Creatives Rebuild New York Launches Programs to Support 2,700 Artists Across New York State

CRNY's Guaranteed Income for Artists program will provide no-strings cash payments to New York artists who demonstrate financial need.

By: Feb. 14, 2022
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Today, Creatives Rebuild New York (CRNY) launched two funding opportunities aimed at providing transformational support for individual artists across New York State. The $125 million initiative provides either guaranteed income or employment opportunities to artists. Conceived and principally funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation with additional support from the Ford Foundation and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), CRNY was formed to reactivate New York State's creative economy after the devastating impact of COVID-19, and to secure the future of its artists.

CRNY's Guaranteed Income for Artists program will provide no-strings cash payments to New York artists who demonstrate financial need. 2,400 artists will receive $1,000 per month for 18 months. Recipients will be selected from a pool of eligible artists to ensure equitable distribution. Application details and eligibility requirements for the Guaranteed Income for Artists program are now available at All guaranteed income applications must be submitted by March 25, 2022 at 11:59 PM Eastern.

CRNY's Artist Employment Program will fund employment for 300 artists working in collaboration with community-based organizations or municipalities across the State. Participating artists will receive a salary of $65,000 per year (commensurate with median household income in New York State) plus benefits and dedicated time to focus on their artistic practice. The partnering organizations are eligible to receive funding to support artists' employment. Application details and eligibility requirements for the Artist Employment Program are now available at All joint artist employment program applications must be submitted by March 25, 2022 at 11:59 PM Eastern.

"Today brings us one step closer to realizing a vision that was born just months into the pandemic when, through my work on the governor's commission, it became clear that we needed to address the deep-rooted disconnect causing artists to not be seen as workers and to be compensated as such," said Elizabeth Alexander, president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. "As we continue to envision and work towards our post-pandemic reality, it's critical that we not overlook the artist workers whose labor is an essential part of our economy and whose continued work sustains us in our most joyful and our darkest hours."

CRNY recognizes that race, class, ability, and other forms of privilege often dictate access to financial security. As such, CRNY is prioritizing outreach to communities across the State that have historically been under-resourced by philanthropy. Guided by leaders in the linguistic and disability justice communities, CRNY will also provide necessary accommodations so that non-English speakers, English language learners, people with disabilities, and those without Internet access are supported throughout the application process.

"Artists' employment and livelihoods are notoriously precarious, and COVID-19 has only exacerbated this unpredictability and uncertainty," noted Sarah Calderon, Executive Director of CRNY. "CRNY is thrilled to launch our Guaranteed Income for Artists and Artist Employment programs as a step toward building financial security, agency, and freedom for 2,700 New York artists, as well as supporting the broader ecosystem of organizations that employ them."

Notably, artists played an integral role in the design of both the Guaranteed Income for Artists and Artist Employment programs. Building on the foundation of its nine member Leadership Council, in Fall 2021 CRNY convened a Think Tank-a diverse coalition of New York State artists, scholars, strategists, and activists with wide-ranging identities and lived experiences. Through bi-monthly meetings, this group determined the overall direction of both programs.

"The importance of having artists play a central role in designing CRNY's guaranteed income and employment programs cannot be overstated," said Emil Kang, CRNY Leadership Council Chair and Mellon Foundation Program Director for Arts and Culture. "This model is one that points to a necessary paradigm shift in how artists are supported and reminds us that artistic practice often extends beyond the studio and the stage and is often the result of hours of uncompensated labor.

"Guaranteed income for artists is transformational. By providing monthly, sustained, unconditional cash transfers to artists (and ideally all gig workers), GI strengthens the well-being of a community," said Yanira Castro, a Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary artist and member of CRNY's Think Tank. "For most artists, work is seasonal, unpredictable, and comes and goes in waves; it can be feast or famine. Grants are few and foster competition and a scarcity mindset rather than nurturing the health (economic, social, spiritual) of the whole art community. CRNY's investment in artists through guaranteed income is an acknowledgment of the precarity so many artists work under and the need to work towards the economic security all workers deserve."

Queries regarding applications may be directed to


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