Emergency Grants for New York City Artists With Disabilities

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The tulips are blooming, Broadway is coming back and the slowing of the pandemic in America seems to be in sight.

But for many artists still trying to bounce back from a year of lost or reduced income, normal is still a long way off.

Now, a program of the New York Foundation for the Arts is accepting applications for $1,000 cash grants for New York City-based creators with disabilities who have experienced hardships as a result of the pandemic. The Barbara and Carl Zydney Grant for Artists With Disabilities are open to literary, media, music, performing and visual artists 21 and older in any of the five boroughs.

The new program is named in memory of Barbara Zydney, who was born and raised in New York and taught children with visual disabilities in the city’s public school system, and her husband, Carl, a fellow patron of the arts.

“It combines three things that were important to the Zydneys: their love for New York, their passion for the arts and Barbara’s dedication to working with individuals with disabilities,” the announcement on the foundation’s website says.

About one in five adults in New York has a disability, according to the New York State Health Department.

While there are no readily available statistics tracking the pandemic’s effects on disabled artists specifically, the visual, performing and other artists have had a devastating year. Employment in the city’s arts, entertainment and recreation sector plummeted by 66 percent from December 2019 to December 2020, according to a report released by the New York State Comptroller’s Office in February. It was the largest drop in any part of the city’s economy.

Applications are being accepted until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 15. Qualified applicants will be selected by lottery and notified of their application’s status on July 24.

A full list of guidelines is available on the foundation’s website.


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