Leon Levy Archives Center Arts & Humanities

The Foundation supports several programmatic initiatives at cultural institutions that are designed to expand knowledge and encourage artistic efforts at the highest levels. It also provides unrestricted support to important organizations in the visual, performing and literary arts and humanities, mainly those located in New York City.


Mahler score, Courtesy NYPhilharmonic

Leon Levy Archives and Catalogues Program

The Foundation’s archives and catalogues program helps arts and humanities institutions process, preserve and use the important contents of their archives and store rooms, with the ultimate goal of making them more available to historians, writers, film-makers, and other scholars. MORE>>


The Moynihan Chair at the Maxwell School, Syracuse University

Amy Ellen Schwartz, an internationally renowned scholar of education policy, public finance, and urban economics, will join the Maxwell School of Syracuse University this fall as Daniel Patrick Moynihan Chair in Public Affairs. Schwartz, a professor of public policy, education, and economics at New York University, where she also serves as director of the interdisciplinary Institute for Education and Social Policy, will join Maxwell in August 2014 with a joint appointment in the Department of Public Administration and International Affairs and the Department of Economics.  The Moynihan Chair was endowed in 2007 by the Leon Levy Foundation in honor of the late senator, who was a longtime friend and former faculty member of the Maxwell School.


Courtesy BLP

The Brooklyn Public Library

After receiving a  Foundation grant to plan for a pioneering Information Commons at the Central Library — a communal, interactive destination space for students, scholars and all library users that will stress shared technology-based information — the Brooklyn Public Library was awarded an additional $3.25 million to create the Commons. The groundbreaking took place in June, 2011, and the Commons opened in January, 2013. The 5,500-square-foot space provides access to many electronic resources, collaborative work spaces and classes.

Here’s how a regular rated the space on Brooklyn Based, a website for Brooklynites.


“An Eloquent Beginning” Program, 2008, Courtesy LLCB

Leon Levy Center for Biography, Graduate Center-City University of New York

With gifts totaling more than $5.1 million, the Graduate Center of the City University of New York has created this center, the intersection of the craft of biography and the research disciplines of the academy. It is a hub for writers, scholars, students and readers that is designed to bring fresh, innovative voices to the practice of biography and to strengthen its position within the academy.

Guided by prize-winning biographer Gary Giddins, the Center each year is home to four biography fellows and two dissertation fellows working on biographies.  The Center hosts an annual lecture by a celebrated biographer, a series of talks by working biographers and an annual conference for both scholars and the public. In 2013, acclaimed author David Levering Lewis gave the sixth annual Leon Levy Biography Lecture, following Robert Caro, Stacy Schiff, Ron Chernow, Hilary Spurling and Robert Massie in previous years.


Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts Symphonic Masters

As part of the Bravo Lincoln Center Campaign, the Leon Levy Foundation is sponsoring the Symphonic Masters Series at Lincoln Center. The 2011/2012 concert season begins with three performances by Sir Colin Davis leading the London Symphony Orchestra. The series also includes performances by the Vienna Symphony Orchestra , the Pittsburgh Symphony and Academy of St. Martin in the Fields featuring Joshua Bell.


Studio at MacDowell Colony, © Victoria Sambunaris

Support Grants to Outstanding Artists, Scholars and Students

The Foundation provides support to three institutions that nurture work by outstanding individuals.

  • The John Simon Guggenheim Foundation uses its grant to supplement funding to Fellows with no academic or institutional affiliation, helping to cover the costs of their research, artistic endeavors, and living expenses.
  • The MacDowell Colony offers grants to individuals who would not otherwise be able to afford the time away that a residency requires. The money may be used to cover rent, childcare, and other expenses that accrue during a residency, to pay equipment costs and to replace lost income.
  • NYU Institute of Fine Arts provides travel grants to students seeking an advanced degree in art history, archaeology or conservation. The grants, available at the end of their first year, allow them to travel during the summer months to see works of art and architecture of scholarly interest anywhere in the world.