2016 Van Lier Fellowships

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Cycle 1: Acting & Directing

Are you an Asian American actor or director, age 30 or younger, living in New York City? Apply now for an Asian American Arts Alliance Van Lier Fellowship! The fellowship includes:


a) Unrestricted cash grant of $12,000 per Fellow during the fellowship cycle

b) Eight-month residency with the Alliance, which includes a leadership coaching series, artistic mentorship with a mid-career theater professional, and professional technical resources.

The Alliance is thrilled to be offering this extraordinary opportunity to young Asian American theater professionals in New York City, which is supported from a grant from the New York Community Trust. The Alliance hopes that programs such as the Van Lier Fellowships will help advance the careers of exceptional young Asian American theater artists at pivotal moments, providing the public recognition, financial support, and artistic guidance that will impact them across a lifetime of making work.



The Asian American Arts Alliance is pleased to administer, with support from the New York Community Trust, the 2016 Van Lier Fellowships. This year, the Alliance will be recognizing theater artists in the categories of Acting and Directing. 

The Alliance’s mission is to strengthen Asian American arts and cultural groups through resource sharing, promotion, and community building. In line with these efforts, it is the aim of the Alliance’s Van Lier Fellowships to develop early-career, individual Asian American artists living in New York City.

Created by the will of Sally Van Lier, the Trust carries out Edward and Sally Van Liers’ legacy of arts appreciation by supporting arts groups and training programs to provide education, training, or other support. 

The Alliance will grant two eight-month fellowships to one early-career Asian American actor and one early-career Asian American director, age 30 or younger, whose work shows outstanding promise, who may benefit from further professional artistic development, and who is of limited financial means.

The fellowship recipients will each receive an unrestricted cash stipend of $12,000 and an eight-month fellowship tailored to respond to the unique needs of each Fellow, which includes artistic mentorship with an established mid-career theater professional, leadership coaching, and a range of technical support.

The Alliance will be administering an open application process this year.



Application forms must be submitted electronically by 11:59pm EST on Monday, April 10. 


The Fellowship

In addition to the cash award of $12,000, each Fellow will participate in an eight-month fellowship term beginning in July 2016 and ending in February 2017. The fellowship is structured in three phases, with each phase led by a different facilitator.


Phase 1: Leadership Coaching

July- September 2016

The selected Fellows will each receive three coaching sessions from leadership coach Farah Bala. These sessions will be highly individualized for each Fellow. Based on what Fellows assess they would like their focus area to be in, their process will enable them to empower themselves as leaders of their vision, craft, and field. 


Phase 2: Artistic Mentorship

September- December 2016

The selected Fellows will each receive artistic mentorship from a mid-career theater professional. The mentorship will include one-on-one meetings with the appointed mentors and potential assistantships. Mentors will be chosen by Alliance staff based on field recommendations, with consideration given to each Fellow’s interests and preferences. Mentors will be announced in the summer.


Phase 3: Alliance Access Capstone Workshop

January- February 2017

The selected Fellows will work with Alliance Director of Public Programs on one community-at-large workshop presentation in February 2017.





Frequently Asked Questions

Who were the Van Liers?

Throughout their lives, Sally Van Lier and her husband Edward were avid visitors to the City’s museums, concerts, and plays, and introduced many young people to the arts.  Sally was a theatrical performer in the New York Theater in the 1920s and appeared in the original production of Showboat. To learn more, visit here.

How do you define ‘outstanding promise’?

The ideal applicant is an early-career theater artist who shows extraordinary clarity of thought and creativity in their artistry andmay realize greater achievement with additional professional development support.  

Do I have to be an Alliance member in order to apply?

No, you do not have to be an Alliance member in order to apply.

What does a good work sample look like?

A good video work sample employs proper lighting, clear audio, and best represents the applicant’s artistry. For the Acting work sample portion, at least one video sample must be shot from the waist up.

How is the 2016 Van Lier Awardee selected?

The awardee will be selected through an open call and jury process. Submitted applications will be reviewed by a jury composed of theater professionals. Current board and staff members of the Alliance will not participate in the review process.

When will the 2016 Van Lier awardees be announced?

The Fellows will be announced in June 2016.

What if I have more questions?


You are welcome to inquire further by contacting Soriya K. Chum, Van Lier Fellowships Manager, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .