This Fall, DG New York State hosted a panel with arts funders and thought leaders on the current climate of grant funding for theatre in Capital Region and Hudson Valley. The roundtable was produced and hosted by Brittany Proia, Eastern NY State Ambassador, introduced by me, and featured Lilia Peréz (Arts Mid-Hudson), Susan Abbott (Arts Westchester), and Charlie Owens (Saratoga Arts.) The conversation focused on three main topics: how to seek funding opportunities, what grantors look for in applicants, and regional resources available to individual artists. “There is a great deal of funding available to playwrights in our region and the three organizations represented in this roundtable are actively trying to connect artists to funding opportunities. I was pleasantly surprised by the transparency of the panelists and their desire to personally assist any playwright in need of guidance,” says Proia. “The panelists made it clear that the available funding has increased this year as there is a new stream of “jump start” arts funding available for the 2022 cycle.”
After the panelists talked a bit about their backgrounds, their work, and their passions, they responded to a series of curated and community-posed questions, including:
• In 2020 the climate of grant funding shifted quite a bit from project oriented to COVID emergency grant support. How has this affected the 2022 cycle?
• What are the regional resources available for Hudson Valley and Capital Region playwrights to find funding?
• What is fiscal sponsorship and what are the pros and cons for individual artists?
• What is the NY State Regrant program?
• How does your organization help playwrights/individual artists?
• Are there any upcoming deadlines that playwrights/individual artists should be aware of?
“To some playwrights, the idea of self-producing work can be a daunting one, but panels such as the Funding Round Table make it clear that it is possible to get funding as an individual artist which gives creative autonomy back to the generative artists,” says Proia, who in addition to her regional ambassador duties is a professor at the SUNY New Paltz Department of Theatre. “In the Hudson Valley and Capital regions, much of the funding applications open in the fourth quarter. Because of this, I think an annual funding panel would be incredibly valuable to playwrights in the region.” Her aim is to make this funding panel an annual occurrence in New York State for the benefit of the playwrights who are on the lookout for funding opportunities.
This event helped jumpstart New York State’s fall offerings, which will continue this winter with the return of New York State Fest, which aims to include writers and community members from New York State and around the country. As the COVID Omicron variant surges, it’s likely that a shelter-in-place digital experience might once again take center stage. At times like these, we’ll do what we do best as reps and ambassadors: keep our communities engaged.