NYSCA-A.R.T./New York Creative Opportunity Fund

(A Statewide Theatre Regrant Program) 

JUMP TO: OverviewEligibility | Timeline | Logging Into the Grant Portal 
Application | Evaluation Criteria | Grant Assistance2021 Grantees and Panelists

 Production photo of a hand with a crescent moon tattoo holding a red rose towards the face of a woman with brown hair
2020 Creative Opportunity Fund recipient Group.BR's production of Inside the Wild Heart. Photo by Erika Morillo.


The NYSCA-A.R.T./New York Creative Opportunity Fund (A Statewide Theatre Regrant Program) provides grants to small professional theatres with budgets under $500,000 working in New York State. A.R.T./New York regrants NYSCA funds, and all applicants and grantees will interact with A.R.T./New York as their grant maker.

With the ongoing impact to the field due to the Coronavirus pandemic and ensuring shutdown, A.R.T./New York has made major shifts to the Creative Opportunity Fund grant to respond to the needs of theatres in this moment. Please carefully review the information below, which details the specific information about the grant program and how to apply. After reviewing the information below, if you have further questions, please reach out to [email protected] and a staff member will get back to you.

In 2021, eligible theatres may apply for a general operating support grant of $2,000 from the Creative Opportunity Fund. These general operating grants may be used for any purpose that the grantee chooses except regranting the funds. Additionally, in 2021 the Creative Opportunity Fund will not be open to individual artists; however artist-led companies are eligible. Applicants should be theatre companies and/or collectives, though they can have a wide range of organizational structure including - but not limited to - 501(c)3, fiscally sponsored, or unincorporated artist collectives.

Applications will be reviewed by a panel of theatre artists and administrators from across the state. A.R.T./New York accepts panelists nominations from the public to fill our grant panels, and we look to put together a diverse group of panelists from a range of roles and affiliations across the nonprofit theatre field and who have particular knowledge of or experience with small theatres. For information on the responsibilities of a grant panelist and how to nominate yourself or a colleague, please click here. Panelist nominations for the 2021 Creative Opportunity Fund will be accepted through February 8, 2021.

If you are not currently a member of A.R.T./New York but would like to receive email updates about the 2021 Creative Opportunity Fund, please complete this form.

The application for the 2021 Creative Opportunity Fund is now closed

Program Goals: 

  • Provide a grant funding opportunity with a simple application process accessible to small organizations;
  • Offer and/or increase funding to theatre groups and certain individual artists and unincorporated entities that would not otherwise apply to NYSCA;
  • Support high quality, professional theatre that advances the field;
  • Create opportunities for participation in the arts, particularly for historically underserved populations and communities in New York State.   


Eligibility for the 2021 Creative Opportunity Fund

To be eligible for the 2021 Creative Opportunity Fund, applicants must:

  • Be based in New York State (applicant must have a New York State address);;
  • Have annual expenses totaling $500,000 or less for its most recently completed fiscal year;
  • Be a professional theatre company, which NYSCA and A.R.T./New York for the purposes of this regrant define in the following ways:
    • Must have self-produced for a minimum of two seasons. A season is defined as producing at least one production running a minimum of three (3) performances over the course of a year OR a series of readings or development activities open to the public;
    • Have performances open to the general public;
    • Must pay artists; and
    • Must not charge fees to artists (including but not limited to playwrights, actors, designers, and directors) to participate in theatrical productions of the organization.  Organizations may charge fees only for legitimate classes and training programs and only if they are clearly distinct from theatre productions.
  • Not have applied directly to NYSCA’s theatre programming for 2021 funding, regardless of whether or not the application was funded.


 Panelist Nominations

  • Panelist Nominations Open: December 15, 2020
  • Panelist Nominations Closed: February 8, 2021

Application Timeline

  • Application Opens: January 11, 2021
  • Info Sessions: January 14, January 27, February 2, 2021
  • Office Hours: February 1 - 19, 2021
  • Application Closes: February 22, 2021 at 5pm

Notification Timeline

  • All applicants will be notified if their application was funded by April 8, 2021.
  • Grants may be distributed via ACH transfer or by paper check, depending on the grantee’s preference.

Logging into the Grant Portal 

All applicants should apply through our online portal. If you are unable to utilize the grant portal or need accommodations to access the portal or submit your grant application, please contact Corinne Woods at [email protected].

For Applicants who are A.R.T./New York Members
If you are an A.R.T./New York member, please log in by clicking on the “Log In as A.R.T./New York Member” button and use your Individual A.R.T./New York log in that you use to access event registration and other A.R.T./New York resources.

For Applicants who are NOT A.R.T./New York Members, but have previously applied for an A.R.T./New York Grant.
Applicants who are not members of A.R.T./New York but have previously applied for A.R.T./New York grants through this portal should use the same login they used to apply in the past.

For Applicants who are NOT A.R.T./New York Members and have NOT previously applied for an A.R.T./New York Grant.
Applicants who are not currently members of A.R.T./New York AND have not previously applied for an A.R.T./New York grant should register for a new account on the right side of the screen. Applicants can then use that information to log into the grant portal using the “Login as Non-Member” button.

If you have any questions or issues logging in, please email [email protected] and a member of the team will get back to you. 


The 2021 Creative Opportunity Fund online application has five sections: Eligibility Questionnaire, Theatre Information, Short Answer Questions, Financial Information, and Supplemental Materials. Before logging in and starting the application, you may wish to review a copy of the application in full. To view the full application as a PDF, please click here; to view the full application as a Word document, please click here. These documents are for reference only, you must submit your application through the online portal.

Applicants will be asked to provide digital versions of the following documents during the application process.

  • Organizational Budget: Please upload an organizational operating budget (using A.R.T./New York’s template, or your own budget format) which includes your theatre’s most recently completed fiscal year, current fiscal year actuals to date, and current fiscal year budget projections. No projections are required for your next fiscal year.

    • NOTE: Your current fiscal year budget projections should be for the total year, not just from now until the end of your fiscal year.
    • 1 page pdf preferred; .xls/.xlsx files also accepted.
  • Budget Notes: Budget notes are your opportunity to provide context, additional clarification, and explanation for the information provided in your budget. Your budget notes should be thorough, clear, and easy to read, and they should be written so someone not specifically familiar with your theatre can understand your budget.
    • Below are some areas that you should address in your budget notes; however, your specific budget may require additional explanation, so do consider carefully what additional context or explanation the panel might need in order to fully understand and evaluate your presented budget.
      • Any line item that changes by more than 10% between fiscal years.
      • Details for both earned and contributed income, including projected ticket sales, as well as individual and board contributions. Please also indicate secured and pending institutional funding. (You may notate secured funding using an asterisk)
      • The cause of a deficit, and especially take the time to explain plans to address year-over-year deficits.
    • DO NOT refer to the row numbers in your spreadsheet on your budget notes, as these row numbers will not be visible when the panel reviews your document. We recommend referring to the items you are addressing by name (i.e. box office income, production expenses, etc).
    • A note on budgeting during COVID: We know that there is still much uncertainty, and that there may be unanticipated changes to your proposed budget due to the ongoing crisis. Your budget notes are an opportunity to share how you are planning for this uncertainty.
    • 1 page pdf preferred; .doc/.docx files also accepted.
  • Work Samples/Documentation: Please provide work samples or documentation that will help the panel understand the artistic and programmatic work of your theatre. We know that it is difficult for work samples to fully depict the experience of live performance, so we are offering applicants’ flexibility in what they share with the panel as work samples or documentation. You must submit at least one work sample, you may include up to five.
    • Potential types of work samples may include:
      • Productions photos
      • Up to a 3 minute video or audio clip of a live or virtual production
      • Letters of support from community partners
      • Impact statement from program participants
      • And more!
    • You may either upload your documents and work samples (except video) directly into the grant application, or you may link to a page on your website or on a video hosting site where the panel can view the material. Each applicant may submit up to five (5) pieces of documentation for their work samples, only one of which may be a video or audio clip of up to 3 minutes.Apply »

Evaluation Criteria

All applications will be evaluated by a peer panel based on the following evaluation criteria.

Artistic Merit

  • Is the company’s work created with intentionality, integrity, and rigor, and does it provide opportunities for the development of the artists involved, the art form, and the theatre generally? Is the work of the company achieving artistic success by the definition of the company?
  • Does the artistic work of the theatre have an impact on the local and/or state-wide theatrical field? Is the work being developed and produced by the company relevant to the current creative conversation in theatre or the field at large?
  • Does the artistic work of the theatre have a clear impact on the artists and audiences involved and indicate a relationship and responsiveness to the artists and audiences?
  • How does the artistic work of the theatre reflect and represent the cultural and aesthetic diversity of theatre and their own community in this moment? How does the artistic work of the company represent marginalized or underrepresented voices, communities, and/or artists on stage and off?

Organizational Identity

  • Does the applicant clearly articulate its mission, vision, goals, and core programming? Are these in sync with one another? Is the artistic product of the company in line with the stated mission, vision, and goals of the company?
  • Does the company make intentional steps around audience and community building and experience?
  • Does the company provide appropriate levels of compensation for artists and staff?
  • Is the company serving a diverse audience and cohort of artists, and defining diversity effectively for their community?

Impact on and Service to the Community

  • Is the company creating work and programming that distinguishes itself from others in serving a specific community of artists or audience members?
  • Is the programming, staff, and/or artists of the theatre reflective and responsive to the community the company serves? Do the staff and artists involved in the company reflect the cultural and aesthetic diversity of theatre and their own community in this moment?
  • Does the theatre and its work contribute to a vibrant arts and cultural community in the state?

Need and Impact of Grant

  • Does the applicant articulate the company’s need for funding through this program and the impact an award through this program would have on the organization? Would receipt of this grant allow the company to stabilize, grow capacity, or address an opportunity or challenge over the course of the grant?
    • Note: This is a grant for flexible general operating support, but the application requests applicants share the impact receiving a grant might have on their company. Grantees are not required to utilize awarded funds in exactly the manner they propose in the application, especially given the ongoing uncertainty in the field. However, applicants should make a clear case for funding, and discuss the impact receipt of this grant might have on their theatre and how it may help them to stabilize, address capacity issues, address various impacts of COVID-19, or other needs.
  • Does the applicant make a case for funding?

Grant Assistance

Information Sessions

A.R.T./New York will hold three live virtual info sessions for the 2021 Creative Opportunity Fund. The info sessions are led by A.R.T./New York staff and will review the grant, eligibility criteria, and application process. Attendees will also be able to ask any questions they may have about the application. Attendees are encouraged to review the grant website and application prior to attending the info session.

To view a pre-recorded info session, please click here. This info session is captioned.

To read a transcript of the pre-recorded info session, please click here.

Thursday, January 14, 2021
2:00pm - 3:30pm
Sign up »
Wednesday, January 27, 2021

1:00pm - 2:30pm
Sign up »

Tuesday, February 2, 2021
6:00pm - 7:30pm
Sign up »


Grant Office Hours

This year instead of a written narrative and budget review process, A.R.T./New York staff will be offering technical assistance in the form of virtual "office hours" with Director of Programs Corinne Woods and Senior Manager of Programs David Shane. All applicants will be able to schedule a 30 minute session, during which we'll be happy to discuss your responses to the questions in the grant application, look over potential work samples you're considering, talk through questions on your budget and/or budget notes, and answer any other questions regarding the grant and your application you might have.

Please be sure you have reviewed the grant application, eligibility requirements, and evaluation criteria prior to your meeting. You do not need to have completed responses to the application questionnaire before your meeting, but the more you have prepared the more substantial feedback we'll be able to provide.

To book an Office Hours appointment, please click here.

All appointments will be held virtually through Google Meet between February 1 - February 19, 2021.



This program is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.