07.09.19 Artists,Press

Erin O’Keefe NYFA Fellowship Announcement

Introducing | NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship Program Recipients and Finalists


NYFA has awarded $661,000 to 98 New York State artists working in the categories of Architecture/Environmental Structures/Design, Choreography, Music/Sound, Photography, and Playwriting/Screenwriting.

New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) has announced the recipients and finalists of the NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship Program, which it has administered for the past 33 years with leadership support from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA). The organization has awarded a total of $661,000 to 98 artists (including three collaborations) whose ages range from 25-76 years throughout New York State in the following disciplines: Architecture/Environmental Structures/Design, Choreography, Music/Sound, Photography, and Playwriting/Screenwriting. Fifteen finalists, who do not receive a cash award but benefit from a range of other NYFA services, were also announced. A complete list of the Fellows and Finalists follows.

The NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship Program makes unrestricted cash grants of $7,000 to artists working in 15 disciplines, awarding five per year on a triennial basis. The program is highly competitive, and this year’s recipients and finalists were selected by discipline-specific peer panels from an applicant pool of 2,542. Since it was launched in 1985, the program has awarded over $31 million to more than 5,000 artists. This year, thanks to the generous support of photography nonprofit Joy of Giving Something, NYFA was able to award an additional five Fellowships in Photography, which has the largest application pool of any Fellowship category.

“We are grateful to NYSCA for this annual opportunity to provide nearly 100 artists from New York State with unrestricted cash grants,” said Michael L. Royce, Executive Director, NYFA. “What’s most exciting is that the Fellowship impacts artists of all disciplines and career stages and that these artists are being recognized by a jury of their peers. Beyond the financial aspect, it empowers them to keep creating and exploring new possibilities in their work.”

New York State Council on the Arts Executive Director Mara Manus described how the program makes New York communities more vibrant: “The NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship recognizes that artists of all disciplines, backgrounds, ages, and career stages make vital contributions to New York’s creative culture. Over the past 33 years, the Artist Fellowship has been a launching pad and a critical source of support for artists whose work helps build healthy communities in all regions of the state.”


On receiving a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Playwriting/Screenwriting, Brooklyn-based Nabil Viñas said: “It is a deeply moving honor to be recognized by NYSCA/NYFA. I took up screenwriting out of necessity, as it became clear that the voices and stories from my life would not appear in works by others. This fellowship tells me our stories matter, and that my voice is worth hearing.”

For Ben Altman, a Fellow in Architecture/Environmental Structures/Design from Danby, NY, the NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship represents another facet of support from NYFA: “NYFA has informed my artistic practice throughout my 12 years in Upstate New York, providing professional development, fiscal sponsorship, grant application support, workshops, critique, and timely advice. To be awarded a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship is as much a tribute to those inputs as it is an important and very welcome recognition of the work NYFA’s support has helped me to produce.”

To Veena Chandra, a Fellow in Music/Sound from Latham, NY, the NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship empowers her to “continue to create, promote, and preserve” musical tradition. “I feel blessed to have been playing Indian sitar music for the last 63 years. I am so grateful to my father, who created an environment for me to learn this beautiful music and taught me from the very beginning of my life. To be recognized for my work in performing and preserving Indian Classical music means a lot to me, especially at this point in my career,” she noted.


. . .

Photography Fellows

Manal Abu-Shaheen (Queens)
Yasser Aggour (Kings)
Aneta Bartos (New York)
Lucas Blalock (Kings)
Matthew Conradt (Kings)
Debi Cornwall  (Kings)
Robin Crookall (Kings)
Tim Davis (Dutchess)******
Eli Durst (Queens)
Nona Faustine (Kings)
Jonathan Gardenhire  (Kings)
Rachel Granofsky (Kings)*****
Carlie Guevara (Queens)
Gail Albert-Halaban (New York)
Daesha Devón Harris (Saratoga)******
Gillian Laub (New York)
Jiatong Lu (Kings)******
Diana Markosian (Kings)
Rehan Miskci (New York)
Rachelle Mozman Solano (Kings)
Karina Aguilera Skvirsky (New York)
Erin O’Keefe (New York)
Paul Raphaelson (Kings)
Victor Rivera (Onondaga)******
Jahi Lateef Sabater (Kings)
Nadia Sablin (Kings)
Derick Whitson (New York)
Letha Wilson (Columbia)******
Alex Yudzon (Kings)

. . .

* Collaborative artists
** Geri Ashur Screenwriting Award
*** Joanne Y. Chen Taiwanese American Artist Fellow
**** Gregory Millard Fellows made with the support of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; Gregory Millard Fellowships are awarded annually to New York City residents chosen in several categories. The award was established by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in 1984 in memory of poet and playwright Gregory Millard, who served as Assistant Commissioner of Cultural Affairs from 1978 until his death in 1984 and championed the causes of individual artists.
***** Deutsche Bank Fellow
******Joy of Giving Something Fellow

Funding Support

NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowships are administered with leadership support from New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Major funding is also provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA). Additional funding is provided by Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation, ​Taiwanese American Arts Council​The Joy of Giving Something Inc., and individual donors.


Find out more about the NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship Program, a $7,000 unrestricted cash grant awarded to individual artists living and working in the state of New York. Follow us on TwitterFacebook, andInstagram for more news and events from NYFA. To receive more artist news updates, sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter, NYFA News.

Images from Top: Lindsay Packer (Fellow in Architecture/Environmental Structures/Design ’19), False Fold, 2019, colored light and found objects, Photo Credit: Lindsay Packer; Donna Uchizono (Fellow in Choreography ’19), March Under an Empty Reign (Sextet), 2018, performers Natalie Green and Aja Carthon, Photo Credit: Ian Douglas; Eli Durst (Fellow in Photography ’19), Bread (Cross), 2017, archival pigment print

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