Wineberg was awarded an Artists’ Fellowship in Fiction in 2004. For information about AFP, visit our website

Apply for Fiscal Sponsorship


The fall deadline for Fiscal Sponsorship (Artspire) is approaching.

The application for the upcoming cycle of fiscal sponsorship through Artspire (a program of NYFA) is due by Tuesday, September 30th at 11:59 PM.

The program is open to individual artists and artist-run emerging organizations in all disciplines and offers the following benefits:

  • Access to large-scale funding opportunities from foundations or corporate funders that are usually restricted to 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations

  • The ability to offer individual donors the incentive of tax-deductible donation

  • Access to NYFA’s wide range of services and resources, including those exclusively available to fiscally sponsored projects and organizations

  • An affiliate partnership with RocketHub.com for short-term, tax-deductible crowdfunding campaigns (details at right)

  • A custom profile of your organization or project on NYFA’s website

  • The means to collect tax-deductible donations online

  • No hidden fees

Read more about eligibility and guidelines here

Submit an application here

Image: On homepage slider: Yoon Cho, Salt Flat and Hexagons, 2014, 24” x 36”, Inkjet print, Performance by the artist.

CultureAID: A New Network for the NYC Cultural Community


Network of organizations in all five boroughs incorporates lessons from past events to coordinate emergency response and facilitate sharing of resources following future disasters.

New York Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl and Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito today announced the launch of CultureAID (“Culture Active in Disasters”), a response and recovery network committed to strengthening New York City’s cultural community before, during, and after disasters.

CultureAID was developed in direct response to Hurricane Sandy—which struck New York in October 2012—and to the increasing threat that severe weather and climate change pose to the region. In the days and weeks following Sandy, an enormous amount of information, technical and financial assistance, and other resources were made available to affected groups and individuals. CultureAID was developed as a way to reduce redundant communications and make efficient use of the resources available. CultureAID will also help the community prepare for the next potential disaster by sharing resources and best practices about emergency preparedness throughout the year. Cultural organizations, artists, and other stakeholders in New York City are
encouraged to visit www.cultureaidnyc.com to learn more about the network. Organizations are encouraged to join by completing the opt-in form.

NYFA is honored to be co-chairing the steering committee for this initiative. Please visit the website for more information and to join.

***September is also National Preparedness Month so please share your preparedness resources and tips on Twitter at #CultureAID and #NatlPrep!

For press/media inquiries, please contact:
Ryan Max (Cultural Affairs), rmax@culture.nyc.gov, (212)513-9323
Nancy Greco (Office of Emergency Management), ngreco@oem.nyc.gov, (718)422-8402

Events: Doctor’s Hours for Visual Artists on September 29


Monday, September 29, 2014, 6:00–9:00 PM

Have a new body of work no one has seen? Have a new website? Ready for some feedback? Come to NYFA’s Doctor’s Hours for individual, 20-minute one-on-one consultations with curators, critics and gallerists.

This event will provide you with 20-minute, one-on-one consultations with local curators, critics and gallerists. Get practical and professional advice in person from one or more arts professionals. 

Please note: Doctors are asked to give feedback and suggestions to artists regarding the presentation of their work, not the quality of their work. 

WHERE: New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), 20 Jay Street, Suite 740, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Directions are available on our website.

**Registration is currently closed. Fill out this form to be added to the waiting list. 

COST: $25 per appointment; there is a three-appointment limit per registrant.

CONSULTANTS (View Bios):  

David Goodman, 
Curator, artist

Alessandro Facente, 
Curator, art critic

Rachel Gladfelter, 
Director of Pace Prints

Shinnie Kim, 
Program Manager at ISCP, curator

Susan Mumford, 
Arts consultant

Larry Ossei-Mensah,
Curator, art critic

Jessica L. Porter,
Gallery owner, curator

Jennifer Scanlan,

Ryan Steadman, 

Roberta Waddell, 
Curator, art historian

Questions: Please email Clearning@nyfa.org.

Consultants: September 29 Doctor’s Hours for Visual Artists


These bios provide an opportunity for you to research which consultants would be appropriate for the advice and feedback you are seeking. Register here for Doctor’s Hours after 11:00 AM EST on September 16.

David Goodman, Curator, artist
David is an artist and curator living in New York City. Goodman’s work is focused on mapping his history through pattern and form. His approach to a project is in a manner comparable to archeology (the reconstruction of the visual landscape premised on its trace.) Curatorial projects include Skowheghan School of Painting and Sculpture (20-Year Anniversary Exhibition), JUDD Foundation (Food&Fodder) and the web-series of collections In Context To Others (2012). He actively participates in education as a visiting artist/critic and adjunct faculty (RISD, Rowan University, Pratt, SVA). Goodman helped found Critical Practices Inc (CPI, 2011) with Saul Ostrow and Susan Bowman, and currently is part of its Executive Board (Secretary) and is the Director of Projects and Programs. Recent past exhibitions and shows include the curatorial projects Out To See, curated by Sara Reisman, An Ambition: Habit (Miami 2013) and An Ambition: Defference (Studio Vendome, NYC, 2014), AIM Biennial (Bronx Museum of Fine Arts), The New Museum (NYC), 21StProjects (NYC), BoxoProjects (NYC, Joshua Tree,CA), LaunchF18 (NYC), and District Foundation (Berlin). Included in the International Collage Center’s permanent collection, Goodman is a Bronx Museum AIM Fellow (2012), Post-Studio Tales residency-as-exhibition recipient (Berlin 2012), and BoxoHouse Residency (Joshua Tree, CA 2013). He has provided creative development and interviews for BOMB Magazine's online platforms, directed full content for Artlog.com, exhibition reviews for BlackBook Magazine and editorial for PerfectWave Magazine. Currently participating in the 2014 Whitney Biennial (CPI), Goodman completed his MFA at Indiana University (Bloomington, IN ‘01) and BFA at Boston University (CFA, ‘99).

Alessandro Facente, Curator, art critic
Alessandro Facente is an art critic and independent curator who lives and works between New York, Imlil (Morocco) and Italy. His research is based on the crossover and interplay of art criticism and curating by following the artists’ creative process from the concept to the final creation of the piece of art. His aim is to become a witness and critical voice from inside their practice in order to critically outline a philology belonging deeply to practice. Facente holds an M.A. in Art History and Contemporary Art from La Sapienza University in Rome. Currently he is the Special Projects Curator at NARS Foundation in New York and since 2011, he has been curating the artist residency program of the Atla(s)now project in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains. From 2007 to 2011, Facente was at the Volume! Foundation, curating site-specific projects in unconventional spaces around Rome. In 2012 he has worked on the reopening of Casa Bossi in Novara, as well as curated independent projects, solo and group exhibitions in non-profit spaces, foundations, private galleries, public museums and international events including the 5th Marrakech Biennale and Residency Unlimited in New York. In 2011 and 2012, he was on the advisory panel of the first two editions of THE OTHERS international contemporary art fair in Turin. He has taken part in panel discussions, talks and lectures at art spaces and academies such as the Tranzitdisplay non-profit organization in Prague, École supérieure des arts visuels (ESAV) in Marrakech, Palazzo Valentini in Rome, and the Andrew Freedman Home in New York. His articles, interviews and essays regularly appear in art magazines and online platform such as Artribune, DROME magazine, Exibart, LaDifferenza and Seoul Art Space_Geumcheon.

Rachel Gladfelter, Director of Pace Prints
Rachel Gladfelter is the Director of Pace Prints in Chelsea, where she has coordinated projects from concept to exhibition by Keith Haring, Jon Kessler and Shepard Fairey, among others.  An expert on print publishing, printmaking and papermaking, she has lectured and taught classes on the subject extensively.  She has also curated and juried independent exhibitions in New York.  Prior to her 7 year tenure with Pace Prints, she was the Studio Director at Dieu Donné where she collaborated with contemporary artists in handmade paper.

Shinnie Kim, Programs Manager at ISCP, curator 
Shinnie Kim is an arts administrator and curator based in New York, where she is currently Programs Manager at the International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP). Kim has been collaborating with numerous arts organizations and foundations such as: Dumbo Arts Center, New York Foundation for the Arts, Cue Foundation and AHL Foundation in various capacities. She was a member of the Curatorial Committee of the 2nd Incheon Women Artists Biennial (IWAB). She curated exhibitions at Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, Sandsangmadang Kt&T, Seoul and Centro Internazionale per l’Arte Contemporanea, Rome. She studied at Université Paris 8, France and CUNY- Hunter College, New York.

Susan Mumford, Arts Consultant
Susan Mumford is an art world expert, mentor, trainer, author, public speaker and creative entrepreneur. Her personal mission is to empower and inform individuals who run creative enterprises as well as help arts organisations find their way in an increasingly online-based commercial art world.
Having arrived in the London art world in 2001 with an internship of her own devising, Susan opened a gallery in Soho in early 2006. In 2010 while steering a career in challenging post-credit crunch times, she founded the Association of Women Art Dealers (AWAD). Starting with a London group, the network now accepts members on a global basis and launched a New York chapter in May 2014.Over time, Susan came to the conclusion that the art world was in need of professional development for active industry professionals. Following the close of her space while continuing to build AWAD, in 2012 she founded Be Smart About Art. She oversees the development of a programme that provides inspiration, training and support to artists, gallerists, creative entrepreneurs and arts organisations.She regularly judges awards and can be seen in London and New York opening exhibitions, guiding tours and leading talks. Susan has a M.A. in Arts Management.

Larry Ossei-Mensah, Curator, art critic
Larry is an entrepreneur, independent curator and cultural critic who documents cultural and contemporary art happenings for various publications such as Uptown Magazine, My Global Hustle and M Daily. His writings include profiles of Swizz Beatz, Mickalene Thomas and street artist JR. As a curator, Ossei-Mensah uses contemporary art as a vehicle to redefine how we see ourselves and the world around us. He is also the co-founder of the MEDIUM Group, a boutique agency that works with brands and artists to navigate the art world. Ossei-Mensah currently serves on Russell Simmons’ RUSH Artist Advisory Board.

Jessica L. Porter, Gallery owner, curator
As Director of Porter Contemporary. Jessica L. Porter is responsible for the overall strategy, business development and market growth, marketing and communications as well as talent acquisition and development. Her background and experience in foreign languages, museum curating, international sales and marketing and law have created a strong basis for entrepreneurial leadership and business growth.Porter has also maintained her own consulting company, launched in 2001, utilizing her art and law background focusing on assisting companies, galleries and individuals to navigate the start up phase of their business or grow their existing business. Porter also teaches courses on the basics of art collecting, counsels artists on creating a career strategy and juries and curates exhibitions for other organizations, galleries and institutions. She has spoken as an expert on CNBC on art collecting and investment of emerging artists, to the Harvard Business Women’s Association on starting an art collection, a contributing writer to the Creativity Post and has participated in panel discussions on such topics as Art & Music, Women in the Art Industry and Contemporary Visions of Picasso. Porter’s natural networking skills combined with strategic event planning and social marketing have made her a leader in the growth of her own business as well as other organizations. Porter grew her own following for Porter Contemporary to over 10,000 in the first 4 years of opening. In addition, Porter founded EASL (Entertainment Art &Sports Law) at the University of Maryland, School of Law from a group of four to over 400. She also founded and grew Raandesk Women, a private group of intellectual women leaders in NYC and Shopping for Art, a group focused on buying art for fun.Porter has a resounding commitment to being a leader and resource to other women and is the Co-Chair of Fundraising to the Leadership Advisory Board for the Girl Scouts of Greater New York and is the Co-Chair of Programming at ArtTable, the primary women’s leadership organization in the arts.

Jennifer Scanlan, Curator
Jennifer is a New York-based independent curator focusing on contemporary art and design.  Her current exhibition is Back to Eden: Contemporary Artists Wander the Garden at the Museum of Biblical Art, NYC, and she is working on upcoming exhibitions for 108 Contemporary in Tulsa, OK and the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. As an independent curator, she has organized exhibitions for UrbanGlass in Brooklyn; the Brattleboro Museum in Brattleboro, VT; and the Visual Arts Center of Summit, NJ. Prior to working independently, for twelve years, she was Associate Curator at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City, where she organized a number of exhibitions, including Crafting Modernism: Midcentury American Art and Design. Scanlan has lectured internationally, including at the 2010 Conference of the International Committee of Design History and Design Studies in Brussels, Belgium; Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute in Taichung, Taiwan; the 2007 Adornment Magazine conference at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York; and the 2005 Glass Art Society Conference in Adelaide, Australia. She has also taught at Courtauld Institute of Art Summer School in London, England, and is currently part-time faculty at Parsons The New School for Design. She has a BA in art history and Italian from Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York, and an MA in the history of decorative arts, design, and culture from the Bard Graduate Center, New York, New York.

Ryan Steadman, Curator                                                                        Brooklyn-based artist, writer, and curator Ryan E. Steadman has shown his paintings regularly since 2001, with solo exhibitions at Baumgartner Gallery, Envoy Enterprises and Karma, all in Manhattan. His work has also been included in group exhibitions at Greenberg van Doren Gallery and Room East, among others. Steadman has been a regular contributor to artforum.com and Modern Painters since 2011. In this short time, he has reviewed exhibitions by acclaimed artists such as Agnes Denes and Eugen Schoenebeck, as well as written essays on New York-based artists as diverse as Anthony Goicolea and Ethan Greenbaum. After having curated exhibitions in various spaces in Boston and New York, Steadman was recently appointed curatorial advisor to the UNTITLED. Art Fair in Miami Beach, where he is also organizing the artist-run and non-profit sections of the fair. Before this, he worked for such well-known galleries as Feature Inc. and Peter Freeman Inc. Steadman earned an MFA from Pratt Institute in 1999, and a BFA from University of Georgia in 1997.

Roberta Waddell, Curator, art historian
Roberta Waddell was formerly Curator of Prints at The New York Public Library, until spring of 2008 when she retired. After receiving her Ph.D. in Art History from Johns Hopkins, she was Print Specialist at the Library from 1972 to 1977, Curator of Graphic Arts at The Toledo Museum of Art from 1977 through 1984, and Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Worcester Art Museum in 1984 and 1985, before returning to The New York Public Library in 1985. Ms. Waddell has organized numerous exhibitions on Old Master prints, modern and contemporary prints, photographs and illustrated books. At the Library her primary responsibilities were for the public service of the Print Room’s original print and reference collections, and for the ongoing building of the Print Collection, with a particular emphasis on contemporary prints and artists’ books.  

 Register here for Doctor’s Hours after 11:00 AM EST on September 16.

Con Edison Immigrant Artist Program Newsletter, Issue No. 60


Featured Interview with artist Denise Iris

Revisiting: “digital immigrant: being a foreigner all over again

Denise Iris is a digital media artist and filmmaker whose videos, installations and photographs celebrate the blur between ordinary life and the world of the imagination. A three-time NYFA Fellow, two-time NYSCA grantee, and MacDowell Fellow, her work has been screened at MoMA, in NY galleries, at international festivals, and on PBS. She has taught at Columbia, Swarthmore, and Parsons. Raised in Romania, she lives in New York.  Denise is now a second-time mentor in the Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program. IAP invited Denise to revisit and comment on her blog posting that illuminates the thoughts of many immigrant artists.

Two years ago I wrote a blog post about being a “digital immigrant,” someone who came of age before the internet existed. I compared my reactions as I navigated Internet 2.0 with my real-life immigration experience, which I described in a 1996 short documentary called Round Trip Ticket, a chronicle of my first journey back to my native Romania after the fall of communism. Both contexts brought out an excitement mixed with reticence, the desire to join in tempered by a critical distance. Today, as a mentor in NYFA’s Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program, I was asked to reflect on these issues from my current vantage point.

Upon rereading my own blog post, I notice how concerned I was at the time with “getting it right.” Back then, I was deeply ambivalent about social media: I didn’t take to it naturally, but I also wanted to keep up with the times. When I watch Round Trip Ticket now, almost twenty years later, I am struck by the same question of belonging, but on a greater scale. I see someone grappling with her identity in an acute, painful way. That struggle was caused in large part by the huge gap between the world I had come from (Ceausescu’s Romania) and the one I ended up in (New York City). In the 1980s, that gap was tremendous.

Today, the world has shrunk, and one result is that we are all more fluid in our identities. Working with more recent immigrants at NYFA, I see complex, layered self-definitions that balance global awareness with fiercely distinctive local flavors. I find this mix thrilling because it reflects my own view: nowadays I’m okay with being both American and Romanian, both an adopter of Web 2.0 and a skeptic. Most of all, being simultaneously insider and outsider feels right, just as it does to find myself in a room with other immigrant artists from all over the world.


This raises the question: As these issues have lost their emotional charge for me, has the immigrant perspective vanished from my work? I believe it has only taken new forms. In my recent photographs, I seem to be drawn toward a liminal terrain between the familiar and the unknown, between the natural and the artificial. Although less explicit, this is still about the intersection of two ways of seeing. I notice the same thing with other IAP artists: Even when it does not address immigration specifically, their work is often informed by a double perspective, the search a metaphorical home, or a desire to reconcile past and present. Call it a greater sensitivity to paradoxto me, that’s a fine place to call home.

Enjoyed reading this article? Visit our archive of past interviews with artists and organizations. You can also sign up for our free monthly Con Edison Immigrant Artist Newsletter and visit IAP’s resource directory that includes opportunities and resources focused on supporting immigrant artists in the New York Metropolitan area and beyond. 

Images: On homepage slider: Denise Iris, La Fabuloserie, 2014, inkjet prints.Top: Denise Iris, One becomes two, two becomes three, and out of the third comes the one as the fourth, 2014, inkjet prints. Bottom, Denise Iris, Intracranial Exoplanetary Landscapes, 2014, inkjet prints. Images courtesy of the artist.

Work At NYFA: Digital Communications Officer Position Announcement


Now hiring, come work for us!

We are seeking a full-time Digital Communications Officer to to serve as a member of our Online Resources/Communications team. The Digital Communications Officer will work on a variety of marketing projects, including content management of NYFA’s website and blog, NYFA’s organizational e-newsletter, email campaigns, press releases, and social media collaborating with all of NYFA’s departments to achieve core objectives. Candidates should be strong writers and have a passion for the arts, digital content, marketing, analytics, and NYFA’s mission of supporting artists at critical stages of their creative lives. Reporting to the Senior Officer, Online Resources/Communications, the Digital Communications Officer will join a four person Online Resources/Communications team and a staff of twenty-five employees

Read the full description with application instructions on NYFA Classifieds

Image: NYFA’s offices, photo by Maria Villafranca

Events: Seize The Future: How to Design a Winning Film Distribution Strategy


Professional Development for Filmmakers with Peter Broderick on September 18

How to Design a Winning Distribution Strategy 
Presented by Peter Broderick

Thursday, September 18, 2014
6:00 PM, at New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA)

Distribution guru Peter Broderick will reveal the state-of-the-art techniques filmmakers and other artists are using to succeed in the New World of Distribution. He will focus on:

* Designing customized distribution strategies
* Reaching core audiences effectively
* Maximizing revenue from multiple distribution channels
* Building a fan base to support future work

It is never too early to think about your audience or the distribution of your film, but it can easily get to be too late.

About Peter Broderick


As President of Paradigm Consulting, Peter Broderick helps filmmakers maximize distribution, audiences, and revenues. He has given keynotes and presentations on these topics in Cannes, Berlin, Amsterdam, Sydney, Toronto and Sundance. Before Paradigm, he was President of Next Wave Films, funded by IFC, which invested in independent films and helped launch the careers of filmmakers such as Christopher Nolan and Amir Bar-Lev. His publications, Maximizing Distribution, Welcome to the New World of Distribution and Declaration of Independence, are seminal overviews of the film business and were among the first to identify strategies for success that are now in everyday use. For more information on Peter Broderick: http://www.peterbroderick.com/bio/bio.html

Thursday, September 18
6:00PM to 8:00PM
$10 Artspire and NYFA artists (Fiscal Sponsorship, Fellows, Bootcamp, IAP, MARK)
$15 Others
A ticket processing fee will be added by eventbrite.com

**This event is currently sold out. Email mediaarts@nyfa.org for more information.

New York Foundation for Arts, 20 Jay Street, Suite 740, Brooklyn.

Closest Subway
* F to York Street station.

Relatively Close Subway 
* A to High Street / Brooklyn Bridge station.

For more information contact mediaarts@nyfa.org

Meet a NYFA Artist: Boris Fishman



The writer discusses working at his scuffed wooden desk, his previous job as a fact-checker, and his first novel, A Replacement Life

NYFA: Congratulations on the publication of your first novel, A Replacement Life, how long did it take you to complete?

BF: Depending on how you count, three years and change at the shortest, nearly twenty at the longest. In the 1990s, though I was only a teenager, my (real-life) grandmother’s Holocaust-restitution paperwork — she was a survivor of the Minsk ghetto — was given to me because I had the best English in the family. (We immigrated from the former Soviet Union in 1988.) I was struck by the application’s low burden of proof — if you could tell a persuasive story, you were in, so to speak. That got me thinking. But it wasn’t till 2005 that I wrote a short story around this, and not till the fall of 2009 that I started writing the novel, which sold to HarperCollins in January 2013.

NYFA: How did you come up with the title, A Replacement Life?

BF: I had it from the beginning, and resisted a suggestion to alter it by an editor abroad. To me, so many things about the story have to do with the ambivalence of replacing and being replaced. The Gelmans replace the Soviet Union with America; Slava replaces his forefathers; Slava’s inventions replace the grandmother he never got to know in real life; the false narratives replace the truth about what these people went through; and Slava, too, will be replaced, by his descendants. This list goes on and on.
NYFA: Your novel unmistakably touches on the 2010 scandal of the defrauded Holocaust Fund, can you talk about the experience, and perhaps, complications, that came with writing a fictitious account of real-life events?

BF: Actually, I had written a complete first draft of the novel by the time this was exposed. It was a doleful vindication, to be sure — life imitating art in the most depressing way. I wrote an essay in Tablet Magazine, an online magazine of Jewish life and culture — arguing that, legally, there was no question — the people responsible should go to prison. But morally, it was a more complex issue — I argued that it was worth understanding why these people had behaved this way, and it wasn’t (I informed my audience) because they were evil. I was eviscerated in the comments, which was very depressing. Readers didn’t seem particularly interested in a complex portrait of these villains. I’ve been gratified to have a much more nuanced response to the novel. I haven’t heard much objection on principle to the humanization of criminals.
NYFA: Similar to the main character, Slava Gelman, you and your family immigrated to the United States from the former Soviet Union, how did your experience inspire the development of that character?

BF: I am not Slava literally. I didn’t run away from my family; I didn’t have the romantic choices that he faces; and so on. But spiritually, the questions he grapples with are very much the ones I faced in my 20s. How do you honor your elders if their definition of honor is different? How to reconcile their vision of you with your own? How do you acquire comfort in your own skin? How do you maintain dignity and faith when the world is saying No over and over?


NYFA: When and where do you like write? Do you have a routine?

BF: Absolutely. I wake up by 8 or so, and try to be reading, coffee in hand, by 8:30. I try to for 1-2 hours, or 50 pages of the book I’m reading, whichever comes first. I know some don’t like to read others while they’re writing, but it gets me going; it hops me up on the possibilities of what good writing can do. By 10 or so, I’m writing. If I’m writing, I go for 3-4 hours. If I’m revising, for 4-5. By the end of this, I feel as depleted as if I’ve been crushing concrete; I’m starving (I don’t allow myself to get up from the work-chair except to go to the bathroom or have a quick bite); and my brain is like a wrung-out towel. But until I got my contract from Harper, this was the moment when I would have to begin my second shift, of whatever was actually paying the bills (fact-checking, journalism, editing, etc.)

I work at a huge, scuffed wooden desk with iron supports that I got from Housing Works — the first thing I got for my apartment. (A decorating novice, I had neglected to measure the width of my door; it had to come off its hinges to accommodate the desk). I live on the 15th floor of a high-rise two lights away from the FDR and the East River. I stare at clouds and water, and listen to bridge traffic and children screaming in the recess field of the school directly outside my building. I’ve decorated my apartment in a Mexican style — rust-orange in the living room, crimson in the kitchen. For some reason, none of it feels heavy — it’s always been an oasis, incredibly fertile for work. If you’re curious to read a profile of the apartment
NYFA: You have held multiple jobs to support your writing career. Did any of these jobs influence your writing?

BF: There’s a great debate out there about whether the second job should be related to writing (so it teaches you something useful for the main work) or unrelated (so it leaves your writing brain undrained). I’m not sure what the answer is. My first job, as a fact-checker at The New Yorker, was invaluable as a kind of graduate school in journalism. I learned about concision, elegance, observation. I learned how a story is put together. On the other hand, I learned a lot of instincts, such as analysis, that I had to unlearn for the novel. Crudely speaking, nonfiction analyzes and fiction renders. Perhaps one of the reasons A Replacement Life needed so many drafts is that I had to unlearn the tendency to explain everything happening on the page.

NYFA: You are finishing up your second novel, Don’t Let My Baby Do Rodeo, can you share any information on what it is about?

BF: More than finishing! It’s finished and HarperCollins just bought it for early 2016 release, about which I’m thrilled. DoLeMyBaDoRo, as I’ve taken to calling it, is about a Russian-American couple in New Jersey that adopts a boy from Montana who turns out to be wild. They have to figure out how to make a life with this foreigner; meanwhile, they are such foreigners themselves. If the novel had a tagline the way movies do, it would be: “A novel about the truest wilderness of them all — the one in our hearts.”

NYFA: You were awarded a NYFA Fellowship in Nonfiction in 2011, how did NYFA’s support impact your career?

BF: It’s not possible to quantify the succor provided by a grant like the one I got from NYFA. Financial, emotional, psychological — all of it. I’ve never quite gotten used to how little the government in this country helps its artists. There are certain qualities in America, such as its strenuous tolerance, that, for someone like me, born in a highly xenophobic country, feel miraculous; but then the suspicion of art, and its conception as some kind of unreachable elitism, that feels equally prevalent in America, are so upsetting and hard to swallow. In any case, organizations like NYFA give you not only the means to live, but give you to feel that what you are doing has meaning in this world. And, arguably, that’s worth just as much. And one more thing: The community-arts-organization project that NYFA asks grant recipients to do was so incredibly rewarding in my case. I taught a writing workshop in the Lake George area. The class had maybe a dozen students; I am still in touch — friends with, probably, by this point — with about half. 

For more information about Boris, please visit his website


Images, from top: Boris Fishman, photo by Rob Liguori; A Replacement Life Book Cover.

Spotlight: Fellowship Opportunities at Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts

Learn About Two Artist Fellowships Available at Princeton University

The Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University offers two artist fellowship opportunities, both designed to support artists in all artistic disciplines who demonstrate great promise.  Fellowships in the Creative and Performing Arts are open to early-career artists whose achievements have been recognized as demonstrating extraordinary promise.  Fellows are appointed as lecturers for two 10-month academic years at a salary of $77,000 salary per year.  The Hodder Fellowships are open to artists demonstrating “much more than ordinary intellectually and literary gifts,” and artists are selected “for promise more than performance.”  Hodder Fellows spend an academic year at Princeton, but no formal teaching is involved. A $77,000 stipend is provided for this 10-month appointment.  NYFA spoke with Michael Cadden, Chair of the Lewis Center, to learn more about these opportunities and what artists should consider when applying.

NYFA: The Fellowships in the Creative and Performing Arts are two-year fellowships that include teaching and/or other artistic assignments, while the Hodder Fellowships are for one year and enable artists to pursue independent projects.  In what other ways are these two fellowships similar or different?

MC: The Hodder Fellowship is all about the work, past and future. We don’t interview finalists for the Hodder because their fellowship year is meant to be spent working on a project in an atmosphere of “studious leisure.” They are being given the freedom to lay low. The Fellows in the Creative and Performing Arts – we call them PAFs (Princeton Arts Fellows)—are expected to be actively involved in the Princeton community. Though they too are selected on the basis of their work, they must also demonstrate the desire and the ability to bring others into their process.  The PAFs choose how they want to engage with the community; for example, they might teach a seminar or workshop, direct a play, choreograph a dance, compose music for student performers, or work with our students in other ways.

NYFA: How can artists determine which fellowship is the right one to which they should apply?

MC: You can only apply twice in a lifetime to be a PAF; there’s no limit how many times you can apply for the Hodder. Many people apply for both in a single year, which is not a problem.  Not all artists may be interested in teaching undergraduates; those who are interested in serving on our faculty and working with our amazing students may want to consider the PAF program.

NYFA: The criteria for both fellowships require applicants to demonstrate extraordinary promise.  In what ways can applicants effectively demonstrate that promise?

MC: Have some work out there in the world that has attracted some attention from fellow artists and from critics.

NYFA: What other characteristics or details do you look for in an application?

MC: For the Hodder, it’s crucial that the proposed project sound like something exciting and worth doing and that needs time to develop.  For the PAF, we look for someone who can add to the artistic and intellectual community, either by teaching or directing or choreographing or working with students in another way.  For both fellowships, we aim to choose artists at a “good moment” – at a time when it might be helpful to them to step away from the “busyness” of their lives to spend a year or two focused on their art.


NYFA: This year, the Fellowships in Creative and Performing Arts will be awarded to artists in dance, music, or visual arts, and the Hodder Fellowship is open to writers, composers, choreographers, visual artists, performance artists, or other kinds of artists.  How are applicants from different disciplines compared to one another during the review process? 

MC: The selection committee is made up of people from the Lewis Center Programs in Creative Writing, Theater, Dance, and Visual Arts, as well as the Department of Music and the Princeton Atelier.  Many of these folks also consult with colleagues in their disciplines about promising applicants.  Finalists are put forward by people from the various disciplines, then we all go away and do our homework.  While there’s sometimes a need to explain how to read a resume in your field, by and large we don’t find the “comparative” bit difficult.  Nor do people get territorial about their separate artforms or cookie-cutter-like in their criteria.  For example, it’s understood that “Plays well with others” is not a requirement in all of the arts – some art happens in isolation and other work happens collaboratively, and we welcome both and all artistic practices.

NYFA: What makes an application stand out to the judging panel?

MC: The quality of the work, the ability to make a case for oneself, the evidence that the artist has begun to be noticed, and, for the PAFs especially, the likelihood that the artist will be a good fit at Princeton and a valuable addition to our community for two years.

NYFA: What should applicants consider when submitting samples of their work?

MC: While we’re willing to ask for more work from finalists, the initial application should stick to the guidelines and include what you think of as your best and most eye-catching work.

NYFA: What common mistakes do you see applicants make?  Are there any suggestions you can give to help improve applications?

MC: It sounds silly, but do follow the instructions.  For example, the Hodder Fellowship requires a description of the specific project you’ll be working on during your year at Princeton.  A fair number of applicants neglect to write this description, assuming that the work speaks for itself.  In those cases, we can’t consider the application at all because we don’t have enough information.

NYFA: Hodder Fellows do not have teaching requirements or other assignments.  In what ways are they able to engage with the Princeton University community?

MC: Hodder Fellows make their own choices about how much they want to engage.  Some are very active, working with students, faculty members, and folks from the greater Princeton community on a wide variety of projects.  Others prefer to hunker down and enjoy the fact that the University is buying them the freedom to do nothing but their work. Most fall in the middle; they’re willing to be called upon but are focused on their project.  Fellows from both programs have various opportunities to share meals and their work with one another and with other university folks.


NYFA: What have previous fellows accomplished after their time at Princeton, and how did their fellowship facilitate those achievements?

MC: We’re only in our second years of PAFs.  Past Hodder Fellows have included poets John Berryman and Jane Shore, novelists Darryl Pinkney and Mona Simpson, playwrights Doug Wright and Tarrell McCraney, and a host of others.  We knew them when.  We bought them time.

NYFA: Can you tell us a little about the Lewis Center for the Performing Arts and how it contributes to the Princeton University community?  How are these fellowships part of that contribution?

MC: The Lewis Center is the home of the Programs in Creative Writing, Theater, Dance, Visual Arts and the Princeton Atelier.  Most of what we teach are “hands-on” studio courses in these disciplines, but we also mix in scholars in some of these areas – for example in dance, theater, performance studies and film history, theory and criticism — as they would otherwise not be found elsewhere at the University and they allow our students to think more contextually about what it was and is to be an artist.  In keeping with Princeton’s identity, ours is a strictly undergraduate operation.  Our fellowship programs bring to campus some of the energy, vision and innovation often provided by graduate students at other institutions, though our fellows are just a little further along in their careers.  Ideally, they model for our students what it might be like to get from where they are as artists to where they’d like to be.

NYFA: If artists have questions about the application process, how can they reach you?

MC: Questions on the application process can be directed to our Fellowship Assistant, Ysabel Gonzalez at ysabelg@princeton.edu.

The application deadline for both fellowships is September 15, 2014. For more information about The Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University, visit their website

Search NYFA’s job listings to find jobs in the arts at universities and other organizations. To find opportunities such as fellowships and grants, use NYFA’s online searchable database, NYFA Source.

—Interview Conducted by Eric Narburgh

Images: Princeton University Campus, Photographs courtesy of Princeton University’s Office of Communications

Events: Resources, Support and Fundraising Tools for Artists Workshop at Ajira in Newark


Free NYFA Talk on Thursday, August 14, 2014

Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art, and New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) are pleased to present “Resources, Support, and Fundraising Tools for Artists.”

In this workshop, Sarah Corpron, a Program Officer from Artspire, NYFA’s Fiscal Sponsorship program, will present on NYFA’s extensive fundraising and support programs available nationwide for individual artists and emerging arts organizations, across disciplines. Visual, performing, literary artists and filmmakers are all encouraged to attend.

Fiscal Sponsorship is a critical way for individual artists, artists’ collaborative projects, and emerging arts organizations in all disciplines  to apply for funding usually available only to organizations with 501(c)(3) nonprofit status.
NYFA Source is the most extensive national online directory of awards, services, and programs for artists. Listings include over 12,000 arts organizations, award programs, service programs, and publications for individual artists across the country.

Date: Thursday, August 14 2014, 6:00 PM–8:00 PM

Location: Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art, 591 Broad Street, Newark, NJ 07102

Free and open to the public! For inquiries about this event contact Ridhi Shetty at Aljira: rshetty@aljira.org.

Sarah Corpron, Program Officer for Fiscal Sponsorship at New York Foundation of the Arts (NYFA), has worked within the private and non-profit arts sector for the past 8 years. Prior to joining NYFA, Sarah was the Programs Director at Visual Art Exchange (VAE) in Raleigh, NC. At VAE Sarah managed multiple education and outreach programs for emerging artists as well as the training and organizing of an annual open-source creativity festival, SPARKcon. In addition to her work in the non-profit sector, Sarah also worked as artist liaison and events manager for a private fine art gallery, ArtSource, for over 3 years. ArtSource Gallery focused on connecting collectors with emerging southern regional contemporary artists, with a special emphasis on the unique art needs of corporate clients. Sarah earned her BA in Art History and her BA in History from Sweet Briar College in VA, as well as a Certificate on Non-Profit Management from Duke University’s Center for Continued Education. Throughout her career, Sarah’s professional focus has been to provide opportunities and resources for artists interested in career growth and project planning, something she is thrilled to continue doing in her role at NYFA.

Photo: Astonishing Adventure of All American Girl & The Scarlett Skunk, project director Charles Battersby, 2014 photograph by Isaiah Tanenbaum Theatrical Photography and Design.

Artspire filmmaker debuts feature film on Sept. 12

Sharon Greytak, whose films have received fiscal sponsorship through NYFA’s Artspire program, will debut her feature film, Archaeology of a Woman, at the Village East Theaters in NYC on Sept. 12. The film stars Academy Award nominee Sally Kirkland (“Anna,” “JFK”) and Tony Award winner Victoria Clark.

More coverage of the film can be found via Playbill and Broadway World

Tectonics: A NYFA-curated exhibition, opening Aug. 1

An exhibition of work by winners of 2013 Artists’ Fellowships in Choreography and Architecture/Environmental Structures/Design

Opening Reception: Friday, Aug.1, 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Performance: Perception’s Tyranny, by Dana Bell, at 7:30 PM 
(featuring Meg Clixby and Helen Schreiner, with music composed by Richard Hoffman)


Exhibition Dates: Aug.1–Aug. 18, 2014

Location: Westbeth Gallery, 55 Bethune St., New York, NY 10014
Gallery Hours: Wednesday–Sunday, 1:00 PM–6:00 PM

Participating Artists: Dana Bell, Marsha Ginsberg, Asuka Goto, Joyce Hwang, Alois Kronschlaeger, Noemie Lafrance, Sharon Louden, Chris Morris, Cori Olinghouse, Annie-B Parson, Rebeca Tomas, Arturo Vidich, Gwen Welliver

Photoset: Still from Sharon Louden’s Carrier, 2013. Video. Credit: Sharon Louden (AFP ‘13 Architecture/Environmental Structures/Design). Still from Cori Olinghouse’s Ghost Line. Video. Credit: Cori Olinghouse (AFP ‘13 Choreography) Still from Dana Bell’s Perception’s Tyranny. Video/Performance. Credit: Dana Bell (AFP ‘13, Choreography). Still from Noemie Lafrance’s Melt. Video. Credit: Noemie Lafrance (AFP ‘13 Choreography). Joyce Hwang’s Bat Cloud. Stainless Steel Mesh, Plastic, Felt. 32” x 24” x 24”. Credit: Joyce Hwang (AFP ’ 13 Architecture/Environmental Structures/Design).

Con Edison Immigrant Artist Program Newsletter, Issue No. 59


Featured Interview: Christopher Mulé, Folk Art Director, Brooklyn Arts Council

Christopher Mulé earned a master’s degree in Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University, Bloomington. Prior to formally joining Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC), he served as the Deputy Director and Director of Folklife at Staten Island Arts (formerly COAHSI). In addition to his work at BAC, Mr. Mulé serves on the Board of Directors for the Ghanaian Association of Staten Island; a Liberian service organization called Napela; and as Vice President of the Board of Directors for the New York Folklore Society (NYFS).

We took the opportunity to find out more about his background, inspirations, and his recent appointment as Folk Arts Director at BAC.

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