CNY Arts, Inc.


NYSCA & CNY Arts Museums Professional Development

The New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), in partnership with CNY Arts, offers professional development funding for museums and museum service organizations in New York State that are open to the public.

  • Application Deadline: February 21, 2023, at 5:00 pm
  • Who may apply: New York State-based museums or museum service organizations
  • Award Amount: Up to $750.00

NYSCA Website



Eligible Applicants

New York State-based museums or any type or museum services organizations may apply for support to attend conferences, bring in consultants for in-house training, or participate in training that directly relates to the museum's work.

  • Applicants must be a museum or museum service organization.
  • Applicants must be open to the public and regularly offer programming.

Ineligible applicants

  • Entities owned and operated by New York State, including state historic sites or museums of SUNY or CUNY;
  • Religious institutions;
  • Organizations primarily featuring living collections and supported through New York State's ZBGA program; or
  • Organizations that have not filed past final reports for this opportunity.

Ineligible use of funds

  • Out-of-state travel, entertainment, food, or beverage or
  • Professional development opportunities related to libraries or archives (as New York State has agencies focused on these areas).

Professional Development Grants may be used for professional development opportunities such as:

  • Support to attend a museum-related conference
  • Support to meet with colleagues to review programming at another New York State institution
  • Support to hire a consultant to work with museum staff (must not be a part of a degree or certificate program)
  • And others.

Professional Development Grants are awarded to organizations that meet eligibility requirements as outlined in the guidelines document and application. There is no peer review or panel process. Should there be more requests than funding can support, the following priorities will be followed:

Priority 1:

  • Eligible applicants that have not received NYSCA Professional Development support in the past 5 years (2018-2022).
  • Eligible applicants who staff, board, and audience represent more than 50% historically underrepresented and marginalized communities as defined by NYSCA. Please note that audience refers to people who visit your institution--it does not refer to the general demographics of your community.
  • Each REDC Region must have at least one recipient, proving applicants from all regions apply.

Priority 2:

  • Eligible applicants that have not received NYSCA Professional Development support in the past 3 years (2020-2022).
  • Eligible applicants prioritizing support for staff or volunteers from historically underrepresented communities.

Priority 3:

  • Eligible applicants that have not received NYSCA Professional Development support in 2022.
  • Eligible applicants with budgets under $5 million.

Should there still be more requests than funding allows, the remaining awards will be awarded in the following order:

  • Organizations in REDC regions with the least amount of 2023 awards.
  • Organizations that have received the least amount of Professional Development funding in the past 5 years.

NYSCA embraces the widest spectrum of cultural expression and artistic pluralism and encourages funded organizations to demonstrate a holistic and comprehensive commitment to DEIA (diversity, equity, inclusion, and access). To that end, organizations must share in the application whether they are within, and serve, historically underrepresented communities.

NYSCA interprets underrepresented communities as including, but not limited to, African American/Caribbean, Latino/Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, Native American/Indigenous communities; people in geographically remote areas; disabled communities; LGBTQIA communities; neurodiverse communities; vulnerable aging populations; veterans; low income and homeless populations; as well as justice-involved juveniles and adults.

Please review the PDF guidelines. For all questions, email Kristin Herron.

Section 1:

  • Email
  • Contact First Name
  • Contact Last Name
  • Museum or Museum Service Organization Name
  • Contact telephone number
  • County
  • Regional Economic Development Region
  • Organization's EIN Number
  • Your organization's total operating expenses - Your organization's fiscal year ending in 2022
  • Your organization's public hours including days/hours. Please provide a direct link (website, social media) to your public hours. Museum service organizations should demonstrate that they offer regular programming and provide a link.
  • Your organization's mission
  • My museum's (or museum service organization's) staff and board and audience each represent more than 50% historically underrepresented communities as defined by NYSCA (see guidelines). Please note: audience refers to those who visit your museum and/or participate in programming. It does not refer to the demographics of your region.
  • If you answered Yes to the previous question, please identify which historically underrepresented communities from NYSCA's definition reflect your staff, board and audience. You may select more than one, as appropriate.

Section 2:

  • My museum wishes to participate in the following Professional Development opportunity/ies between January 1, 2023 - December 31, 2023 for which we wish to use NYSCA funds to participate. You may select more than one. You are responsible for being familiar with the registration procedures and details of the opportunity/ies your museum seeks to engage in.
    Support for opportunities within New York State may include registration, travel, lodging or consultant fees. Support for any opportunity outside of New York State may only be used for registration. No award may include entertainment, food or drinks.
  • If you selected any of the "Other" options above, please provide more details here. This may include the website to a conference or workshop, a consultant website, or other details explaining how the option offers relevant professional development relevant. Please review guidelines or contact with questions about eligible options.
  • Who will participate? Please identify if full-time (FT), part-time (PT), volunteer (V), board (B) or intern (I). If your organization will bring a consultant to the museum for a large group you may summarize.
  • The Professional Development maximum award is $750 per organization. Please identify how you would spend the full $750.  No funds may be used for out-of-state travel, out-of-state lodging, entertainment, or meals/drinks.
  • Participants who will use these grants funds are from an historically underrepresented community, as defined by NYSCA.
  • I acknowledge that should my organization receive funding it must submit a W9 to CNY Arts in order to process the award.
    I also acknowledge that it is possible that funding may be received after the opportunity occurs.
  • I acknowledge that should my organization receive funding it must file a final report with NYSCA no later than 30 days after completion of all Professional Development opportunities supported by the award, or my organization may be ineligible for future awards. 

Q: How do I know if I have met basic eligibility requirements?
A: Your museum or museum service organization must be a non-profit based in New York State and, in most cases, chartered by the New York State Museum Chartering Office. The professional development opportunity must benefit both the individual and the museum. The museum must be open to the public.
Additionally, past recipients must have completed a final report form prior to the deadline, or they will not be eligible.

Q: Is there a minimum number of hours my museum must be open to the public?
A: Your museum must have regularly posted public hours that are readily visible on your website or other social media page. For this award there is no minimum required. By appointment only does not signify being open. Museum service organizations, as an example, may operate more as a programmatic partner and must show they offer such services.

Q: What if our hours are still impacted by the pandemic?
A: Your organization must be able to show that it offers some programming to the public in order to receive public funds. If you have questions please contact

Q: How do I know if you have received my application?
A: When you submit the Google Form your screen will show “Your response has been recorded.” And you will receive a copy of the application to the email address submitted.

Q: How do you decide who receives these grants?
A: We typically receive more requests for Professional Development Grants than we have funds available. Once we review each application for eligibility, funds will be awarded following the stated priorities in the guidelines until funds run out. 
We anticipate supporting 60 museums/museum service organizations in 2023.

Q: What do you mean by “priority will be given to applicants that did not receive support in the past five years? Or three years”?
A: Based on our documentation of past awards, we will prioritize museums that have not
been successful in our past funding opportunities. We do this to support as many different
museums as possible.

Q: How can I make the best argument to be funded?
A: Unlike other NYSCA grants which are evaluated for the cases they make for funding, these requests are only “evaluated” in terms of eligibility. Just provide clear information that follows the guidelines.

Q: I want to attend a conference in Fall 2023. Should I apply by the February deadline?
A: Yes. We anticipate that all the funds will be awarded in March 2023.

Q: When will you notify me if we have been awarded a grant?
A: You will hear back in March.

Q: If we are awarded funds, are they reimbursable or will we receive the money up front?
A: While these grants are not intended to be reimbursable, in many cases they will be. CNY Arts will issue checks to the successful applicants, but not until CNY Arts itself has received the funds from New York State. Their award is disbursed in three separate payments. Thus, some recipients may well have a letter confirming their award, but funds may not be received until after the opportunity concludes. This will likely be the case for opportunities earlier in the calendar year. If you will not be able to participate until funds are received, please reconsider applying for this grant or apply for an opportunity later in the year.

Q: What if I am awarded a Professional Development Grant, and then later I cannot attend the conference? Can I use it for something else? Can someone else go in my place?
A: Professional Development Grants will be awarded to the applicant for the event/opportunity cited in the application. Should unanticipated situations occur you must request a modification in writing (email) to Program Director Kristin Herron at

Q: What if I am awarded funds, but then am not able to spend them all?
A: Contact Kristin Herron, Program Director, immediately. You will be expected to return the difference as we cannot fund more than the eligible costs for any opportunity.

Q: I work part-time at more than one museum. Can I apply for professional development from each of the museums I work for?
A: As our funds are limited, individuals may only appear on one application.

Q: Can our museum/museum service organization apply to bring a facilitator in to conduct in-house professional development for all staff?
A: Yes, this is a perfectly acceptable option. Please note how many staff and include a brief description of what positions will participate. (If you are a large institution and this list would be cumbersome you could identify in groupings, i.e.: our museum education department of 50 people including per diem educators and volunteers will participate). You would include biographical information of the facilitator, a URL if the facilitator has one, and briefly describe the professional development opportunity and its benefit to your institution on the form.

Q: My organization receives NYSCA Statewide Community Regrant funds. Or my museum is applying for NYSCA Statewide Community Regrant funds. Can we still apply for the NYSCA Professional Development Grants?
A: Yes!

Q: I work at a large museum, and it’s almost impossible to know if anyone else is planning to apply for a Professional Development Grant. What do I do?
A: Each museum may submit only one application. If your museum submits multiple applications, Program Director Kristin Herron will be in touch to help you determine which request(s) will be withdrawn. Should the museum be unable to decide, we will consider the request date/time stamped first in Google forms as the eligible request.

Q: We want to visit other museums to learn from them. Can’t I just use the funds to pay for admission and go when I want?
A: We value opportunities to learn from peers, but this must be a formal learning experience, not just visiting museums as the public would. Your application must identify the museum(s) you intend to visit, why you wish to visit that specific institution, and who you plan to meet with. If this information is not included, the application will be deemed ineligible.