Rockefeller Foundation Helps Boost Creative Sector With Its 2008 NYC Cultural Innovation Fund Awards

Nov 20, 2008, 13:38 ET from The Rockefeller Foundation

NEW YORK, Nov. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- The Rockefeller Foundation announced today the 2008 recipients of the Foundation's $2.7 million New York City Cultural Innovation Fund awards. The annual Fund, established last year, celebrates innovation in the creative sector through grants for trailblazing initiatives that strengthen the city's multi-faceted cultural fabric -- and its economy.

As the Center for an Urban Future noted in its 2005 "Creative New York" report, funded in part by the Rockefeller Foundation, the economic contributions of people working in the city's many creative industries -- from performing and visual arts to architecture, design, and advertising -- play a critical role in maintaining New York's competitive edge as a global cultural leader.

One way the New York City Cultural Innovation Fund helps maintain the diversity that fuels the city's artistic vitality is by recognizing hidden talent. For example, a grant to the Bronx Council on the Arts will showcase the work of young genre-mixing artists and arts-related entrepreneurs in the South Bronx. Another grant, to Chez Bushwick, will help a Brooklyn coalition stabilize a community by building new alliances among organizations ranging from local arts groups to real estate developers.

"The Rockefeller Foundation is proud to build on our extraordinary history of supporting cultural innovation and creative expression in our hometown," said Judith Rodin, the Foundation's President. "We believe there is an inextricable connection between cultural advances and social progress. These creative pioneers -- through their performances, new alliances, community events, and other visionary projects -- will help strengthen both."

This year's sixteen New York City Cultural Innovation Fund recipients were selected from a pool of more than 500 organizations that submitted proposals through the Rockefeller Foundation's Web site. Three prominent leaders from the fields of innovation and the arts served as advisors to the Fund:

  • Lowery Stokes Sims, Curator of the Museum of Arts & Design and former President of the Studio Museum in Harlem

  • David Thorpe, Senior Partner and Global Director of Innovation, Ogilvy Worldwide

  • Andrew Zolli, Founder, Z + Partners, a consulting firm specializing in analyzing cultural, technological, and global trends, and curator of the annual Pop!Tech Conference

The individual grants -- between $50,000 and $250,000 -- are awarded over a two-year period. To qualify, organizations must be based in New York City. Selected projects must fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • Programming and premieres of new artistic work that demonstrate innovation and can activate new directions in the artistic breadth and depth of institutions in the visual, performing, and media arts

  • Creative engagement with the issues shaping New York City's future cultural and civic agenda

  • Partnerships that bring cultural and community-based institutions together with universities and the private sector

  • Interventions designed to confront longstanding bottlenecks and limitations on the expansion of cultural vitality with fresh approaches and solutions

The New York City Cultural Innovation Fund builds on the Rockefeller Foundation's tradition of support for the arts. The Foundation has funded arts organizations and provided support for the formation of several of New York City's landmark cultural institutions, including Lincoln Center, the Museum of Modern Art, Creative Capital, and the Tribeca Film Institute.

The Rockefeller Foundation, established by John D. Rockefeller, Sr., in 1913, works around the world to ensure that the benefits and opportunities of globalization are spread more fully to more people in more places. Since 2005, the Foundation has launched major initiatives to strengthen global health systems, bolster resilience to climate change in poor communities, mobilize an agricultural revolution in Africa, rebuild New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, fortify the economic security of American working families, and shape more sustainable transportation policies in the United States.

For further information about the Rockefeller Foundation, or for details about applying for a 2009 New York City Cultural Innovation Fund grant, please visit

Recipients of the 2008 New York City Cultural Innovation Fund

3-Legged Dog, Inc., a creative incubator and high-tech digital production lab for theater

Alarm Will Sound, for Performance Beyond the Notes, a series of new multimedia chamber ensemble concerts

Bronx Council on the Arts, Inc., for premieres of genre-mixing new artists

Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, to partner with CEOs for Cities to build the Bronx creative sector

Chez Bushwick, Inc., for a new alliance of small businesses, arts organizations, and real estate developers

Creative Time, Inc., to support artists' work that inspires dialogue and social change

Downtown Community Television Center, Inc., for DCTW DOC HOUSE, a digital documentary cinema

Fractured Atlas Productions, Inc., to create new artist/resident partnerships for equitable and sustainable community development

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, to offer, for the first time, discount day-of-event tickets

Misnomer, Inc., for new technology to link dance companies with their audiences

New York Foundation for the Arts, for an online real estate directory of space for visual artists

New York Historical Society, for "Nueva York," an exhibition on the city's Spanish-speaking legacy, from 1624 to 2009

New York University Tisch School of the Arts, for a groundbreaking center for digital game research and design

Seventh Regiment Armory Conservancy, Inc. (Park Avenue Armory), for extremely large-scale visual and mixed media art projects

Performa, Inc., for a biennial arts festival and think tank about New York City's cultural future

Times Square District Management Association (Times Square Alliance), to engage Broadway in creating art and free performances in Times Square

SOURCE The Rockefeller Foundation