become an artist commissioning program artist

create new works for the American canon

Apply Below

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"In most artistic ventures, you don't have community engagement like this. It has changed me as a human being and an artist."

-Judith Sloan, 2017-18 Awardee in Playwrighting

about: reimagining the commissioning process

The Artist Commissioning Program (ACP) awards Queens-based choreographers, playwrights, and composers $10,000 each towards the creation of a new, original work. This program democratizes the traditional commissioning process, which has historically been reserved for a privileged few. Two things make ACP unique: 1) its aim to fill gaps in American culture, and 2) its format of pairing artists with a cohort of "art producers."

1. filling gaps in american culture

ACP's priority is to support artists who present a fresh perspective by creating work that tells untold stories, defies the cultural mainstream, privileges underrepresented identities, and/or speaks to the cultural diversity of Queens. By commissioning artists to materialize such works, the ACP aims to fill gaps in American culture by actively adding to the art historical canon. While artists are free to interpret this task as they wish, the idea is to create a more democratic cultural sector that is more inclusive of the diverse narratives, cultural backgrounds, and values associated with our borough and nation.

2. the role of the art producer

As an artist, you will be paired with a cohort of "art producers." These individuals are Queens-based community members and art lovers with a stake in the borough's cultural life. These art producers are tasked with selecting the artist awardees, and will be actively involved in your project's development from inception to completion. They will be a support system throughout the entire artistic process, doing things like helping find a project premiere venue, serving as a sound board for artistic ideas, and organizing events for you to showcase your work.
Want examples? Read about our 2017-18 art producers.

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the importance of neighborhoods: Jamaica & Flushing

Every year, ACP focuses on two Queens neighborhoods to enable artists & art producers to create art for their own communities. This year, the neighborhoods are Jamaica and Flushing. For this reason, programming will be largely concentrated in these two areas.


The following eligibility criteria apply to the Artist Commissioning Program:

  • ARTISTIC DISCIPLINE: Composers, playwrights, choreographers are eligible to apply

  • LOCATION: Artists must live in Queens

  • GEOGRAPHIC PREFERENCE: While all Queens-based artists will be considered and are encouraged to apply, preference will be given to residents of Jamaica and Flushing

  • AGE: Must be 21 years or older as of January 1, 2018

  • STUDENTS INELIGIBLE: Students are not eligible to apply

evaluation criteria

Local community members, or art producers, will be responsible for reviewing your work in a panel process. Successful artists will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated capacity to create new art that presents a fresh perspective by telling untold stories, defying the cultural mainstream, or privileging underrepresented identities

  • Artistic merit of submitted work samples

  • Quality and clarity of the proposed project

  • Overall project feasibility

  • Preference will be given to Jamaica and Flushing residents

Award Details

Four (4) artists will be chosen by a panel of ACP art producers who include community members, arts lovers and supporters. Each artist will receive a commission of $10,000 towards the creation of a new work, as well as support towards its premiere production. 

The $10,000 commission will cover: 

  • A professional fee: to compensate the artists for their time & creative labor

  • Performers’ fees: to compensate the artists' performers, such as actors, dancers, and musicians, for their time & creative labor

  • Other expenses: related to the creation of the work

World Premiere production of SHED by 2017-18 Awardee in Choreography Chuan Xie at Queens Botanical Garden; photo by Nathaniel Marsh

World Premiere production of SHED by 2017-18 Awardee in Choreography Chuan Xie at Queens Botanical Garden; photo by Nathaniel Marsh

additional Production Support:

In addition to the $10,000 commissioning fee, Queens Council on the Arts also supports the fees associated with: 

  • Events: As their projects are being developed, artists are invited to participate and/or organize monthly events, such as an open rehearsal or art salon, with their cohort of art producers. QCA will cover the expenses associated with these events.

  • Rehearsal and venue costs: QCA will cover the cost of venue rentals for the project premiere, as well as the rental fees associated with a dress rehearsal, if applicable. Artists will work with the Art Producers & QCA staff to select a venue that suits their work and artistic vision for the new work's world premiere.

  • Other expenses: related to the production of the work, such as equipment rental, marketing costs, event catering, etc

commission Deliverables

Successful artists will be required to deliver:

  1. Documentation of Commission: Deliver a completed dance, music score or theater script to Queens Council on the Arts by September 30, 2019.

  2. World Premiere Production: Orchestrate a World Premiere of their Artist Commissioning Program project by September 30, 2019. This event will be produced in conjunction with, and through the support of, the 2018-19 cohort of Art Producers and Queens Council on the Arts.

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  • The artists retain all copyright and intellectual property rights associated with their work

  • QCA retains the exclusive right to:

    • Present the premiere performance of the work in Queens

    • Be credited as the commissioner of the work in published editions, recordings, and programs of all future performances


  • August 15, 2018 Application opens

  • October 12, 2018 Application deadline

  • December 2018 Artist Notification

  • December 14, 2018 Artist Orientation & Kickoff Party

  • January – July 2019 Monthly events: Art Salons, Studio Visits, Artist Talks, & Professional Development Events

  • September 30, 2019 Deadline for Commission Deliverables: World Premiere & Documentation of Commission