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

(A Statewide Theatre Regrant Program) 

JUMP TO: Timeline | Eligibility | Guidelines & Evaluation CriteriaInfo Sessions | Narrative & Budget ReviewCurrent Grantees

2019 Creative Opportunity Fund Recipient Broken Box Mime Theater's production of SKIN. Photo by Bjorn Bolinder.


The NYSCA-A.R.T./New York Creative Opportunity Fund (A Statewide Theatre Regrant Program) provides grants of $2,000 to $6,000 to support either organizational growth or the development of new work for the professional theatre in New York State. This grant addresses small professional theatres or independently producing artists with budgets of $500,000 or under. 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.

Creative Opportunity Fund grants are made in two categories:

  • OPPORTUNITY TO CREATE (OTC) funding supports the development or presentation of high quality professional theatre, with a focus on work that expands the form and addresses new or underserved audiences using unique, clearly-defined strategies;

  • OPPORTUNITY TO GROW (OTG) funding supports a strategic growth initiative that will help to stabilize the administration of an organization, allow the organization to address a challenge, and/or to grow and professionalize.

Applicants may apply to ONE category each fiscal year. 

Companies who apply for project-based funding for the same cycle through NYSCA’s Decentralized Programs (through local arts councils like LMCC, Brooklyn Arts Council, ArtsWestchester, etc.) may only apply for the Creative Opportunity Fund in the Opportunity to Grow funding category, and are not eligible to apply for the Opportunity to Create funding category.

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;
  • Help organizations grow institutionally as they prepare to apply directly 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. 

 For more information about this program, please email [email protected].

Application Downloads, Evaluation Criteria, & Narrative Guidelines »
Please review all information before applying.

Grant Reporting, Crediting, & Recipients »
Click here for information on the 2019 grant, including a list of recipients and crediting and reporting information for current grantees.



Application opens: Monday, September 9, 2019
Narrative & Budget Review deadline: Monday, October 21, 2019 at 10:00am
Application closes: Monday, November 4, 2019 at 5:00pm
Applications for the 2020 Creative Opportunity Fund have closed.


Eligibility for the 2020 Creative Opportunity Fund

To be eligible for this grant, applicants must:

  • Be based in New York State;
  • Have annual expenses totaling $500,000 or less for its most recently completed fiscal year;
  • Offer public presentations (readings or fully staged productions) within the State of New York during the grant period;
  • For organizations and/companies, 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.
  • For projects that are undertaken by individual artists or unincorporated entities:
    • Must be able to demonstrate a history of self-producing work for the general public;
    • Have plans to show work for the public in the grant period;
    • Must pay artists; and
    • May not charge artists fees to participate in the work (though artists who teach separately are welcome to apply).
  • Not have outstanding grant reports from A.R.T./New York grant programs;
  • Not have applied directly to NYSCA’s theatre programming for 2020 funding, regardless of whether or not the application was funded.

For more information about guidelines, templates, and evaluation criteria, click here.

Grant Assistance

Information Sessions

These info sessions, held throughout the state and online, were hosted by A.R.T./New York programs staff and walked applicants through the application and guidelines. Applicants were strongly encouraged to attend an info session prior to submitting their application.

New York City:

Tuesday, September 10, 2019, 10:30am - 12:00pm
A.R.T./New York Conference Room // 520 8th Ave, Suite 319
Sign up »

Wednesday, October 9, 2019, 7:00pm

[email protected] Island Arts
Staten Island, NY
Sign up »

Friday, October 11, 2019, 10:30am - 12:00pm
Studio G // 138 South Oxford Street
Sign up » 

New York State:

Friday, September 27, 2019, 2:00pm
Chenango Arts Council
Norwich, NY
Sign up »

Saturday, September 28, 2019, 10:00am
CNY Arts, Inc.
Syracuse, NY
Sign up »

Monday, September 30, 2019, 12:00pm
Auburn Public Theater
Auburn, NY
Sign up »

Tuesday, October 1, 2019, 12:00pm
The Cherry Arts
Ithaca, NY
Sign up »

Thursday, October 3, 2019, 4:00pm
Geva Theatre Center, Lipson Lounge
Rochester, NY
Sign up »

Friday, October 4, 2019, 2:00pm
Genesee Valley Council on the Arts
Mount Morris, NY
Sign up »

Saturday, October 5, 2019, 1:00pm
Delaware Valley Arts Alliance, 
Forestburgh Playhouse
Forestburgh, NY
Sign up »

Monday, October 7, 2019, 2:00pm
Arts Mid-Hudson
Poughkeepsie, NY
Sign up »

Monday, October 7, 5:30pm
Alleyway Theater
Buffalo, NY

Thursday, October 10, 2019, 5:00pm

White Plains, NY
Sign up »

Thursday, October 17, 2019, 4:00pm
Huntington Arts Council,
Main Street Gallery
Huntington, NY
Sign up »

Missed an info session? 
Click here to view a recording of the FY20 Online Info Session »


Narrative Statement & Budget Review

Applicants who wish to receive comments on a draft of their narrative and/or their budget and budget notes before submitting their application may send a draft and receive comments from the A.R.T./New York Programs team. The hope is to give applicants who choose to avail themselves of this service the best possible opportunity to create a competitive application.

Before submitting a narrative statement for review, we strongly encourage you to read over the narrative questions and the criteria for evaluation and ensure your narrative addresses these in full. We also strongly encourage you to have a second reader do the same, as well as having someone look over the narrative for a copy-edit. Incomplete narrative statements will not be accepted for narrative review. Once you have done these things, A.R.T./New York staff will be happy to read your draft for clarity and content. 

In addition to submitting a narrative statement for review, you may also submit a budget and budget notes for review by Programs Staff. Please make sure that you are using the correct budget template for the stream of funding you are applying for (a 3 year Operating Budget for Opportunity to Grow, a Project Budget for Opportunity to Create), and please note budgets submitted for review without accompanying budget notes will not be accepted for review.

When sending a draft, please keep in mind:

  • A.R.T./New York staff will only look at one draft and provide comments. We cannot review multiple drafts for you before the deadline.
  • A.R.T./New York staff will only review your narrative statement, budget, and budget notes, no other application documents may be sent for review prior to submitting your application.
  • Incomplete narratives (that do not answer all required narrative questions) or budgets that do not include accompanying budget notes will not be reviewed.

  • Our staff will look at the draft of your narrative and provide comments and guidance; we will not copy edit or rewrite your narrative for you.
  • The individuals providing comments are not voting members of the grant panel.

If seeking a review of your narrative statement and/or budget, please a draft as a pdf attachment with your company's name in the file name to [email protected] by 10:00am on Monday, October 21, 2019, and a member of the A.R.T./New York Programs Team will review it and provide comments.


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.