Author: Kimberly Olsen

ROUNDTABLE MEMBERS: Shape the Future Leadership of the Roundtable (in under 10 minutes!)

The NYC Arts in Education Roundtable invites your ideas for candidates to serve on the Roundtable Board of Directors. Board members take responsibility for the fiduciary health of the organization, the hiring of executive staff, determining the strategic direction of the organization, and maintaining a focus on the mission. We strive to see that our board of up to 27 represents the disciplines, geography, organization types, races, genders, and abilities of our diverse field. (more…)


For Immediate Release: December 20, 2019

Contact: Ryan Max / Annie Leist,, 212-513-9323

Grants are part of City’s largest-ever $212 million arts and culture expense budget, which also includes funding for members of the Cultural Institutions Group and CreateNYC initiatives.

See the full list of grantees here.

New York, NY – The NYC Department of Cultural Affairs has announced $51.3 million in grants for to support public cultural programming at 985 organizations across New York City as part of its fiscal year 2020 annual funding cycle. The funds support groups working in a vast range of disciplines, serving audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Together, the hundreds of cultural organizations receiving this support form the backbone of New York City’s vibrant cultural life. The total includes funding set aside for underserved communities and major new investments in nonprofits that directly support individual artists working throughout the city. The agency continues to prioritize funding equity for culture in every corner of NYC and support for goals outlined in the CreateNYC cultural plan.

“Congratulations to this year’s Cultural Development Fund recipients, who represent our city’s artistic heart and soul,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been. “I want to thank Commissioner Finkelpearl and the City Council for supporting our mission to improve diversity and inclusion. With today’s announcement, nearly 1,000 cultural institutions will be able to enrich and expand their cultural programming in diverse communities across the city.”

“We are honored to announce the recipients of this year’s Cultural Development Fund, a historic allotment of public dollars to support the breathtaking diversity and range of NYC’s cultural sector,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. “This represents another record-setting investment in NYC’s cultural life as part of a budget shaped by our values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We thank the Mayor and the City Council for their collaboration in helping this agency support our city’s cultural life at record levels. This includes direct funding for historically marginalized groups, dramatically increased support for artists, and broad-based investment that allows every resident to connect with and benefit from New York’s unparalleled opportunities for creative expression and cultural enrichment.”

“The City Council is proud to support culture and the arts in all five boroughs and we are firmly committed to the idea that our city’s unmatched cultural scene should be enjoyable and accessible for all New Yorkers,” said New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson. “I was proud to fight alongside my colleagues for funding in this year’s budget to give our cultural organizations the support they need to thrive. The Council will continue to support arts and culture in New York City and we encourage New Yorkers and tourists alike to take advantage of the amazing offerings our cultural institutions provide.”

“Arts and culture are worth fighting for,” said New York City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, Chair of the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries, and International Intergroup Relations. “I have always believed we must invest in culture. The support for public programming has always been a necessity. This funding will keep restaurants and other small businesses that support the arts alive.”

The $51.3 million in fiscal year 2020 cultural program funding includes:

  • $28.5 million included in the agency’s budget for the Cultural Development Fund (CDF), awarded through a competitive, peer panel review process.
  • $9.4 million added by the Mayor and distributed to all CDF recipients, with larger proportional increases for smaller organizations.
  • $5.8 million from the City Council in the form of member item discretionary awards to over 260 groups.
  • $3.9 million for organizations providing direct support to NYC’s working artists and emerging cultural nonprofits.
  • $2.5 million for CDF recipients located in neighborhoods identified by the Social Impact of the Arts Project’s report “Culture and Social Wellbeing in New York City.”
  • $1.25 million in energy subsidies for 12 nonprofits on DLCA-administered property.

63% growth in cultural funding

This year’s $51.3 million in program funding represents a $20 million increase over fiscal year 2014, more than 63% over the course of the de Blasio Administration.

As part of this growth in support, a group of 12 nonprofits on DCLA property will also have their energy expenses paid for this year. These diverse organizations are community cornerstones in neighborhoods across the city, from Harlem Stage to BRIC to Bronx River Art Center. This new funding stream was first established in fiscal year 2017.

Every organization applying for CDF funding is required to address their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in their application materials, part of DCLA’s ongoing efforts to ensure that New York City’s cultural community better reflects and engages residents from all backgrounds.

Increased support for NYC’s artists

This year’s record investment includes increased funding for organizations that provide direct grants and support to individual artists, collectives, and smaller cultural organizations. This funding has increased fourfold since fiscal year 2015, from less than $1 million to nearly $4 million in fiscal year 2020. As affordability continues to pose major challenges to NYC’s creative community, this funding has become a critical source of support for artists who live and work in the five boroughs.

Largest budget in agency history reinforces CreateNYC priorities

The $212 million Cultural Affairs budget for the 2020 fiscal year is the largest-ever City allocation for the agency, even when adjusted for inflation. In addition to funding for public arts and culture programming, the agency’s expense budget includes operating and energy support for the 33 members of the Cultural Institutions Group. In addition, significant funding is dedicated to ongoing programs that have grown from CreateNYC recommendations, including the CreateNYC Disability Forward Fund, the CreateNYC Leadership Accelerator, the CUNY Cultural Corps, and the Mayor’s Grant for Cultural Impact. A new addition this year is the CreateNYC Language Access Fund, a competitive grant program for organizations providing programs that serve New Yorkers whose primary language is not English.

CreateNYC, New York City’s first-ever comprehensive cultural plan released in July 2017, integrated feedback from nearly 200,000 New Yorkers as well as a range of research. The priorities and commitments made in the plan have shaped how more than $1 billion in cultural funding has been distributed in the last three City budgets. In 2019, the agency released the CreateNYC Action Plan, which streamlines the original 90+ recommendations into five overarching objectives and provides greater transparency around progress toward the goals of the cultural plan.

“The DCLA’s Cultural Development Fund will support over 900 community organizations with a whopping $49 million in grants for fiscal year 2020,” said New York City Council Majority Leader Laurie A. Cumbo. “My district serves as a cultural hub for Central Brooklyn, and with the largest arts and culture budget to date set at $212 million, I could not be more excited for this amazing opportunity for equity within arts and culture to thrive across our city.”

“Queens is home to a diverse array of outstanding cultural institutions that contribute to a vibrant arts and entertainment scene that helps make our borough such a great place to live and visit,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “The grants awarded to Queens cultural institutions in fiscal year 2020 reflect the extraordinary cultural breadth of Queens and will enable these organizations to better serve ‘The World’s Borough.'”

“Our cultural sector makes New York one of the most vibrant and dynamic cities in the world,” said New York State Senator José M. Serrano. “As Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Affairs, I have seen firsthand the revitalizing and transformative effect of cultural programming and arts education on our communities. This investment will support the work of hundreds of smaller cultural organizations as well as individual artists, making the benefits of the arts more accessible in neighborhoods across the city. I commend Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Finkelpearl, and my colleagues in the City Council for their continued commitment to the arts.”

“Thank you to the Mayor and City Council for this record investment in our collective cultural vitality, affirming just how much New York City comes truly alive through our rich creative stew of incredible artists, peerless arts organizations, and the many New Yorkers they engage each and every day. This is the kind of impactful cultural investment that our diverse and dynamic city deserves,” said Kemi Ilesanmi, Executive Director of The Laundromat Project and Chair of the Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission.

“The newly-launched CreateNYC Action Plan demonstrates how growing support for New York City’s cultural community has made powerful impact across the city,” said Ben Rodriguez-Cubenas, Chair of the CreateNYC Citizens’ Advisory Committee. “From record levels of funding for artists living and working in all five boroughs, to the new Language Access Fund for arts programming aimed at the many New Yorkers who speak languages other than English, the City’s cultural budget represents both long-term stability and exciting new investments, all supporting the recommendations put forth in CreateNYC. Congratulations and thank you to everyone who made it possible.”

“With additional grant funds from DCLA, we were able to fund more art community projects more fully,” said Viviana Bianchi, Executive Director, Bronx Council on the Arts. “This increased funding will also allow us to award more BRIOs (Bronx Recognizes Its Own awards) to even more artists. We are very grateful for this increased support, and hope that funding continues at this level or higher in the years ahead so that BCA can continue strengthening the cultural ecosystem of the Bronx.”

“Staten Island Arts is grateful to the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and to City Council for another expansion of funding for the local arts councils,” said Staten Island Arts Executive Director Elizabeth Bennett. “We were thrilled that the fiscal year 2020 funding awarded for our own cultural and equity work—as well as the funding to regrant at the local level—has achieved an historic high in the 27-year history of Staten Island Arts. The fiscal year 20 increase supports our organization’s continued growth of grassroots-based community engagement activities in order to insure access to cultural funding for all Staten Islanders. We share the local residents’ excitement about participating in the projects that will be made possible with DCLA support in the upcoming year!”

“LMCC is honored to receive the significant increase in funds from the Department of Cultural Affairs, whose partnership provides critical access to City funds for individual artists, and strengthens our shared commitment to equity in arts funding. LMCC’s re-grant programs directly support artists working in wide ranging areas, and include events, festivals, workshops, performances and experiences that we see energizing our local communities throughout the year. We are thrilled that the partnership between LMCC and DCLA continues to grow and nurture this urgent work,” said Lili Chopra, Executive Director, Artistic Programs, and Diego S. Segalini, Executive Director, Finance & Administration, both of Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

“Brooklyn Arts Council is proud of this record level of investment from our trusted partners at DCLA,” said Charlotte A. Cohen, Executive Director of Brooklyn Arts Council. “Through this support, we can ensure that the individual artists and local arts organizations throughout our borough are empowered to create their work, make their visions a reality, and share it with our communities.”

“QCA is grateful for the continued support from the NYC Mayor’s Office, City Council and the Department of Cultural Affairs,” said Queens Council on the Arts Executive Director Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer. “Another year of increased funding will help us to continue supporting local artists and organizations in Queens – to create new work and host cultural programs with the goal to provide open and equal access to the arts for audiences in all communities of Queens. We appreciate our city partners’ commitment to arts and culture and we look forward to using these funds to contribute to the cultural vibrancy of the borough and the city as a whole.”

About NYC Department of Cultural Affairs

The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) is dedicated to supporting and strengthening New York City’s vibrant cultural life. DCLA works to promote and advocate for quality arts programming and to articulate the contribution made by the cultural community to the City’s vitality. The Department represents and serves nonprofit cultural organizations involved in the visual, literary, and performing arts; public-oriented science and humanities institutions including zoos, botanical gardens, and historic and preservation societies; and creative artists at all skill levels who live and work within the City’s five boroughs. DCLA also provides donated materials for arts programs offered by the public schools and cultural and social service groups, and commissions permanent works of public art at City-funded construction projects throughout the five boroughs. Visit for more information.


MARQUIS STUDIOS ANNOUNCES OPENING OF ART EXHIBITION: An inclusive exhibition featuring artwork by NYC students of all abilities

Figure 1 I New Amsterdam to New York City by P993Q @ Frank Sinatra School of the Arts

(December 6, 2019 – Brooklyn, NY) Marquis Studios, a non-profit art education organization proudly announces A Year in Pictures: Celebrating NYC History, an art exhibition featuring multimedia art from the 2020 Marquis Studios Calendar competition and artwork from Marquis Studios’ residencies created by students with disabilities. (more…)

T(A)hanksgiving: What are NYC Teaching Artists Thankful for This Holiday Season?

Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2019

As we all take a collective moment to catch our arts education breaths, members of the Roundtable Teaching Artist Affairs Committee would like to share a few things we are thankful for.

Continue to the conversation by sharing what YOU are thankful for on the Teaching Artists of New York City Facebook group!


New York State Council on the Arts Awards NYC Arts in Education Roundtable $42,000

Kimberly Olsen, Managing Director
NYC Arts in Education Roundtable
(212) 642-5979

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 22, 2019


New York State Council on the Arts Grants Support Vital Cultural Programs Statewide

New York, NY— NYC Arts in Education Roundtable today announced that it has been awarded a $42,000 grant from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) for FY2020 with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. NYSCA grants support the transformative impact of the performing, literary, visual and media arts in New York State. (more…)

The NYC Arts in Education Roundtable Elects Six New Board Members

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                             

July 10, 2019

NEW YORK, NY – The New York City Arts in Education Roundtable is pleased to announce the election of six new members to the Roundtable’s Board of Directors: Ronald Alexander, Traci Lester, Toya Lillard, Ayodele Oti, Karen Sam, and Mi Ryung Song.

“The Roundtable is thrilled to have this wonderful class of experienced and talented leaders join our Board of Directors this year,” said Jennifer DiBella, Board Co-Chair, NYC Arts in Education Roundtable. “We know that their demonstrated commitment to arts and community education will advance the work of our vibrant community. We look forward to their long-term impact on the Roundtable and field at large.”

Please click here for a complete list of the Roundtable’s Board of Directors.


Meet Our New Board Members

Ronald K. Alexander is an independent arts consultant, dance educator, and choreographer. He has performed with companies such as the National Ballet of Canada, the Iranian National Ballet, the Frankfurt and Hamburg Ballet Companies, and the Metropolitan Opera Ballet in New York City. He has choreographed for numerous schools, colleges and dance companies including the Hamburg Ballet, Clark Center for the Performing Arts, The Ailey School, the Harlem School of the Arts, Boys and Girls Harbor Conservatory, the Alpha- Omega Theatrical Dance Company, and the Nanette Bearden Dance Company.

From 1994-2002, Ronald K. was a certified dance instructor with the NY Department of Education. He has held administrative and artistic positions in the following public, private and not-for-profit venues: Chairman of the Dance Department of the Harlem School of the Arts, New York (1987-92) under Betty Allen; Principal of the High School for Contemporary Arts, Bronx, NY (2003-05); and School Administrator at the Dance Theatre of Harlem,New York (2005-07) under Arthur Mitchell. He has studied the American Ballet Theatre School Training Curriculum (Primary to Level Five) under Franco DeVita and Raymond Lukens, the Vaganova Ballet Training Method (Primary to Level Three) under John White, and the New York City Ballet Workout.

Mr. Alexander has an MFA in Dance from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and a certificate in School Supervision and Administration from the City College of New York. He has served as the Academic Principal of the Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts (2008-2011) as well as a faculty member. His choreography credits include A Chorus Line (2009) and Titanic (2011) at New England’s Warner Theatre. Mr. Alexander was the subject of Five Teachers, Five Venues, a 2011 article in Dance Teacher Magazine. He is currently the Director of Education at the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Youth Arts Academy in Brooklyn, NY and teaches ballet the Ailey School, the Joffrey School New York, the French Academie of Ballet and Peridance Capezio Center.


Traci Lester is Executive Director of National Dance Institute (NDI) an arts education organization founded by New York City Ballet principal dancer Jacques d’Amboise in the belief that the arts have a unique power to engage all children and motivate them toward excellence. Prior to NDI, Ms. Lester served as the Chief Executive Officer of LSA Family Health Service (LSA), an East Harlem-based human services agency. Before joining LSA, she was the Executive Director of Reach Out and Read of Greater New York, an early literacy, school readiness program, where she served for over a decade making waves in the field of early childhood development.

Most recently, Ms. Lester was recognized by the Manhattan Borough President as a Cultural Leader in New York City (2018). She is the recipient of the American Association of University Women’s Selected Professions Fellowship (1998), the National Association of Health Service Executive’s Community Service Award (2004), and was named to TheGrio’s 100 List as an African-American history maker and industry leader in the field of education (2012). She is also a member of the Greater New York Association of Fundraising Professionals and the American Society for Public Administrators Pi Alpha Alpha Honor Society.

She earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, a Master of Business Administration from Rutgers University, a Master of Public Administration from California State University and holds a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Columbia University’s Institute for Nonprofit Management. (Photo credit: Eduardo


Toya Lillard is Executive Director of viBe Theater Experience. A native Houstonian, Toya graduated from Houston’s High School for Performing and Visual Arts. She has directed plays, developed curricula, led advocacy efforts and implemented innovative teaching artist training programs both in and out of our city’s schools. Prior to joining viBe, Toya served as Director of School Programs for The New York Philharmonic’s Education Department, where she helped to develop its nationally recognized School Partnership Program. In addition to leading viBe Theater Experience, Toya is also part-time faculty at The New School, where she teaches Global Dramatic Literature, Devised Theatre, and Portfolio 1. Toya is also an adjunct professor at CUNY CityTech, where she teaches Black Theater. Toya holds a B.A. from Vassar College, and an M.A. from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. Toya serves on the Board of the New York City Arts in Education Roundtable, and is an Affiliate Representative on the Board of the Downtown Brooklyn Arts Alliance.


Ayo Oti, SHRM-CP is a certified human resources professional who enjoys creating impact through strategy and operations. Her experience spans from working in startup environments to establish key processes around data management and human resource operations, to working within more established programs to bring entrepreneurial insights to the management of existing projects. She has worked in a variety of sectors and across different functional areas.

In 2016, Ayo was part of the launch team for the CUNY Cultural Corps initiative that provided paid internship experiences for CUNY students and alumni at various cultural institutions, thanks to the Department of Cultural Affairs and The Rockefeller Foundation.  While not currently working in the cultural sector, Ayo is a patron of museums and performing arts organizations. She is currently an Apollo Young Patron and part of the Alvin Ailey Young Patrons Circle. She is excited to learn from, and contribute to, NYCAiER as an At-large board member.


Karen Sam, a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, has worked at several international firms. Currently, she writes on the law of taxation. She is also an accomplished amateur musician.





As Executive Director of Decoda since 2017, Mi Ryung Song leads structural growth strategies to expand the NYC-based chamber music collective’s performance, civic engagement, and artist training initiatives around the world. Her previous roles included fundraising at the San Francisco Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, artistic planning at New York City Opera, strategic planning at the League of American Orchestras, and special projects at The Cleveland Orchestra, Aspen Music Festival and School, among others. Motivated early on by the unique role of artists to broaden community access to the arts, her first job supported a range of programs managed by the Office of Educational Outreach at The Juilliard School. Prior to a career in arts management, she earned her B.M. in flute performance at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Born in South Korea, she grew up on the US west coast and currently lives in Lower Manhattan in New York City.


About the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable

The New York City Arts in Education Roundtable improves, advances, and advocates for arts education in New York City. We are a community of organizations and individuals that shares information, provides professional development, and communicates with the public to promote our work in schools and beyond. Founded in 1992, the Roundtable produces a major annual conference, Face to Face; monthly professional development programs; a destination website; and other activities, in addition to ongoing advocacy and communications efforts for over 1,000 individuals and member organizations.

For more information please visit:

Social Justice Workshops from Seachange Collective

Incorporating Gender & Sexuality Into Social Justice Work **NEW WORKSHOP**

June 7 , 2019, 9am-5pm, hosted at Synergos, Midtown Manhattan, NYC

Join our gender & sexuality workshop to go beyond the basics of inclusion, to incorporate a more complex understanding of sex, gender, and sexuality in non-profit programs, community organizing, and everyday life. We’ll explore what the buzzwords really mean, and how these aspects of our identity intersect with different forms of oppression. You’ll gain theory and practical tools to incorporate a holistic gender justice lens to program design, implementation, and beyond.

Register by May 17 for 15% off!

>>> Click here to learn more: Seachange Collective Gender & Sexuality Workshop <<<


Grounded Program Design: Incorporating Anti-Oppression Approaches to Social Justice

June 10, 2019, 9am-5pm, hosted at Civic Hall, Chelsea, NYC

How can we effectively “do good” in our non-profit programs, school activities, community organizing, and lives? How can we ensure that our good intentions aren’t reinforcing inequality and injustice? This interactive,1-day workshop will introduce you to the 6 steps of Grounded Program design and give you tools to build programs based in community needs and justice – rather than assumed knowledge and charity.

Register by May 17 for 15% off!

>>> Click here to learn more: Seachange Collective Grounded Program Design Workshop <<<