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Envisioning a New Paradigm for Supporting Artists in Partnership with the Mellon Foundation

Jun 03, 2021
Creatives Rebuild New York (CRNY), a major new three-year initiative announced by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in partnership with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) and the Ford Foundation, will offer artists in New York State stable income and fulltime employment opportunities.

The initiative seeks to help kick-start a renaissance in the state’s creative sector, following a catastrophic year under the pandemic characterized by widespread and lingering unemployment.

One component of the new initiative will provide guaranteed, no-strings-attached monthly income to at least 2,400 artists working in New York State, and another will offer salaried positions with benefits to 300 additional artists at small and medium-sized community arts organizations across the state. The initiative aims not only to get artists back to work, but also to champion appreciation of how integral they and their work are in our lives.

“The pandemic underscored, more sharply than ever before, the vital role that art and artists play in our communities, and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) is proud to collaborate in recognizing this role by supporting artists in pursuing their work and dreams,” said SNF Co-President Andreas Dracopoulos. “In the period to come, we hope to see a paradigm shift toward more dependable and more equitable models of funding for artists.”

“The artists whose work helps to sustain us have faced particularly devastating circumstances resulting from unemployment, underemployment, and a lack of predictable paid incomes,” said Mellon Foundation President Elizabeth Alexander. “As we look to emerge from this pandemic, it’s critical for the vibrancy of our cities that we recognize that making art is work, and artists are among our nation’s most dedicated and necessary drivers of our economy. We are thrilled the Ford and Stavros Niarchos Foundations are joining with us to provide artists with the income and stability they need to continue their creative practices as the state rebuilds.”

Support for artists, including creating opportunities for artists to pursue their calling and grow in their practice, is an important part of SNF’s focus on opening access to the arts and culture resources that helps us reflect on what it means to be human and connect with one another across difference.