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2019 Creative Engagement grantee MICHIYAYA Dance Company. Photo: Sam Hershberger.
2019 Creative Engagement grantee MICHIYAYA Dance Company. Photo: Sam Hershberger.

Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Awards over $1.5 Million to Artists and Arts Organizations

The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) announced today that it has awarded more than $1.5 million in grants and residencies to 291 Manhattan-based artists and arts organizations. This year’s grant cycle marks a significant increase in the city’s support for the arts. It is offering more grants in 2019 than ever before, and the average award amount for individual artists has more than doubled since 2017.

“Individual artists are at the core of Manhattan’s cultural life, igniting a web of creativity throughout the city, and yet often lag behind organizations in building resource for their projects,” LMCC’s executive director of artist programs, Lili Chopra, said in a statement.

Recipients were chosen through four of the LMCC’s grant programs: Creative Engagement, which provides amounts of up to $9,000 to individual artists and organizations; Creative Learning, which awards grants for arts education and enrichment initiatives; UMEZ Arts Engagement; which gives up to $10,000 to artists and smaller arts organizations carrying out public-facing arts projects in Upper Manhattan; and SU-CASA, which places artists and cultural organizations at senior centers across the city.

Among the projects supported are concerts, performances, public art installations, exhibitions, screenings, festivals, workshops, and readings, including Blackberry Productions’ stage production My Harlem Tis of Thee, a documentary theater piece featuring personal stories about gentrification; XFR Collective’s exhibition “New Findings in 1970s Japanese Video Art: Works of Ko Nakajima and Video Earth Tokyo,” a curatorial project that focuses on the history of early Japanese video art and its relation to the 1970s independent media art movement; and MICHIYAYA Dance Company, Inc.’s performance “/wē/,” a collective study on gender identity, directed and choreographed by Anya Clarke and Mitsuko Verdery with live sound by slowdanger.

“The Department of Cultural Affairs is committed to supporting artists and helping them thrive in an ever-changing New York City,” said commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. “Congratulations to the 2019 LMCC grant recipients. We are proud to support such a diverse group of over two hundred grantees as part of a record high city investment in culture across the five boroughs, and we are eager to see the collective impact on New York’s vibrant cultural life in Manhattan and beyond.”

The grants are made possible through the LMCC’s partners and funders, which include New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation, and New York City’s Department for the Aging.