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New York Mayor’s Office Awards $2 Million in Funding to Female-Led Arts Projects

New York Mayor’s Office Awards $2
Antoine Braxton 2018

The New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment today announced that it has awarded a total of $2 million to 94 projects in music, theatre, film and digital media projects led by artists who identify as women or are coming from a female perspective. The grants, designed to help the artists complete their projects, are the second round of the NYC Women’s Fund for Media, Music and Theatre.

The NYC Women’s Fund is an initiative intended to address the underrepresentation of women in film, music, digital media and theatre, according to the announcement. It is a $5.5 million, three-year program funded by MOME and administered by New York Foundation for the Arts. New York is the first city in the country to provide direct grants to women working in these industries. During the Fund’s first round last year, MOME awarded a total of $1.5 million to 63 film, digital and theatre projects, up to $50,000 per project (recipients are pictured above).

With the addition of music to the list of eligible categories, the statement continues, MOME is “further increasing its efforts to target gender inequity in stubbornly male-dominated industries.” One recent report from the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative found that from 2013-2019, just 10% of Grammy nominees were women, and from 2012-2018 only 22% of artists, 12% of songwriters and 2% of producers of 700 popular songs from the Hot 100 year-end Billboard Charts were female.

“Women are more than half of the population, but they are still woefully underrepresented in music, theatre, film, and digital media industries,” said NYC Media and Entertainment Commissioner Anne del Castillo. “We are proud to have increased the number of awardees by 50%, as we tackle gender equity head on by helping female-identified artists get their projects over the finish line.

“Last year, only 20% of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers working on the top 100 grossing films were women,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been. “New York City is the media capital of the world, and we have a responsibility to address inequality not only in the film industry, but also in music, theater and digital media.  Congratulations to this year’s grant recipients, I cannot wait for their works to debut.”

MOME awarded grants to projects in the following categories:

  • 20 Popular Music – up to $20,000
  • 15 Classical/Jazz/Experimental – – up to $20,000
    • 673 total music projects applied, making it the largest category of applicants
  • 16 Theatre Productions– each received up to $50,000
    • 341 theatre projects applied, 2ndlargest category after music
  • 8 Documentary Features – each received up to $50,000
  • 4 Fiction Features– each received up to $50,000
  • 9 Fiction Shorts– each received up to $25,000
  • 8 Documentary Shorts– each received up to $25,000
  • 7 Fiction Webisode / Webseries– each received up to $20,000
  • 7 Documentary Webisodes / Webseries– each received up to $20,000

The projects selected cover a range of topics and genres including: a bilingual album that includes women’s voices in the Mexican and American folk genres; an EP that combines afrobeat, jazz fusion, and afro house music with lyrics that address female empowerment; a theatre production about an Iranian-American woman’s anti-war dinner party that goes off track; a documentary webseries that follows the lives of five people through the world of dance; a fiction short about two Puerto Rican women from the Bronx who go on a dangerous Las Vegas adventure; and a fiction feature film about family, survival and sexual assault

“We’re thrilled to once again partner with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment on the NYC Women’s Fund for Media, Music and Theatre, and are honored to help support projects that reflect the voices and perspectives of all who identify as women as the administrator of this important fund,” said Michael L. Royce, Executive Director, NYFA. “We’re especially excited that music recordings or videos are being recognized this year, which increases the fund’s depth and impact into new creative spaces,” he added.

In total, 1,357 applications were evaluated by a panel of 48 industry experts including: Betsy Morais, Managing Editor, Columbia Journalism Review; Lana Lin, Associate Professor, Film Theory and Digital Cinema, The New School; Viktoria IV King, director, writer and actress; Easmaine Michel, director, writer and curator, Immigrant Festival NYWIFT; Lucy Mukerjee, Senior Programmer, Tribeca Enterprises; Efe Kabba, director, producer, writer, editor; Suzette Porte, Manager, Plan Services, Society of Stage Director and Choreographers; Miya Masaoka, Director, Sound Art Program, Columbia University; Suzzy Roche, singer/songwriter; and Jennifer Justice, music and live entertainment executive.

The full list of projects that received awards and panelists can be found here. For a complete listing of the guidelines for the grants, click here.