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:

Seating is limited and advance registration is required at:

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

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

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

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:

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.

Continue reading…

NYFA Congratulates the AFP and BUILD Recipients Among This Year's Bessie Award Nominees

The New York Dance and Performance — aka “Bessie” — Awards are awarded annually, and recognize innovators in the field of dance and related performance.

This year, the nominees include several artists who have received support from New York Foundation for the Arts, in the form of NYFA’s Building Up Infrastructure Levels for Dance (BUILD) Grants, as well as our Artists’ Fellowships Program (AFP). NYFA extends special congratulations to these artists for their nominations! 

Meet a NYFA Artist: Stephen Petronio


NYFA talks to Stephen Petronio (AFP ‘85 and ‘04 Choreography)

The choreographer, dancer, and artistic director discusses the recent publication of his memoir, Confessions of a Motion Addict; his dance company turning thirty; and what he is planning next.

NYFA: Congratulations on the publication of your memoir, Confessions of a Motion Addict. What motivated you to write a book? Did your decision surprise your family and friends?

SP: My family can no longer be surprised by anything I do. I began writing the book because I was having many sleepless nights during the making of a dance called Ghostown. So I decided to start writing some early memories as a way to prod the dance, and to fill those middle-of-the-night hours. And the book developed from there.

Continue reading…

Valuing Brick and Mortar: Alternative Ways to Gain Access to Artist Spaces


Awards, space rentals, residencies, and more

Being a successful artist is often about finding ways to rethink obstacles — and ultimately triumph over some of the day-to-day challenges that can complicate your ability to fully express your creative practice.

This article provides insight into addressing a common issue for artists: acquiring a workspace.

Continue reading…

Survey: Help NYSCA Understand Public Participation in the Arts


Online survey aims to parse New Yorkers’ cultural engagement

The New York State Council on the Arts — a major sponsor of NYFA and its initiatives — has released a survey to capture information about the contemporary cultural landscape in New York State.

More, from The New York Times’ ArtsBeat:

Did you attend “Così Fan Tutte” at the Metropolitan Opera or an elementary-school performance of  “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”? Browse a museum store or watch a movie? The New York State Council on the Arts wants to know.

This week the agency began an anonymous online survey about people’s participation in the arts to help shape its priorities for the next three years, Lisa Robb, the council’s executive director, explained. 

“We need the public’s help,” Ms. Robb said. “We’re doing our planning for 2015 to 2018 and we have not surveyed the public in over five years.” The survey asks about watching a movie and visiting a “creative retail shop,” clicking a thumbs-up to like a cultural activity online, or stopping to listen to a busker in the subway, but not about television or radio.

Photo: “Così Fan Tutte” at the Metropolitan Opera in September. Credit: Karsten Moran for The New York Times.

Installation views of Off the Block, an exhibition at Southampton Arts Center featuring winners of NYFA Artists’ Fellowships (AFP)Claire Watson (AFP ‘07 Sculpture), Hiroyuki Hamada (AFP ‘09 Sculpture), and Andreas Rentsch (AFP ‘98 and ‘08 Photography). The exhibition is curated by David Terry, Director of Programs and Curator.

Off the Block runs from June 26–July 20, 2014. For more information, visit the Center’s website

Photos: Hiroyuki Hamada

Spotlight: PS109, A Live/Work Artspace Project in East Harlem



Artspace is a leading non-profit organization providing affordable art spaces to communities throughout the United States. Recently, the organization completed its first facility in New York City—Artspace PS109. PS109, a former abandoned public school building in East Harlem, offers 90 units of affordable live/work space to artists and their families; also available on the ground floor and lower level are 3,000 square feet for a resident gallery, and 10,000 square feet of non-residential space for arts and cultural organizations.

Qian Xu speaks to Shawn McLearen, VP of Property Development, about what PS109 brings to New York City artists and the East Harlem community where it is located.

Continue reading…