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Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment Announces Second Round of NYC Women's Fund for Media, Music and Theatre

NYC is the first city in the nation to fund women-led projects in these fields

94 grants of up to $50,000 each, for a combined $2 million in funding

Inclusion of music for the first time, with 35 music-related projects selected


NEW YORK, NY – Commissioner Anne del Castillo announced today that the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) awarded the second round of NYC Women's Fund for Media, Music and Theatre to 94 music, theatre, film and digital media projects led by artists who identify as women or coming from a female perspective. These grants total $2 million and are designed to help artists complete their projects. This year, MOME added $500,000 to support music projects.

The NYC Women's Fund is a groundbreaking initiative intended to address the underrepresentation of women in film, music, digital media and theatre. It is a $5.5 million, three-year program funded by MOME and administered by New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA). 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.

With the addition of music to the list of eligible categories, 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 take 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, 2nd largest 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 broad range of topics including: a bilingual album that features 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 I.V. King, director, writer and actress; Easmanie 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.

"New York City needs to be a place where diverse creatives can thrive. But if you're in the arts, you know that the hardest part is finding enough money to get your projects off the ground," said Faye Penn, Executive Director of, an initiative at New York City Economic Development Corporation that helps women succeed in their businesses and careers. "It's exciting to see so many female-identified creators who are finally able to share their songs, movies, plays and web series. We hope that the world will be seeing a lot more of these artists and leaders."

The full list of projects that received awards and panelists can be found here. Grant guidelines can be found on NYFA's website.

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