Support for Free Performances in NYC Neighborhood Parks, Plazas and Gardens

Thanks to generous support from the New York Community Trust and Con Edison’s Arts Alfresco Series, the new GREEN / ARTS LIVE NYC program will provide microgrants, subsidized production support, and other guidance to ensure that our city’s most under-resourced communities have the opportunity to benefit from free performances in their neighborhood parks, plazas and community gardens this summer and fall.


GREEN / ARTS LIVE NYC is designed to equitably provide financial, consulting and production support to NYC artists, arts groups, cultural, and community-based organizations, and volunteer stewardship groups throughout the five boroughs, who require experienced support and infrastructure needed to present, perform, and produce cultural programs outdoors, in local parks, plazas and community gardens. We hope that grantees will build partnerships that create long-term relationships within the community to continue programming beyond the scope of this funding.

This program will provide:

  • Grants for artist fees, materials, marketing, permit fees and liability insurance
  • In-kind production and equipment support in the form of supplies, furniture, and staffing for:
    • Performing and interactive multimedia arts programs and events
    • Workshops or art activities


Applications have closed. Winners will be notified in late June 2021.


If you are a current or past applicant you can access your applications by clicking the button below.

Applicant Portal Access

Read our press release here.


The New York Community Trust LogoCon Edison Arts Al Fresco logo

Program Partners

  • City Parks Foundation (CPF)

    City Parks Foundation is dedicated to invigorating and transforming parks into dynamic, vibrant centers of urban life through sports, arts, community development, and education programs for all New Yorkers. Its annual SummerStage Festival brings free performances to parks around the city.

  • Horticultural Society of New York (The Hort)

    The mission of The Hort is to sustain the vital connection between people and plants. The Hort’s social service and public programs educate and inspire, growing a broad community that values horticulture for the many benefits it brings to our environment, our neighborhoods, and our lives.

  • New Yorkers for Culture & Arts (NY4CA)

    New Yorkers for Culture & Arts (NY4CA) envisions a future where every New Yorker is embraced by the power of culture and the arts to enrich and transform their lives and express their shared humanity. Through broad coalition-based advocacy, public messaging, research, and education, NY4CA’s mission is to ensure a vibrant future for culture and arts that will benefit all New Yorkers.

  • NYC Department of Transportation (NYCDOT)

    The DOT’s Plaza Program works with selected organizations to create neighborhood plazas throughout the City to transform underused streets into vibrant, social public spaces.

  • OpenCultureWORKS (OCW)

    OpenCultureWORKS (OCW) partners with artists and arts groups throughout the city’s five boroughs to plan and produce their programs and events. OpenCultureWORKS exists to support and nurture the creative process of artists. Their work is grounded in the belief that the arts are a vital and integral part of a healthy society.

  • Street Lab

    Street Lab is a nonprofit that creates and shares programs for public space across New York City—pop-up reading rooms, open-air drawing studios, and more. They do this work in order to improve the urban environment, strengthen neighborhoods, and bring New Yorkers together.


  • Timeline

    • Applications Open: Monday, May 10, 2021 via the Green / Arts Live NYC website. Those without portal access may email for help
    • Applicant Info Session: Tuesday, May 18th, 2021 at 12:00 noon. Click here to watch our Applicant Info Session Webinar.
    • Application Deadline: Friday, May 28th, 2021 at 12:00 Noon
    • Notifications will start the week of June 21st, 2021
    • Projects can be held starting July 1st, 2021
    • Projects must be completed no later than October 31, 2021
    • Final reports will be due December 31, 2021

    This is a competitive application process.  All applicants will be reviewed after the grant deadline and a decision will be made based on eligibility and criteria met. In fairness to all applicants, late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

  • Eligibility

    Funds will be awarded to individual artists and ensembles, community groups, and arts and cultural nonprofit organizations of all types that will present free of charge, family-friendly performing and interactive arts programs or arts workshops in parks, neighborhood plazas, and select community gardens across the five boroughs of New York City.  


    Priority will be given to individual artists/ensembles and independent arts groups that may not be incorporated, volunteer-based community park and plaza groups, and small, nonprofit community-based arts organizations. In addition, we will give priority to programs and artists in neighborhoods hardest hit by COVID-19, along with organizations led by individuals that identify as BIPOC, LGBTQIA, people with disabilities, and/or immigrant populations.


    We Do Not Fund:

    • Electioneering, lobbying, or litigation
    • Temporary or permanent visual art installations
    • Ticketed, revenue-generating, or commercial events
    • Contests or Competitions
  • Types of Applicants

    • Individual artists and ensembles 
      • that have a demonstrated history of performance experience (does not have to be outdoors)
    • Community groups 
      • including “Friends of”, park, garden** and volunteer groups
    • Small arts and cultural organizations
      • with budgets up to $1 million/year if they do not operate their own venues, or those with budgets up to $2.5 million/year if operating a venue that was shut as a result of the pandemic.  
    • Larger arts and cultural organizations
      • with budgets over $2.5 million/year will be required to partner with local community park and plaza groups to bring their work to neighborhoods (priority given for applications with the community-based organization as the lead applicant).
    • Local operators including BIDs and DOT Plaza Partner organizations  

    Note: Joint and group applications are encouraged and permitted for any applicant and required for organizations with budgets exceeding $2.5 million/year

    Note: Applicants do not need to be a 501(c)(3) organization.  City Parks Foundation can provide fiscal sponsorship services if needed.

    **Garden groups are eligible in communities where neither a park nor a plaza is accessible within 1-mile walking distance

  • Location Requirements

    To help determine high need areas, please refer to the Neighborhood Opportunity Network and NYC Planning Community District Profiles

    Program Site Selection

    Neighborhood Parks

    Public Plazas – as categorized by the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) as Priority “high” or “medium” need.  List of eligible plazas can be found here:

    Community Gardens 

    • Must meet the geographic criteria (when neither a park nor a plaza is within 1-mile walking distance)
    • Be registered with GreenThumb or New York Restoration Project (NYRP)
    • If located on private property, programs at community gardens must:
      • Obtain permission from the landowner to host the program.
    • List of GreenThumb properties: GreenThumb Community Gardens in NYC
    • List of NYRP properties: NYRP Green Space List in NYC


    • Hyperlocal geographic location
      • Preference is given to programs being presented in home neighborhood-based applications
      • NYC based groups and organizations only

    Note: Applicants may submit up to three (3) locations for a program within a single application.  Justification must be provided as well as the capacity to execute multiple program locations. Applicants may submit up to two (2) applications for different program proposals.

  • Program and Event Design

    • Performing and interactive multimedia arts programs which may include music, dance, spoken word, theater pieces, or independent/documentary film by individuals or ensemble groups
    • Workshops, art activities, or pop-up/mobile temporary outdoor exhibits
    • Programs can range in length of time to fill the entirety of permitted hours, depending on the details of the permit granted.
    • Programs can repeat multiple times in a day, with scheduled showtimes, or repeat as desired
    • Multi-day programs are permitted in a single location and can include consecutive scheduled days, or pre-scheduled days in a month (i.e., every Sunday) as long as no production elements are left overnight (or there is an existing production set up in place and approved by the park or plaza) and permitting approval is obtained 


    Rules and regulations

    • All events are subject to NYC permitting requirements
    • As all programs are taking place in public spaces, they must be appropriate for audiences of all ages
    • All events and programs must be offered free of charge.  Ticket sales are not permitted in parks, gardens and plazas
    • Per NYC Parks event rules, up to 25 participants for art Workshops and 200 participants for events with amplified sound
    • Amplified sound will be allowed per NYC regulations at the time of the event and permitted via NYPD 
    • All applicants are responsible for obtaining any rights and agreements necessary for their proposed program
  • Types of Support

    (Applicants may apply for only one or both)


    Microgrants that can cover:

    • Up to $3,000 in expenses which include
      • Artist fees (applicants must certify that all artists will be paid, even if not from this grant) 
      • Materials for workshops and activities
      • Marketing expenses (as long as artist fees are covered elsewhere)
      • Permitting fees and insurance


    In-kind, non-financial operational support and consultation 

    for basic production of performances or interactive multimedia arts programs, workshops, art activities, and outdoor pop-up/mobile temporary exhibits valued at up to $5,000 per performance:

    • For parks and gardens (provided by OpenCultureWORKS and/or Street Lab), this may include:
      • Help with permitting
      • Equipment (sound, power, staging, seating, tents, barricades, signage, etc)
      • Furniture for art activities, workshops and pop-up/mobile outdoor temporary exhibits (tables, seating, displays, material carts)
      • Personnel needs (event manager, driver, security, usher, program staff)
    • For plazas (provided by the Hort and/or Street Lab, OpenCultureWORKS) this may include:
      • Permitting
      • Equipment (sound, power, tents, solar generators etc)
      • Furniture for art activities, workshops and pop-up/mobile outdoor temporary exhibits (tables, seating, displays, material carts)
      • Personnel needs (event manager, driver, program staff)
      • Production elements
      • Maintenance and sanitation of the plaza at the program completion


    *We encourage artists and community groups to work together to design programs and submit a joint application.


    *All funded projects will include Coalition supported education and advocacy through outreach and marketing, marketing materials, and community engagement through all partner networks, social media, and email communications.

  • Criteria

    Funding decisions will be based on:

    • Alignment of application with the Purpose of Fund
    • Diversified programs that focus on areas that have been impacted by COVID-19 and led by individuals that identify as BIPOC, LGBTQIA, people with disabilities and/or immigrant populations
    • High-need population/community served (as defined by age, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, access to green space)
    • Appropriateness of program for a public space and a potential audience of all ages and that is culturally relevant for the local community
    • Demonstrated dearth of planned, free arts and culture programming in the community
    • We will consider existing or previous partnerships with NYC Parks, Partnerships for Parks, GreenThumb, NYC DOT, and NYRP but this is not a requirement nor a deciding factor in the final decision for funding
    • The organization, artist, or group’s history of presenting
    • The project and organizational budgets
    • The marketing plan for reaching audience(s)
    • The feasibility of successfully accomplishing the project
  • Application Requirements

    • All applicants must complete one application in full and submit via the GREEN / ARTS LIVE NYC website
    • Applicants will be required to address/upload the following supporting materials:
      • Full project narrative with details, and experience presenting arts and culture performances indoors or outdoors.
      • Complete project budget (including the payment of artists fees)
      • List other funding sources if appropriate
      • Production needs including all furniture, fixtures, equipment, and staffing 
      • Previous work examples if applicable, including photos, videos, marketing and publicity materials
      • Bio and/or resumes of principal programmers, performers, and project leaders
      • Marketing and outreach plan
    • Applicants are invited to include:
      • Letter of support from previous venue and production partners, clients, professors, and students
  • Application Review

    Applications are evaluated according to the “Criteria” section and receipt of a complete application. Applications are processed and reviewed by staff, the Culture in Parks and Plazas Coalition, and Borough Arts Councils, along with expert independent reviewers.

  • Requirements and Reporting

    All programs must be free and open to the public and may not feature sales of food, beverage, or other items.


    Grantees are required to follow the NYC Parks, NYS Park, NPS, GreenThumb, NYC Department of Transportation, and/or land manager’s existing events processes. 


    • For Parks
      • Grantees will be required to apply for the required special event permit from NYC Parks. Applications for these permits are due a minimum of 21 days in advance of any event/performance. Permits require proof of liability insurance; a hardship waiver may be requested from NYC Parks. Please discuss with your local outreach coordinator or with OpenCultureWORKS  Grantees planning programs in parks will also be required to complete the NYC Parks COVID-19 Safety Plan and Affirmation Checklist, reflecting NYC and NYS Health Departments’ applicable rules and regulations around public performances including ensuring that all performers, crew, and working staff complete the required health screening before arrival and have their temperatures checked upon arrival.  The checklist can be found here.
    • For Plazas
      • Grantees will be required to apply for Plaza Event Permits from the Street Activity Office (SAPO). Applications for these permits are due 30 days in advance of any planned event/performance. At a minimum grantees will be required to submit a site plan, run of show, and sign off on the COVID-19 Event Safety Plan and Checklist Affirmation provided by SAPO, and a $1M of Commercial General Liability insurance naming the City of New York as an additional insured. Applicants may request an insurance waiver if the cost of insurance would exceed 25% of anticipated revenue. Additional permits may be required depending on event elements. 
    • For Community Gardens on NYC Parks Property
      • Due to the ongoing pandemic, garden groups will need to affirm that they agree to all required COVID-19 practices (no one with any symptoms may attend, 35 or fewer people maximum, face coverings and social distancing, hand washing and cleaning of surfaces and tools, logging attendees to assist with any necessary contact tracing, developing a communications plan to promote public health guidelines, and the presence of a garden member on-site at all times to ensure observance of public health requirements by all attendees, as well as agreement by the garden group that they understand and will uphold these measures). Events and their details should be agreed upon by the garden group, following their decision-making processes. All events must receive prior written approval from GreenThumb or NYRP. GreenThumb community gardens on NYC Parks property can seek event approval with the Green Thumb Event Request Form or with your NYRP Engagement staff member.
    • For Community Gardens on privately managed land
      • Please inquire with the organization and private landowner directly, and submit as a supporting document with your application.
    • Sound Permit
      • If you are using a sound device you must apply for a sound permit at least five days before the event. File your application at the precinct near where your event is located. This is mandatory if you are using a sound device such as a speaker. 
    • Clean Up
      • All programs in parks must include clean-up after completion; no additional maintenance burden can be placed on NYC Parks, NYS Parks, or the land management agency or organization. In plazas, The Horticultural Society of New York will provide maintenance services that include at least one person to oversee and assist with event set up and breakdown as well as sweeping/cleaning during the event. However, the grantee is ultimately responsible for ensuring that plazas are kept clean and restored to normal operating conditions after the event. 
    • Funder Credits
      • All programs must include appropriate crediting to the fund on all marketing collateral. For example, your show flyer (paper or digital) should include “GREEN / ARTS LIVE NYC is brought to you with funding from New York Community Trust and Con Edison’s Arts Alfresco Series, administered by City Parks Foundation/SummerStage.”
  • Fund Management

    City Parks Foundation will administer the fund, which is governed by a Steering Committee of representatives from the Culture in Parks Coalition and experts in the field.  

Applicant Portal Access



View the accompanying slides


View the accompanying slides


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