Seniors Partnering with Artists Citywide (SPARC) is a community arts engagement program that places artists-in-residence at senior centers across the five boroughs of New York City. The program provides selected artists with a stipend in exchange for the creation and delivery of arts programming for seniors. Artists will engage participating seniors in an art project or series of cultural programs over the course of the residency, which will also include a public program component –exhibits, readings, performances, open houses or other cultural interactions open to the surrounding community.

This initiative seeks to connect artists with seniors in senior centers and aims to positively impact the well-being of older adults through arts-based activities. SPARC seeks to place artists who are sensitive to the needs of older adults and who are interested in engaging their communities. Each senior center is unique and offers access to different types of spaces, resources and communities. Selected artists will work with the senior center where they are placed to further refine project goals and coordinate a schedule for residency activities and use of facilities.

SPARC is a collaboration between the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), the Department for the Aging (DFTA) and the City’s five local arts councils situated in each borough – Brooklyn Arts Council, Bronx Council on the Arts, Staten Island Arts, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and Queens Council on the Arts. SPARC began in 2012 and was developed as a part of Age-Friendly NYC, a citywide effort to make the City more livable for seniors. In 2015, SPARC is supported, in part, by public funds from the Department for the Aging.

LMCC is proud to be a part of this program on behalf of the borough of Manhattan. LMCC will accept applications from artists seeking residencies at participating senior centers in Manhattan only.

Application Deadline: September 30, 2014


Applicants will be notified of their application status and, if applicable, which senior center they will work with, by the end of December 2014. Residencies are expected to take place between January 1, 2015 and June 30, 2015.

In exchange for the creation and delivery of arts programming at a senior center during the residency period, SPARC artists-in-residence will receive a stipend in the amount of $1,750, as well as access to an additional $500 materials/supplies budget and to materials/supplies of their choosing from Materials for the Arts. Participating senior centers may also provide workspace for selected artists to pursue their own artistic work. Individual artists can apply directly to participate in the program without a fiscal sponsor. SPARC expects to fund 50 artist residencies at senior centers across the five boroughs of New York City with 14 of those taking place in Manhattan.

Attend an information session on Thursday, September 18 from 6:30–8:00pm at LMCC’s Office. RSVP here.

Please note: You should only attend this information session if you intend to apply for the SPARC Program in Manhattan. For information about applying in a borough OTHER than Manhattan, please contact your local borough arts council.

Applications will be accepted from individual artists. Applicants must meet the following criteria to apply:

  • Artists must be 18 years of age or older and a resident of New York City
  • Artists must be interested in working with a senior center in Manhattan*
  • Artists cannot apply for or receive funds on behalf of a non-profit organization or a for-profit entity
  • Artists cannot be currently enrolled full-time in a degree-granting institution

* Artists who are eligible NYC residents can apply to work in a center in any borough. Please note, artists may only apply for one borough (not multiple boroughs). Artists interested in working with a senior center located in a borough other than Manhattan must contact the local arts council of that borough for application materials.

Previous SPARC artists are eligible to apply for the 2015 program. Please note, however, each artist is limited to two (2) consecutive years with the same senior center partner. All returning artists must submit a complete application to be considered. An artist wishing to return to the same senior center for a 2nd year must include a letter of support from the senior center director in their application.

Applications will be accepted for projects in any artistic discipline. Projects must meet the following requirements:

  • Project must be cultural in nature, but may be in any artistic discipline
  • Project must include an interactive engagement component for the senior participants at the center where the residency is held (i.e., activities such as workshops, classes, art making projects created by seniors or in collaboration with seniors, etc.)
  • Project must include a public program component for the public to experience and engage with the arts at the senior center (i.e., activities such as a series of exhibits, open houses, performances, readings or other cultural interactions that allow participating seniors to share their work with the surrounding community). The public program activities must be promoted and available at no charge to the general public. Artists are strongly encouraged to engage other members of the senior center community as part of the residency activities and/or public program component. Projects that are intended to be experienced solely online will not be considered.
  • Project activities must take place between January 1, 2015 and June 30, 2015
  • Project activities are expected to include 40 – 60 contact hours of activity with the seniors during the residency period
  • Project activities, including the public component, must take place at the senior center (unless otherwise agreed to with the senior center director)

Artists will be selected after a competitive review process. LMCC will review all artist applications for the borough of Manhattan for completeness and eligibility. A panel comprised of representatives from LMCC, the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the Department for the Aging will then review applicant proposals and recommend artist finalists to the senior centers for which they have expressed interest. An interview between artist finalists and senior center directors will be required prior to final selection.

Competitive proposals will be those that are received by the deadline, are responsive to the application, meet all eligibility requirements, and present a project of the highest quality and feasibility.

Additional evaluation criteria include (in no particular order):

  • Artistic merit and artistic excellence of the proposed senior engagement project
  • Clarity and detail in the project proposal
  • Quality of the applicant’s prior work
  • Potential impact on senior participants
  • Potential impact on senior center and surrounding community
  • Project feasibility, taking into consideration budget, timeline, available resources, and stated goals

Prior experience as a teaching artist, artist-in-residence, and/or working with older adults is a plus.

The residency award is a contract for arts services; selected artists will be subject to the following requirements:

  • Sign and return residency agreement
  • Include funding credit and logos on all marketing and event materials, print and electronic
  • Submit event notification at least 2 – 4 weeks before your public program event(s) (a representative of LMCC, DFTA or DCA may conduct a site visit to your project)
  • Track artist contact hours with participating seniors and other evaluative data, as requested
  • Submit final report on a timely basis after completion of all project activities

Artists who do not comply with the requirements will jeopardize their funding and future grant consideration.

Participating senior centers have identified program space for SPARC activities. In some (but not all) senior centers, semi-private workspace, storage space and/or specialized equipment may be available for use by the artist-in-residence. It is important to note that, due to senior center operating hours and program schedules, artists may have limited access to the workspace and facilities. Most senior centers operate during weekday hours only. Please see descriptions of participating Manhattan senior centers on the 2015 SPARC map here or scroll below to “Related Places” for more information. Unless otherwise noted, senior center spaces are not private (i.e., when artist is not in the space it will be used by others, thus leaving projects or supplies overnight or for long periods of time may not be permitted).

Please note: certain senior centers have also identified languages spoken if they have a senior population with a significant number of bilingual, ESL or non-English speakers. This is provided for informational purposes only. Artists with foreign language skills are strongly encouraged to apply, but artists are not required to speak any language other than English.

Participating senior centers have identified program space for SPARC activities. To see the list of participating senior centers and the facilities they provide, click here.

SPARC 2015 in Manhattan Application Guidelines

The most competitive applications will be applications that propose a project of sustained engagement during the residency period and will involve the artist, participating seniors, the senior center, and the surrounding community. Applications must include all materials as described below and must be submitted online before the application deadline: Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at 5PM.

If you have any questions, please email

Application Deadline: Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at 5:00pm
All components of the application must be submitted to LMCC’s online application no later than Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at 5:00pm. Applicants will be notified of their application status and, if applicable, which senior center they will work with, by the end of December 2014. Residencies are expected to take place between January 1, 2015 and June 30, 2015.

Q&A Information Sessions (Suggested, Not Required):
Get an overview of SPARC and learn about the components of a well-prepared application.
Thursday, September 18, from 6:30-8:30pm
Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, 125 Maiden Lane, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10038


Applicants should begin by reading all program information provided. Additionally, applicants should review the list of participating senior centers and the facilities they provide by clicking here or scrolling down to “Related Places”. An application will only be considered if it is eligible, complete, on time, and adheres to all Application Guidelines.

You may view the Online Application Form at any time. We strongly recommend that you view the Online Application Form in advance and work on and save your responses in a separate document offline. Please note that many fields have a character limit. This is NOT a word count limit, instead it counts the characters—which includes spaces and line breaks—that you enter into the field. Microsoft Word is able to count your characters (spaces included).

When your responses are ready for submission—and you have gathered your Work Samples—copy your finalized entries into the online fields and submit.

On the Online Application Form, Applicants are asked to provide:

  • Project Proposal (3,000 character limit)
  • Interest/Experience Working with Seniors (1,500 character limit)
  • Artist Statement (1,500 character limit)
  • Resume or CV
  • Two Professional References
  • Work Sample
  • Work Sample Captions

Submit your application responses along with your Work Samples.

An application will only be considered if it is eligible, complete, on time, and adheres to all Application Guidelines.

The Work Sample is a critical element of your application. Prepare a well-organized Work Sample that best represents your work and/or the proposed project.

All work samples (jpgs, pdfs, weblinks etc.) will be uploaded to our online application. You will submit your work sample using ONLY ONE of the following three submission options:

  • 5–10 Digital Images
  • 4 minutes of Video/Audio
  • Writing Sample (5–10 pages)

OPTION ONE: 5–10 Digital Images
Please use the following guidelines when uploading images:

  • Images must be JPEG files
  • JPEGs should not be larger than 800 pixels on the longest dimension
  • Resolution should be at 72 dpi
  • Each filename must be saved as ‘LastName-FirstName-##’
  • The ## should correspond to the Work Sample List
  • File Name Example: Smith–Rebecca-01.jpg / Smith-Rebecca-02.jpg / etc.

OPTION TWO: 4 minutes of Video/Audio
Please use the following guidelines when uploading video/audio web links:

For time-based work only. Total running time of combined clips should NOT exceed 4 minutes. Applicants submitting Work Samples using this option should submit no more than 4 clips total.

  • Provide weblink addresses to video or audio clips hosted on external sites (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.).
  • Provide passwords for any password-protected videos
  • Total running time of combined clips should not exceed 4 minutes
  • If any individual clip runs longer than 4 minutes, please indicate a CUE time in the Work Sample Caption (i.e. CUE: 3:30)
  • All links must be accessible online through December 2012

OPTION THREE: 5–10 pages of Writing Sample
Please use the following guidelines when uploading a writing sample:

  • Writers may submit 5-10 pages of scripts, poetry, prose or other relevant materials
  • Writing samples should be saved as a PDF and uploaded to our online application
  • Filename must be saved as ‘LastName-Firstname’
  • File Name Example: Smith–Rebecca.pdf
  • Provide a Work Sample Description to offer a brief description of the writing sample, introducing the works (including title and date) and providing a general context for the panel

Please note, we do not accept the following:

  • Work samples by post mail or email
  • Work samples via file download (i.e. YouSendit)
  • PowerPoint presentations or slideshows
  • Handwritten documents
  • Letters of recommendations
  • Support material including reviews, catalogues and publications

The application deadline for calendar year 2015 has passed. Applicants will be notified of their application status and, if applicable, which senior center they will work with, by the end of December 2014. Residencies are expected to take place between January 1, 2015 and June 30, 2015.

SPARC 2014
SPARC 2013
SPARC 2012

SPARC 2010
In its first year in 2010, SPARC, formerly named Space for Art, placed twelve artists in nine senior centers citywide. Two Manhattan senior centers hosted three artists-in-residence as part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Age-Friendly NYC initiative.

  • Madi Horstman
  • Judith Hugentobler
  • Elisa Velazquez