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About NYFA Source
Need assistance with NYFA Source? Contact us at NYFA Source Hotline: [email protected] or (800)232-2789 (Mon-Fri, 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM EST)

The roots of NYFA Source began over a dozen years ago as an idea of the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation. In October 1990, the Foundation created and launched a new program called the Visual Artist Information Hotline, which was conceived by the foundation's Artists Advisory Committee, whose members include artists Cynthia Carlson, Chuck Close, Janet Fish, Philip Pearlstein, Harriet Shorr, Robert Storr and art historian/critic Irving Sandler. The Hotline was intended to empower artists by providing them with complete and accurate information about resources that will facilitate their artistic work.

From 1990-1996, the Hotline was housed at the American Council for the Arts (ACA). During its first five years of operation at the Council, the Hotline responded to over 20,000 calls from artists nationwide. In March 1996, operation of the Hotline was transferred to the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA).

From 1996-2002, the Hotline expanded greatly. During this time, the Hotline extended its live hours of operation, and, in 1999, made its information available online for the first time on NYFA's web site. As a direct result, the Hotline's annual usage grew from approximately 4,000 artists per year in 1996 to over 38,000 in 2002.

By fall 2000, NYFA's Visual Artist Information Hotline was the most comprehensive resource of its kind in the country. This fact brought it to the attention of the Washington, D.C.-based Urban Institute (UI) as they began their two-year study Investing in Creativity. UI recognized that, while artists are an important creative force in American life, there was no comprehensive picture of how they are supported. A key element in determining this picture was to create a database documenting all of the current support mechanisms available to artists.

During 2001-2002, UI worked with NYFA, as well as Carnegie Mellon University's Center for Arts Management and Technology, to create the new NYFA Source database. Built upon the foundation of the former Hotline's resources, the new database was conceived with several new features in mind. First, it was expanded to include programs serving artists working in all disciplines. Second, it was built as an online database allowing artists and other users to access customized, up-to-the-minute information 24 hours a day. And finally, it was built to enable funders and researchers to acquire information about patterns and trends in artists’ support. In creating NYFA Source, NYFA researched and interviewed more than 3,000 arts organizations operating over 6,400 programs nationwide. This vast amount of information was made available to the arts community when NYFA Source was launched on NYFA's new web site, NYFA Interactive, on November 8, 2002.

Today, NYFA continues to research and update information in NYFA Source, which continues to promote the mission of NYFA's former Hotline to "empower artists by providing them with complete and accurate information about resources that will facilitate their artistic work." Additionally, as part of NYFA Source’s ongoing development, UI will regularly produce analytical reports about the patterns of support represented in the database. These reports will enable the arts field to monitor trends over time.

Support for NYFA Source is provided by: The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.Basil H. AlkazziFord FoundationLily Auchincloss Foundation, The Liman Foundation, The Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation, The Merrill G. & Emita E. Hastings Foundation, National Endowment for the ArtsThe Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Inc., and Virginia Manheimer. 

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