Mentoring For Artists & Organizations

About The Program

Folklife and traditional arts programming requires professional knowledge and technical skills in many areas, including fieldwork, artist self-management, marketing and promotion, concert production, interpretation and presenting, editing, graphic design, exhibition, planning, documentation, archives, and organizational management. The Mentoring and Professional Development Program provides free technical assistance for organizations and individuals. It provides opportunities for organizations and individuals engaged in or planning folklife and traditional arts programs in New York State to receive mentoring from consultants who are working professionals in folklife and related fields, mentoring from a traditional artist, and travel support for professional development exchanges.

Through this program, folklorists and other folklife program staff, folk artists, and leaders of community-based cultural organizations learn professional and technical practices, contributing to the development of the folklife field. Please note that Mentoring and Professional Development support is only for technical assistance, artist mentoring (not apprenticeships) and professional development support and not for project grants or activities that would be eligible for funding by the Folk Arts Program of the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA). For more information, see the NYSCA Folk Arts guidelines.

Program Specifics

Program Components


Consultancies support mentors’ providing technical or other professional assistance to individuals or organizations engaged in or planning folk arts programming. Consultancies can be one or two-day immersive experiences or can be staged over a longer period of time to support multiple mentoring meetings that provide continuing technical assistance for ongoing processes and projects in folklife and folk arts programming. Generally, consultancies will not exceed 5 days or $1,800, including consulting and travel.

The standard compensation rate for the mentor is $300/day plus travel (total award not to exceed 3 days or $1,200, including consulting and travel). All applications are received on a rolling basis throughout the year; the ordinary turnaround after review is 3 – 6 weeks.


Support is provided for travel within the state or region to attend conferences and meetings, observe exemplary programs, and interact with colleagues/mentors for specific professional development purposes. Travel and/or registration fees are the only costs eligible for support. Funding generally does not exceed $400.00. Only one application by a folklore professional per year is eligible for support in this category.


Opportunities for master folk artists to mentor or advise other folk artists on an aspect of their shared traditional art are designed to provide for initial or short-term contacts only, and can include time with the mentor as well as travel. Opportunities in this category are limited and must be for a specific skill. Support for apprenticeships is only provided directly by the New York State Council on the Arts to eligible organizations applying on behalf of the artist or apprentice. Compensation is provided at the same level as other consultancies.


Individuals and organizations engaged in or planning folklife and traditional arts programs in New York State are eligible to apply to the Mentoring and Professional Development Program. This includes, but is not limited to, folk artists, community organizations, folk cultural specialists, arts councils, museums, historical societies, and public libraries.

Highest priority will be given to consultancies that directly benefit folk artists, or community-based organizations representing underserved communities of the state.

Consultancies that benefit several people or organizations at once are encouraged; for example, a folklorist might apply to have a consultant work with a group of four or five folk artists on self-management.

You may choose a mentor, or we can help you find someone. The mentor may be from any field or discipline as long as the consultancy will directly benefit your folklife or traditional arts programming. Appropriate mentors must be experienced in the skills to be imparted through the mentorship and should be qualified for the tasks requested of them. Evidence of skill or education will be required through the submission of a short biography or resume.

This program is designed to serve organizations and individuals within New York State. Priority will be given to New York-based travel, but mentors from outside the state are permitted. Please contact us if out-of-state travel will be required.

Mentoring requests must not duplicate support applied for or received from the New York State Council on the Arts. For information on what constitutes folk and traditional arts, please refer to the Folk Arts guidelines for the New York State Council on the Arts.

How To Apply

If you think this program can help you, please contact us at 518-346-7008 or so we can discuss it before you begin an application. You can then fill out the application on our website, listed lower down on this page.

We are available to help you think through your plan, determine the appropriate program component, and identify a suitable consultant if you do not already have someone in mind.

How to fill out your application:

  1. Contact the person you would like to consult with and gain his/her agreement to be your mentor. The mentor may be from any field or discipline so long as the consultancy will directly benefit your folklife or traditional arts programming. However, the chosen consultant must have the training and skills necessary to best advise the applicant.
  2. The application form includes the purpose of the consultancy, its expected impact on the applicant, the plan of work, and a budget. Each of these application elements must be included. Please outline the plan of work in as much detail as possible.
  3. Attach a resume or brief biographical statement about the consultant or partner in the professional exchange. For folk artists, evidence of artistic merit will be required.
  4. Submit your completed application.

We encourage you to apply early so we can get back to you if we have any questions or problems with your application.

The short-term and ongoing consultancies and folk artist mentoring applications will be accepted at any time throughout the year for review. Decisions will be announced within 6 weeks after receipt of applications.

Implementation & Reporting

Reports must be received before reimbursement is distributed.

  • You and your mentor or exchange partner carry out the project as described in your application. Consultancies and exchanges should begin within three months after they have been approved and should be completed within twelve months of approval.
  • Mentor and client each submit a brief report on the consultancy, including receipts for reimbursable travel expenses. The reports should detail the assistance received and how it was or was not beneficial. Detail any long-term plans or strategies developed as part of the technical assistance. Be specific. View and submit the Mentor’s Consultancy Report Form here.
  • Upon receipt of both reports, New York Folklore will pay the mentor’s fee and reimburse travel expenses.
  • Approximately six months after the consultancy, we will contact the client by phone or in person to discuss the long-term impact of the consultancy.