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New York Foundation for the Arts expands its mentoring programme for immigrant artists

With a grant from the Ford Foundation, the ten-year-old initiative will now help artists in Detroit, Newark, Oakland and San Antonio

An Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program meeting in June 2016 Judy Cai, courtesy NYFA

The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) has received a two-year grant from the Ford Foundation to expand the organisation’s Immigrant Artist Mentoring Programme to Detroit, Newark, Oakland and San Antonio. Since it was launched ten years ago, the programme, which partners artists with mentors and institutions that provide guidance and facilitate the exposure of their work, has been limited to New York-based immigrant artists.

“At a time of crisis and uncertainty for immigrant families and children, artists can be powerful leaders for social change, and [we] are proud to embrace artists and amplify their voices”, Margaret Morton, the programme officer of the Ford Foundation, said in a statement.

The new $300,000 grant benefits 144 immigrant artists across the US. Some past mentors include the multidisciplinary South Korean artist Kakyoing Lee, the Chilean artist Denise Treizman and the Brazilian artist Candida Borges. To qualify for the programme, applicants must reside in the target cities and not be enrolled in a graduate or undergraduate degree programme, and have been born outside of the US (although US territories are exempt from this rule).

Michael Royce, the executive director of NYFA, says that the institution is “thrilled at the community and professional successes that the programme has brought to these artists in the last ten years—many of these [artists] are already contributing to the cultural landscapes in their cities, and we aspire to work with them through a formalised, professional-guided mentoring programme that produces catalytic results for their communities”.

The first phase of the programme is being rolled out in Newark, where the foundation will collaborate with the Aljira Center for Contemporary Art and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, among other institutions, to organise a series of workshops. The application process is currently active, and will close on 30 October, with “boot camp” workshop to begin in December.