Foundation for Contemporary Arts
Foundation for Contemporary Arts (FCA), originally known as Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, is a nonprofit based foundation in New York City founded by artists Jasper Johns, John Cage, Elaine de Kooning and others in 1963. FCA offers financial support and recognition to contemporary performing and visual artists through awards for artistic innovation and potential. Today, FCA supports artists creating contemporary and ground-breaking work in all disciplines through four grant programs.
FCA was founded in an effort to support performance artists through grants funded by the sale of donated artworks. The model was "Artists for Artists" as visual artists united to create the first benefit exhibition at the Allan Stone Gallery in support of their performance arts counterparts in 1963. Among early contributors to the Foundation's first benefit exhibition were Marcel Duchamp, Ellsworth Kelly, Willem de Kooning, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, Saul Steinberg, and Andy Warhol. Today, over 750 visual artists have donated works through twelve benefit exhibitions in support of the Foundation’s mission since that time.
Since its establishment, FCA has awarded more than 500 non-restrictive grants to individual artists and art organizations through its four grant programs: Grants to Artists, Grants to Organizations, Emergency Grants, and the biennial John Cage Award.
In the early 1960s, at a time when visual and performing artists were in constant collaboration, FCA founders - along with Robert Rauschenberg and other visual artists - assisted Merce Cunningham and his dance company in his plan for a week of dance performances at a Broadway theater. In order to finance the performances, the benefit exhibition, the first of its kind, was organized at the Allan Stone Gallery. The benefit exhibition turned out to be a great success. Unfortunately, Cunningham's performances were not realized and the funds raised were then used to support the Cunningham company's world tour in 1964. Cunningham supported the notion that other performance artists that were "in the same boat" as he put it would continue to receive grants. Earlier grants had been given already to composers Earle Brown and Morton Feldman to support a concert of their music presented at The Town Hall in New York (October 1963). Grants were also given to the Bread and Puppet Theatre, choreographer Merle Marsicano, the Judson Memorial Church, and the Paper Bag Players.
In 1966, a lecture series given by Norman O. Brown, Peter Yates, Buckminster Fuller, Merce Cunningham, Harold Rosenberg and Marshall McLuhan was held at the 92nd Street Y. A performance series, Nine Evenings: Theater and Engineering based on collaborations between engineers from Bell Telephone Laboratories and performing artists was held at the 69th Regiment Armory with FCA's support. Today the FCA continues to recognize public events and benefit exhibitions as an integral part of its mission.
FCA has many works available for sale. Funds raised go directly to supporting grant programs. Past exhibitions include:
- Fund-raising exhibition of paintings and sculptures, Allan Stone Gallery, 1963
- "Drawings, 1965," Leo Castelli; Tibor de Nagy Gallery; Kornblee Gallery, 1965
- Print exhibition, Kornblee Gallery, 1967
- "Drawings," Leo Castelli, 1980
- "Eight Lithographs," Leo Castelli, 1981
- "25th Anniversary Exhibition," Brooke Alexander; Leo Castelli, 1988
- "30th Anniversary Exhibition of Drawings," Leo Castelli, 1993
- "Prints," Brooke Alexander Gallery, 1995
- "Drawings & Photographs," Matthew Marks Gallery, 2000
- "Young Artists," Bortolami Dayan, 2006
- "Posters," Paula Cooper, 2006
- "Photographic Works," Cohan and Leslie, 2008
FCA has operated continuously since the 1960s. In 1993, the Directors of the Foundation chose to provide more significant sums to artists by awarding fewer, more substantial grants to individuals and groups by a nomination process only. Since then, FCA has operated four main programs: Grants to Artists, Emergency Grants, Grants to Organizations and John Cage Award.
Grants to Artists
As FCA's core program, Grants to Artists awards unrestricted grants of $25,000 each to artists who demonstrate exceptional innovation and creativity. This program represents roughly 70% of FCA's total program disbursements and has awarded more than $3.5 million to support 155 artists and collective groups since 1993. Grant recipients are chosen through a confidential nomination and selection process. Each year, FCA invites a group of distinguished artists and art professionals to nominate individuals anonymously. Nominators are asked to propose artists for whom they feel an FCA award would make a substantial and timely impact. After nominations and work samples have been collected, a panel of artists and arts professionals meets to review nominees and select grantees. Through this process, grantees are both proposed and selected by peers who are able to recognize merit and artistic innovation as well as need. Grants to Artists is an uncommon and significant program that supports the creative process and assists in the realization of many artistic projects throughout the country and abroad.
Emergency Grants provide speedy funding for "emerging" visual and performing artists who have sudden opportunities to present their work to the public or unexpected expenses for projects underway. Grants are awarded monthly to defray the costs of travel, performer's fees, equipment, materials and various other costs associated with mounting exhibitions or productions. Awards generally range in amount from $500 to $2,000 and, although small, have a tremendous impact by enabling artists to seize professional opportunities, present work more fully and, in many instances, leverage additional funding. Without this program, artists often have to cancel their projects or rely on assistance subject to more formal application processes and longer wait periods. Emergency Grants is the only active, multi-disciplinary program that offers immediate assistance of this kind to artists working anywhere in the country. To respond to the demand for immediate-needs funding - applicants have increased sevenfold since 2005 - FCA has doubled their Emergency Grants program distributions from $18,000 in 2004 to $36,000 in 2008. Despite this increase, demand continues to outpace program growth; the 2009 budget has increased to $40,000. $16,400 in support has already been committed by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the Milton & Sally Avery Arts Foundation.
Grants to Organizations
Grants to Organizations assists presenting and artist support organizations throughout the country. Each year, numerous grants ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 are awarded to innovative small- and mid-size organizations. Through this program, FCA is able to help support the infrastructure necessary to ensure the presentation of new work by a broad range of contemporary performing and visual artists. Grantees are selected annually by FCA's Board of Directors. In 2009, with a budget of $50,000, FCA will provide project and general support to approximately fifty arts organizations.
John Cage Award
The biennial John Cage Award honors the late composer and FCA co-founder with a prestigious $50,000 grant to an individual who has made outstanding achievements in contemporary performing arts. The recipient is selected by FCA's Board of Directors from invited nominations. Past recipients include: Paul Kaiser, Charles Atlas, David Behrman, Robert Ashley, Gordon Mumma, Earle Brown, Christian Wolff, Takehisa Kosugi and David Tudor.
Recent grant recipients
- Grants to individual Artists
- Kevin Drumm - Music/Sound
- Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys - Visual Arts
- Deborah Hay - Dance
- Ryan McNamara - Visual Arts
- Jodi Melnick - Dance
- Curtis Mitchell - Visual Arts
- Dona Nelson - Visual Arts
- David Neumann - Dance
- Alix Pearlstein - Theater/Performance Art
- Katie Peterson - Poetry
- Raha Raissnia - Visual Arts
- Steve Roden - Music/Sound
- Marina Rosenfeld - Music/Sound
- Michael Webster - Music/Sound
- John Cage Award
- Grants to Individual Artists
- Grants to Individual Artists
- Mick Barr - Music/Sound
- Glenn Branca - Music/Sound
- Elevator Repair Service / John Collins - Performance Art/Theater
- John Godfrey - Poetry
- Maria Hassabi - Dance
- Klara Liden - Visual Arts
- Paul Etienne Lincoln - Visual Arts
- Ruth Maleczech - Performance Art/Theater
- David Meltzer - Poetry
- Gedi Sibony - Visual Arts
- Foofwa d’Imobilité - Dance
- Guido van der Werve - Visual Arts
- John Cage Award
- Paul Kaiser
- Grants to Individual Artists
- Kimberly Bartosik - Dance
- Tamy Ben-Tor - Performance Art/Theater
- Annie Gosfield - Music/Sound
- Cameron Jamie - Visual Arts
- Wang Jianwei - Performance Art/Theater
- Paul Kaiser - John Cage Award
- Ron Kuivila - Music/Sound
- Ohad Meromi - Visual Arts
- Sarah Michelson - Dance
- Charles North - Poetry
- Elizabeth Robinson - Poetry
- Allison Smith - Visual Arts
- Yasuko Yokoshi - Dance