India Foundation for the Arts

India Foundation for the Arts

India Foundation for the Arts [IFA] is an independent, nationwide philanthropy, professionally managed, and dedicated to strengthening the arts in India. Established as a public trust in 1993, IFA is headquartered in Bangalore. Its founder-director, Anmol Vellani, previously worked for the Ford Foundation. IFA’s mission is to enrich the practice, knowledge, public access to, and experience of the arts in India, by providing strategic support for innovative projects and capacity building across all the arts.

Moving beyond existing support for the presentation of Indian artistic expression, IFA gives focused and consistent attention to strengthening underlying artistic processes, overcoming constraints on creativity, seeding innovation, addressing systemic issues in the arts sector, and connecting the arts to other fields of human endeavour.


IFA believes that philanthropy is a complex activity that requires expert and professional attention. Constituted on a national basis, the Board of Trustees is closely involved in determining IFA’s management policies and professional goals. The Executive Director, Anmol Vellani, is an experienced professional in arts management and organized philanthropy.

The concern for professional involvement is also reflected in IFA’s staff composition. Programme staff, drawn from different cultural environments and artistic disciplines, take independent responsibility for developing grant-making ideas and initiatives, and are encouraged to be responsive to unfolding needs and new influences in the arts.


IFA’s grant programmes variously respond to existing demand for assistance, while also giving encouragement to new perspectives and directions in the arts. Our support encompasses all forms of cultural expression, while accommodating work that falls outside specific domains of art, blurs disciplinary boundaries or anticipates new modes of artistic production and presentation. IFA has so far made over 190 grants across 17 states.

Currently IFA offers support under four programmes:

"The arts research and documentation programme" supports research by arts scholars and practitioners. TheAttention is given to research into the construction of cultural traditions and the development of new methodolgies for studying the contemporary arts. Our support also encourages archiving, research and writing in the local languages.

"The arts education programme" is concerned to enhance the role of the arts in education. Priority is given to projects that create material resources, build infrastructure and strengthen advocacy for arts education. Grants currently support independent arts initiatives in learning contexts, the introduction of arts curricula in schools, and efforts to make the arts more meaningful to the wider public.

"The extending arts practice" supports artists and art groups with an interest in extending, building upon or interrogating their existing work in different ways. Artists willing to experiment with an untried form, develop their practice through exchange and collaboration, work with new materials, try out a fresh style or idiom, or evolve new modes of artistic production are funded under this programme.

"The new performance programme" commissions productions in theatre, music, dance or other forms of performance art. These productions could straddle different performance genres, explore multilingualism in performance, use new media in innovative ways, or address subjects that have not been widely explored in performance.

IFA also offers "special grants" for initiatives that do not fit within the framework of any of our other funding programmes. These grants are available, for example, for non-profit art organizations to work towards becoming more self-reliant; for the formation of collectives or alliances to address the interest of specific art forms or the field of the arts in general; for artists to work in difficult or unusual environments or in response to challenging new social or political developments; and for projects concerned with community art practices that address issues of livelihood, revitalization and sustenance.

IFA has established a strong presence not only as a funding agency but also as a resource for the arts and grant-making sector at large. Grantees are given information and advice on expertise and materials relevant to their work, and alternative avenues of support for their projects. New philanthropic initiatives have drawn on our experience in strategic grant making, fundraising and institution building. We have also been appreciated for our role in facilitating the work of other grant makers, cultural organizations, universities, festival authorities and networks, both in India and abroad.

Board of Trustees

Rashmi Poddar, "Art History, Aesthetics", "Mumbai"Chairperson

Francis Wacziarg, "Commerce, Heritage Conservation, New Delhi" Githa Hariharan, "Literature, New Delhi"Jitish Kallat, "Visual Arts, Mumbai" Jerry Rao, "Industry, Bangalore"Lalit Bhasin, "Law, New Delhi" M. V. Subbiah, "Industry, Chennai"Mani Narayanswami, "Civil Service, Industry, Bangalore"N S Raghavan, "Finance, Bangalore"Priya Paul, "Industry, New Delhi"Nandita Palchoudhuri, "Crafts, Kolkata"Ravi Nedungadi, "Finance, Bangalore"Romi Khosla, "Architecture, New Delhi"Shyam Benegal, "Cinema, Mumbai"Simone Tata, "Industry, Mumbai"

IFA's Patrons

Amitav Ghosh, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Ebrahim Alkazi, Padmabhushan Sri Lalgudi G Jayaraman, Mrinalini Sarabhai, Naseeruddin Shah, Shekhar Kapur, Syed Haider Raza, Raja Syed Muzaffar Ali

External links

* [ IFA website]
* [ "Collaborating, the artistic way", The Hindu, Mar 25, 2002]
* [ "The shah of screen and stage", The Hindu, Aug 28, 2003] ]
* "The art of grants", The Hindu, Dec 08, 2003] ] [ [ A treasure trove from Assam ] ] [ [ The Hindu Business Line : Mixing business with ... spirituality ] ]
* []
* []


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