New York Foundation for the Arts | Rauschenberg Medical Emergency Grants

The New York Foundation for the Arts is now accepting applications for Rauschenberg Medical Emergency Grants.

This program provides one-time grants of up to $5,000 for recent unexpected medical, dental, and mental health emergencies to artists in financial need* who are creating in the visual arts, film/video/electronic/digital arts, and choreography. Only generative artists are eligible—artists creating their own, independent work, with recent and ongoing opportunities for the public to experience that work.

*To be eligible to apply, your average adjusted gross income for the last two years you’ve filed tax returns must be no greater than $75,000 ($150,000 for joint filers).

Please note: Rauschenberg Medical Emergency Grants are not for lost wages, living expenses, or medical care for individuals other than the artist. Visit NYFA’s Emergency Grants page for a regularly-updated list of emergency resources.

This is a competitive grant program, with a set pool of funding available in each cycle. This program is supported by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.

Rauschenberg Medical Emergency Grants Cycle 17:

Applications Open: February 14
Applications Close: March 17, 5:00 pm EDT*
For Emergencies Occurring: July 1, 2022 and later
Notification of Award: April 28, 2023


*Please note that the application form on Submittable will automatically close and stop accepting applications at this time.


  • Cycle 18 will open April 18, with a deadline of May 19, for emergencies occurring September 1, 2022 and later.
  • Cycle 19 will open June 20, with a deadline of July 21, for emergencies occurring December 1, 2022 and later.


There are three eligibility criteria in this program: Individual, Artistic, and Emergency. We recommend you check all of these before taking the time to complete the application. If you meet the requirements, you should next review the application guidelines for instructions on submitting an application. You can also learn how the funding decisions are made, read our Frequently Asked Questions, and view a video information session.

1 – Your Individual Eligibility. You Must:

  • Be a generative artist creating work in visual arts, film/video/digital/electronic arts (not a performer), or choreography
  • Be 21 years or older on the cycle’s deadline
  • Reside in the United States, the District of Columbia, a Tribal Nation, or a U.S. Territory
  • Have an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or lower for an individual, or $150,000 for joint filers, averaged over the last two federal tax returns
  • Your medical emergency and treatment must occur in the U.S. (including D.C., Tribal Nations and U.S. Territories)
  • Demonstrate current and ongoing activity in your artistic discipline
  • Not be enrolled in any degree-seeking program

2 – Your Artistic Eligibility.

You need to create original work in one of the eligible disciplines, AND have recent and sustained artistic activity.

Recent and sustained is defined as activity over the course of at least the last five years, with multiple opportunities for the public to experience your work during this time. This can be through exhibits/screenings/performances/activities in art spaces, galleries, local businesses, art houses/film series, public art installations, public spaces, museums, fairs/festivals, community projects, and/or residencies with public-facing components. We do not accept portfolios/work samples.

If self-produced online presentations or sales of your work are your sole platform, such as Instagram or YouTube, we cannot consider your application eligible.

What Artistic Disciplines are Eligible

Only artists creating work in visual arts, film/video/electronic/digital arts or choreography may apply to this program. The applicant must be the primary maker of the creative work—for film/video, only the director and/or producer are eligible. Editors, cinematographers, assistant producers, television producers, screenwriters, television/film performers and crew members, dance performers, et al are not eligible.

Works which are intended for commercial or mass production, or are work-for-hire projects, are not eligible. These include music videos, television shows, graphic and fashion design, commissions, and industrial films.

Please review the definitions for the eligible disciplines:

  • Choreography
  • Visual Arts
  • Film/Video/Electronic/Digital Arts

3 – Your Emergency and Expenses Eligibility.

In this program, an emergency is a one-time, unexpected, non-chronic condition as a result of illness, violence, an accident or triggering event, or sudden medical event, that requires treatment to ensure your health or life, and which without treatment has extreme impact on your daily life and ability to carry out/return to your creative practice.

In each cycle, we can consider emergencies that have occurred within approximately the last six months. The earliest date for an eligible emergency is listed in the Cycles information. The  medical emergency and treatment must occur in the U.S. (including D.C., Tribal Nations and U.S. Territories).

How emergency expenses work:

Funds may be requested for expenses which you have already incurred, or will incur; which you have already paid for or have not. Whether or not you have insurance, you can request funds for your own out-of-pocket expenses. You may request funds for related, eligible expenses incurred for up to 12 months from the date of the emergency. If you have not yet received a diagnosis or treatment because of lack of funding or the timing of this application, you may still apply. If you haven’t yet received a diagnosis or treatment, and/or your documentation isn’t on hand, provide as much information about your condition as possible, including estimates of treatment costs in your local area, if possible. If you receive a grant, you will be required to submit copies of paid bills/receipts for all funded expenses. You may also be required to submit a copy of your two most recently filed tax returns, demonstrating your adjusted gross income.

Eligible expenses include, but are not limited to, these out of pocket costs to the artist:

  • Provider (hospital/doctor/dentist/clinic) bills, including co-pays
  • Tests/diagnostics/assessments/consultations to determine necessary treatment
  • Physical/occupational therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic
  • Prescription drugs specifically for the emergency medical condition
  • Emergency dental work
  • Transportation expenses to/from appointments/treatments

Grants cannot be requested for non-emergency medical conditions; ongoing medical/psychological/psychiatric treatment; wellness visits; regular check-ups, annual exams or procedures; standard vision care or eyeglasses, or hearing aids, or medical equipment (unless required as a direct result of an emergency injury/surgery/condition); elective procedures; insurance purchase/premiums; experimental treatments; or any non-medical expenses, even if the result of an emergency.

Grants cannot be requested for treatment, prescriptions, or other expenses related to a chronic condition, unless there are extenuating circumstances which cause an unexpected and severe worsening of the condition. Example: A recent traumatic incident triggered a flareup of an existing mental health condition.

Chronic diseases are defined broadly as conditions that last one year or more and require ongoing medical, dental, or mental health attention or limit activities of daily living or both.

Funds go directly to the artist, not a medical provider, vendor, or any individual on the grantee’s behalf. Grant awards are routinely paid via direct deposit.


New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) is proud to partner with the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation to administer the Rauschenberg Medical Emergency Grants. Robert Rauschenberg was committed to assisting fellow artists in need of emergency medical aid, ultimately establishing the nonprofit foundation Change, Inc. in 1970. In this spirit, this program is designed to serve artists in financial need who otherwise may delay critical treatment or incur substantial and perhaps overwhelming debt. We recognize the urgency of caring for and helping one another and, while artists are famously self-sufficient, we encourage you to ask for support when needed.


NYFA is committed to supporting artists from every background, and at all stages in their creative careers. We strongly encourage artists of color, LGBTQ+ artists, artists with disabilities, and artists living outside of the New York area to apply.

To request an accommodation or assistance in applying, please email [email protected]. We ask that requests for accommodation be made as soon as possible, preferably two weeks prior to the deadline, to allow adequate time for staff to support you in submitting an application on time.

NYFA’s Equity and Inclusion Statement can be found here.


If you have questions, please contact the Grants Coordinator at [email protected] or 212.366.6900 x 239.

Mollie Quinlan-Hayes, Program Coordinator, Rauschenberg Grants, reviews the guidelines and application form of the Rauschenberg Medical Emergency Grants and respond to frequently asked questions.

Image Credit: Robert Rauschenberg in front of his Vydock series photographed in Rauschenberg’s Laika Lane studio, Captiva, FL, 1995, Photo Credit: Ed Chappell, Copyright: Robert Rauschenberg Foundation