FY23 Edith Lutyens & Norman Bel Geddes
Design Enhancement Fund

Black and white image. Black background with a woman on the right side smoking a cigarette. She is wearing a 1940s blazer with a polka dot blouse underneath including a time period hat. She looks to the front with the cigarette in her hand in her mouth.


The Edith Lutyens and Norman Bel Geddes Design Enhancement Fund is now accepting applications for the FY23 grant cycle! This year, A.R.T./New York and the Edith Lutyens and Norman Bel Geddes Foundation have worked together to streamline the application process, expand eligibility for the program, and reduce restrictions on the use of the grant. We are excited to see what you and your design team dream up! 

Edith Lutyens and Norman Bel Geddes created their namesake foundation to support the design and production costs of New York City-based non-profit theatre companies. The Edith Lutyens and Norman Bel Geddes Design Enhancement Fund provides grants intended to augment the artistic needs of a production and allow a designer to more fully realize their artistic vision for a production. Design enhancement can impact the artists and audiences involved in a production in many ways, from formal and technological innovations to augmenting the audience's experience in the theatre. In order to have the most significant impact, these funds must supplement the current production budget and augment the original design concept. Applicants may request support for enhancement to design elements including (but not limited to) sets, lights, sound, costumes, video, puppetry, props, or multimedia design elements.

In essence, we ask you and your design team to dream big and answer the question: "What would you do if you had an extra $5,000 or $10,000 to spend on this production?" 

The Application Guide below provides detailed information on the application process, eligibility requirements, and more. A recorded information session is also available for applicants to review, and applicants can schedule an Office Hours appointment to speak about their project and application with a member of the A.R.T./New York Grants Team prior to the deadline. 


Please note: Applications are now closed for the year. The information below is for archival and informational purposes only.

The application for the next cycle of this program will be announced and open in Early 2023.  



Changes to the FY23 Design Enhancement Fund

  • The application process for the Design Enhancement Fund will occur in two parts. All theatres meeting the eligibility requirements are welcome to apply to the initial application. 25 applicants will be invited to submit a full application in May 2022. 

  • All direct costs for the proposed enhancement may be included in the grant request including direct labor costs and shipping/transportation expenses; however the grant may not be used to pay for increased designer fees unless it is directly related to the building of enhanced design elements outside of the typical scope of the design contract.

  • Applicants do not need to be formal 501c3 organizations, fiscally sponsored theatres and “non-profit in spirit” theatres are also eligible beginning this grant cycle.


 Application Process

The application process for the Design Enhancement Fund will occur in two parts:

Application Round 1 - Open Application

The first stage of the application process is completing the Design Enhancement Fund Initial Application. This brief application will ask for information about your theatre and the production for which you are requesting support, a description of your original design and proposed enhancement, and a biography and work sample from your designer or design team. The deadline to submit your initial application is Tuesday, April 19 at 5pm. 

The initial applications will be reviewed and scored by a group of NYC-based designers and theatre-makers. All applicants will be notified about the status of their application by May 13, 2022. 

Application Round 2 - Invited Application

Based on the scores and discussions of the panel, a group of 25 applicants will be invited to submit a final application for the grant program by June 7, 2022. All applicants will be notified of the funding decisions by June 30, 2022. Applicants who were invited and submitted an application in the final round but were not selected for funding will receive a stipend of $150 to help offset the additional labor requested of the design team and admin staff to complete the application. 



The eligibility requirements for the Edith Lutyens and Norman Bel Geddes Design Enhancement Fund have changed. Please carefully review the information below to determine if your project/organization is eligible to apply.

To apply for this grant program, applications must meet the following criteria:

  • The applicant must be a theatre company, organization, or artist collective creating, developing, or presenting theatre for at least two years with annual non-capital expenses totaling less than $5,000,000 for its most recently completed fiscal year.

    • Applicant may be a 501c3, fiscally sponsored, or unincorporated entity that is “non-profit in spirit”.

    • A.R.T./New York has an expansive definition of “theatre” as a discipline of live performance. If you call your art theatre, then you are eligible to apply for this grant! However, keep in mind as you write your application that a panel of theatre-makers and theatre designers will be evaluating your application for this theatre-based grant.

  • The applicant must also be an A.R.T./New York Theatre Member in good standing with no outstanding dues, loans, or rent;

    • Companies applying for A.R.T./New York membership in order to be eligible for the grant must apply for membership at least 2 weeks before the grant deadline and should reach out to [email protected] explaining their intention to apply, in order to ensure their membership is approved in time;

Your project and grant request should also meet the following requirements:

  • Your grant request should be for the amount necessary to achieve the enhanced design element(s) and should not exceed $10,000. 

  • The grant may be used to cover costs directly related to the design enhancement including materials, direct labor costs, additional shipping/transportation costs, equipment, etc. 

    • Grant funds may not be used to pay for increased designer fees, unless it is directly related to the building of enhanced design elements outside of the typical scope of the design contract.

  • Applicants may only request funding for one project that occurs in New York City between August 1, 2022 - June 30, 2023. Touring productions are eligible, provided they have New York City performance dates during the grant period. In cases where a funded project is delayed beyond June 30, 2023, theatres must contact A.R.T./New York to discuss options.

    • Virtual theatrical productions are eligible for funding through this program, provided the activities occur primarily in New York City. 

  • Applicants may request enhancement support for more than one design element if the enhancement impacts multiple design elements (i.e. where a set enhancement requires a lighting enhancement to achieve the full effect, or where a puppetry enhancement interacts with costumes requiring enhancements to both elements to fully achieve the expanded design vision). 

    • It is not recommended that applicants apply for two or more disparate design element enhancements. 

  • The designer should be identified in the application, and it is expected that the designer will contribute to the final application if invited to apply. The designer may be contacted as part of the panel evaluation process.

  • A lack of funding through this program must not impair the production as originally envisioned by the design team. Put another way, the enhancement should be described in positive terms, and should not devalue the creativity and feasibility of the original design concept(s) for the production. This grant is to enhance and augment the original design, not to fund the original design. 


Application Support

A.R.T./New York staff have put together a recorded info session walking applicants through the eligibility requirements, application process, and grant portal. The recorded info session is available on A.R.T./New York’s YouTube and captioning is available. 

A.R.T./New York also provides individualized support to applicants through virtual "office hours" with A.R.T./New York Grants staff members. Any potential applicants will be able to schedule a 25 minute session, during which we’ll be happy to discuss your application, review your project’s eligibility, look over your responses to the questions in the grant application, and/or answer any other questions regarding the grant and your application you might have. All appointments will be held virtually through Google Meet or Zoom between from the time the grant opens until April 15, 2022. 

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 questions before your meeting, but the more you have prepared the more substantial feedback we’ll be able to provide. 

About the Foundation

The Edith Lutyens and Norman Bel Geddes Design Enhancement Fund was created from the estate of noted designers Edith Lutyens and her husband, Norman Bel Geddes. Edith was one of two girls born in Belgium into an Edwardian era family and it is to her English father that she credits much of her indelible sense of character. Her many accomplishments throughout her life, including representing Belgium in the National Field Hockey team and competing in the 1928 Olympics in fencing, helped to prepare her for a life of challenges and success.

Arriving alone in New York City during the height of the war it was not long before she entered the theater world with her own costume production house and soon was producing for Broadway and Ballet Society; working with such luminaries as George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein; producing the costumes for FireBird with Marc Chagall; Orson Welles on Around the World in 80 Days; South Pacific and so many others. And in 1947 Edith Lutyens produced Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Telephone/The Medium for Broadway. It was during this time that she met and later married Norman Bel Geddes and, in her own words, considered this the happiest time of her life. Together they traveled, collaborated on multiple projects, and remained inseparable until Norman’s death in 1958.

Edith then worked for several years to preserve the Bel Geddes legacy by arranging for all his papers to be archived at The Harry Ransom Center in Austin Texas. This was a major accomplishment and it is to Edith’s credit that Norman’s work is accurately represented today. To further that goal, in 2004 Edith conceived and created the Edith Lutyens & Norman Bel Geddes Foundation with the directive to assist those in the theater world who were most often overlooked; those, like her, who toiled “back of the curtain” as it were; the lighting people, the sound people, the technicians, and of course the costumer. 

A.R.T./New York has been the Foundation's partner in that mission since its inception. The goal of the Foundation is totally consistent with the important work of A.R.T./New York, by supporting design innovation and securing a future for a vital and essential theater in New York City. 



A.R.T./New York is committed to making our grantmaking and funding programs accessible to disabled theatre-makers, artists, and administrators. Our Application Guide and FAQ documents are available in large print. The recorded Information Session has captioning available, and Office Hours Appointments offer automatic captioning through Zoom and Google. Additional accommodations, including ASL interpretation, live captioning, audio description, etc are available upon request. Please submit requests to Adam Mummery and Erica Barnes at [email protected] at least 5 business days in advance. 

Narrative questions can be submitted in writing or by submitting an audio or video file of a company member answering the narrative questions. If you need additional support in submitting an application to any of A.R.T./New York's grant programs, please reach out to Adam Mummery and Corinne Woods at [email protected]


Photo of Clubbed Thumb’s production of Rinne B. Groff's "The Woman's Party," featuring Rosalyn Coleman