Mission & History

Mission | History | Financial Reporting

Founded by artists for artists in 1986, The Field is committed to empowering artists and cultural workers of all identities to achieve their visions. We provide strategic services that foster creative exploration, steward innovative management, and help artists reach their fullest potential. Freedom of expression and the rights of all peoples will be honored and respected through our programs, services, staffing and policies. 

Now in our 31st year, more than 1,100 performing and media artists (and their 7,500 collaborators) come to The Field each year to build their businesses. Under our stewardship, these artists produce 1,200 shows for more than 400,000 audiences around the world. 

Poised at the intersection between knowledge and practice, our programs can be divided into Artistic and Management Services. In addition to this evolving core curriculum, The Field responds proactively to sector-wide challenges to the community through various special programs, such as to fail and fail big: A Study of Mid-Career Artists, Success, and Failure.

The artists we serve are individuals (and their groups) who are in the early to mid-career stage of their artistic and professional development. They live in all five New York boroughs and beyond, and are culturally and racially diverse. They range from their early twenties to senior citizens, and the vast majority are low-income. Field artists receive grassroots funding as well as competitive and prestigious funding such as grants from Multi-Arts Production (MAP) Fund, Greenwall Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, and American Express, to name just a few. Works presented by Field artists receive positive press in national and local papers, and their works and performances earn Bessies and Obies. Throughout the year Field artists are cultural ambassadors as they tour nationally and internationally.

It is the express policy of The Field that all of our programs be available and accessible to artists without regard to race, religion, creed, color, national origin, alienage or citizenship status, gender (including gender identity), sexual orientation, marital or partnership status, age, disability, height, weight, handicap, Vietnam era or disabled veteran status or any other protected characteristic protected under federal, state or local law. We will provide program accommodations (sign language interpretation, large-print materials, etc.) upon request.

The core value of accessibility is particularly essential to us - so much so that we do not aesthetically curate admission to any of our programs or services. What does that mean? We do not judge any artists' work by the ever-changing and highly subjective aesthetic standards that may predominate. We do not look at artistic work samples or resumes to determine whether you are 'good enough.' Rather, we hold lotteries, or we select by first-come-first-serve, or by a simple production history that demonstrates a commitment to work. We look at what each individual artist wants to do, and how we can help him or her effectively achieve their goals. For us this is social justice: the justice of the arts as a right, an obligation, and a wonderful privilege. 

The Field does not give out contact information. Donation information (including contact details) for contributions to artists are only given to the artist. 


In 1985, Wendy Lasica founded The Field as a performance space in SoHo. The Field was incorporated as a non-profit in 1986 as Performance Zone, Inc., with a dedicated mission to serve performing artists.

After Wendy's departure, and at a pivotal transition point, The Field was put in the savvy hands of Steve Gross and other emerging performers. This ambitious group of DIY artists got together to show their work, give each other supportive and concrete aesthetic feedback (Fieldwork), and discuss strategies to get their work seen and financed. From this informal and rigorous peer-to-peer paradigm, Steve built programs for the larger community so that they too could successfully navigate the performing arts landscape - and thus, an arts service organization was born. (From this modest and intimate origin, The Field organically grew into the nationally recognized arts service organization that we are today.)

Now in our 31st year, more than 1,100 performing artists (and their 7,500 collaborators) come to The Field each year to build their businesses. Under our stewardship, artists produce 1,200 shows for more than 400,000 audiences around the world. Our services are replicated in 13 cities across the U.S. and Europe (via the Field Network) from Miami to Chicago to Berlin. In tandem with our continual growth, we remain true to our grassroots origin and artist-centered mission to: strategically serve the myriad artistic and administrative needs of independent performing artists and companies who work in the fields of dance, theater, music, text, and performance art. Our core values of affordability, accessibility, and rigorous delivery infuse all of our interactions.


2016: Annual Report | Financial Audit | 990 Tax Return
2015: Financial Audit | 990 Tax Return

For previous years' financial reporting, email Clay Schudel at clay@thefield.org.