Leon Levy Foundation Awards $250,000 Grant to A.R.T./New York, Creates Covid Relief Fund to Support NYC Small Theatres

Initial Grant Recipients Include 55 New York City Theatres

(January 27, 2021 - New York, NY) The Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York (A.R.T./New York) (Risa Shoup, Interim Executive Director) announced today the creation of the Leon Levy Foundation COVID Relief Fund, initiated with a $250,000 grant to support small New York City theatres in conjunction with A.R.T./New York Relief Fund for NYC Small Theatres.

A.R.T./New York also announced 55 recipients of the first round of the A.R.T./New York Relief Fund for NYC Small Theatres.

Risa Shoup, Interim Executive Director, said "The transformative and generous support we have received from the Leon Levy Foundation elevates a critical point in this challenging moment of theater-makers and theater-making: it reminds us that just as the making of theater is a collaborative act so, too, must be the support for theater makers. Together as artists, arts workers and funders we can best meet our own needs and ensure that theater is no less accessible and vibrant when we are most in need of holding a mirror up to nature to reflect and understand our role in overlapping crises."

Seeded by a generous gift from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, with additional funding from the Seth Sprague Foundation and A.R.T./New York, the A.R.T./New York Relief Fund for NYC Small Theatres was created in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and its impact on New York City-based small theatres. 

"It's been thrilling—quite moving, frankly—to see the speed with which the A.R.T./New York Relief Fund for Small Theatres has moved to secure the survival of an essential and often overlooked sector of our city's theater ecosystem,” said Susan Bernfield, A.R.T./New York Board President. “The addition of this tremendous grant from the Leon Levy Foundation will impact our field indefinitely." 

Now, with the creation of the Leon Levy Foundation COVID Relief Fund, named to honor the Leon Levy Foundation’s vision and generosity, a 2021 round of accessible relief funding will be available to small theatres with annual budgets under $250k who are based in, or primarily produce in, New York City.

Shelby White, founding trustee of the Leon Levy Foundation, said “New York’s diverse theaters are synonymous with the vitality of the City. We are delighted that the Leon Levy Foundation can assist A.R.T./New York in helping ensure that these theaters can weather this crisis and remain an essential part of our community.”

The Fall 2020 cycle of the A.R.T./New York Relief Fund for NYC Small Theatres, with additional support from the Leon Levy Foundation COVID Relief Fund in January 2021, made $167,500 in flexible, general operating grants to 55 small theatres throughout New York City. Grant recipients include American Indian Artists Inc. (AMERINDA); Black Revolutionary Theatre Workshop; Braata Productions, Inc; Conch Shell Productions; Gung Ho Projects; JACK Arts, Inc.; Latinx Playwrights Circle; Musical Theatre Factory; National Queer Theater; Safe Harbors NYC; Spiderwoman Theatre Workshop, Inc; The Sống Collective; Access Theater; Actionplay, Inc.; Amaterasu Za, Inc.; Astoria Performing Arts Center; Boundless Theatre Company, Inc.; Colt Coeur Theater Company; Crossing Jamaica Avenue; Developing Artists Theater Company; Downtown Art; Emit Theatre; EPIC Players; General Mischief Dance Theatre; Grand Pistachio; Green Earth Poets Café; Group .BR; Hypokrit Theatre Company; IRT Theater Inc; Kairos Italy Theater; Kaiser's Room; Kyoung's Pacific Beat; Labyrinth Theater Company; Loco7 Dance Puppet Theatre Company; LubDub Theatre Company; Moxie Arts NY; MultiStages; National Asian Artists Project, Inc.; New Ohio Theatre; New Perspectives Theatre Company; Noor Theatre, Inc.; Pioneers Go East Collective; Pipeline Theatre Company; Quick Silver Theater Company; Radical Evolution; Rising Sun Performance Company; SheNYC Arts, Inc; The Anthropologists; The Brick Theater; The Parsnip Ship; The Seeing Place Theater; Titan Theatre Company; Treehouse Shakers; Wild Project; and Yaa Samar! Dance Theatre.

Janio Marrero, Executive Director of Latinx Playwrights Circle, one of the recipients of the first round of the A.R.T./New York Relief Fund for NYC Small Theatres, stated: “Our organization was growing and expanding at a fast pace, many doors were beginning to open for us that were suddenly closed due to COVID-19. In the efforts to fulfill our mission and maintain our vibrant LatinX theater community creating, we needed to fundraise more than ever. This grant has been vital to help us continue our mission amidst a pandemic. We feel blessed to now be part of the A.R.T/New York family.”

Applications for the Leon Levy Foundation COVID Relief Fund will open in Spring 2021 through A.R.T./New York’s virtual platform and will be reviewed and scored on a rolling basis by a diverse panel of theatre makers and arts workers representing a range of roles in the field. Applicants do not need to be members of A.R.T./New York to apply for the Leon Levy Foundation COVID Relief Fund.

The Leon Levy Foundation COVID Relief Fund aims to provide financial relief to nonprofit theatre organizations (including those that are fiscally sponsored or “non-profit in spirit”) with annual operating budgets under $250,000 that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through unrestricted grants of $2,500-$5,000. The Relief Fund will support a vibrant mix of theatres working with diverse aesthetics and serving a wide range of cultural communities across New York City, and companies that are impacting the field in New York City and who have had limited access to relief funding and financial support.

For more information about the Leon Levy Foundation COVID Relief Fund, including how to apply & how to make a contribution to support A.R.T./New York’s Relief Fund efforts, visit www.art-newyork.org.  


The Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York is the arts service organization dedicated to supporting New York City's vibrant and diverse community of nonprofit theatres. Founded in 1972, A.R.T./New York assists over 400 member theatres in managing their theatre companies effectively so they may realize their rich artistic visions and serve their diverse audiences well. Over nearly five decades, A.R.T./New York has earned a reputation as a leader in providing progressive services to our members—from shared office and rehearsal spaces to technical assistance programs for emerging theatres—which have made the organization an expert in the needs of the New York City nonprofit theatre community. A.R.T./New York supports nonprofit theatre companies in New York City by providing four core programs: Funding, Training, Space and Connections. 


The Leon Levy Foundation, founded in 2004, is a private foundation created from Leon Levy’s Estate by his wife and Founding Trustee, Shelby White. The Foundation supports the preservation, understanding and expansion of knowledge in the Ancient World, Arts and Humanities, Nature and Gardens, Neuroscience, Human Rights and Jewish culture. The Foundation continues Leon Levy’s philanthropic legacy and builds on his vision. Since its inception, the Foundation has made grants totaling over $400 million.



Press Contacts

Matt Ross Public Relations – (212) 756-1248

Matt Ross / Claire Wojciechowski

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