The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts is a 501(c)(3) public charity, incorporated in New York in 1992.
EFA began as a small grant-giving organization. Beginning in 1993, the GIVA Program (Grants for Individuals in the Visual Arts) awarded grants to 107 exceptional artists over the course of nine years.
In April 1994, the International Studio Program, a career-development residency, became a program of EFA. In 2006 when the program could stand on its own, the now titled International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP) became an independent organization, and by 2008 had completed the move from the EFA Center to its own space in Brooklyn where it continues to thrive.
In May 1998, EFA purchased a twelve-story building on West 39th Street in Manhattan, now known as the EFA Center. Working with capital funding from a private foundation, the building was converted into individual work-studios, a gallery space, and space reserved for a workshop.
With the development of the EFA Center, EFA shifted its focus away from grant giving to provide longer-term, practical support for individual artists and foster dialogue between artists, art communities and the public.
In autumn 1998, the EFA Studio Program selected its first artist members. Today, more than 89 professional artists work in the subsidized individual studios of the EFA Center community.
In late 2005, EFA’s Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop Program opened, providing a crucial and affordable workspace, open to all artists who seek to learn and pursue their printmaking practice.
The EFA Gallery hosted exhibitions from 2001–2008. It was re-launched as the EFA Project Space Program in September 2008 in order to function as more than just a gallery, providing a more collaborative approach and a broad scope of energetic projects and events that increase its reach to diverse New York communities.