Emergency funds available to artists

Hi everyone. As the world has rapidly changed and seemingly collapsed overnight, we’ve been trying to keep up with every new development, just trying to make sense of it all while also trying to protect ourselves and our communities, all while knowing that the financial repercussions of this will echo like aftershocks long after the threat of the virus has passed…and it is only just beginning. Daily life has profoundly changed, and with that has come profound fear—fear for our health and the health of our loved ones, but also fear for our livelihoods, as so many of us are working artists who live not just paycheck to paycheck, but project to project.

Whether you are a performing artist whose work is based on public and commissioned performances, a community-based artist whose work is largely driven by events and gatherings, a visual artist whose work is based in sales (often driven by events) or commissions that have dried up at a time when people have halted all non-essential spending, or do any number of other forms of creative work that has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing social and economic shutdown, there are resources that are available to you.

Springboard for the Arts has been working tirelessly on the Artist Emergency Relief Fund to conduct fundraising while making funds available to you as quickly as possible. We have been overwhelmed with requests and will be henceforth prioritizing emergency funding to artists facing structural disparities, but please do not be discouraged to apply for emergency relief regardless of who you are. We will do everything we can to help as many as possible as quickly as possible.

If you are in a position to help, please consider contributing to the Artist Emergency Relief Fund here. If you’re not in a position to help but you are able to share on social media, we need and appreciate that too.

During any time, we are stronger together, but that is especially so during a time like this. While most people are probably focused on their immediate financial needs, necessarily, reaching out to other artists for support in terms of the knowledge they can share may also be helpful. We are our own greatest assets, so take the opportunity to connect with one of our Artist Career Consultants for some guidance, now and in the future, to talk through grant feedback, creative projects, and long-term plans.

We have created a list of other available emergency resources for artists nationwide. You can view the full list here.

Also keep in mind, there are still non-emergency-related funding opportunities available. The deadline to apply for our 20/20 Artist Fellowship for BIPOC and Native artists is March 31. The fellowship includes an unrestricted $15,000 cash award as well as a $5,000 professional development stipend. Apply here.

Applications for the self-directed Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship, awarding 60 artists across six different disciplines with $50,000 distributed over two years, are now open. You have until April 15 to schedule phone appointments with staff to clarify eligibility, and until May 6 to apply. Note that grant funds do not become available until May 2021. For a robust list of 2020 artist grant and residency opportunities available throughout the country and around the world (including ongoing emergency grants), click here. You can also view several guides to different resources and funding opportunities collated by Americans for the Arts here.

We also know that many artists juggle a host of other side jobs to make ends meet, including gig work, non-salaried work, and tipped wages, and many also operate as small business owners. Below you will find more general resources that you may be able to access if any of these categories apply to you.

If you work in hospitality and leisure, particularly restaurants (though some resources are more widely available for all tipped workers), several publishing outlets are maintaining and updating lists of emergency funds and other resources (including free financial and legal advice) available to you. View here and here for some robust lists of relief programs, and know that there may also be resources within your local community not listed on either of these.

If you are a small business owner, the SBA is working directly with governors to provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and nonprofits that have been severely impacted by the coronavirus. The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million. Find more information on the SBA disaster loans here. Facebook has also pledged $100 million in cash grants to small businesses around the world; check for details as they become available here.

If you work for a small company of under 500 people, including part-time work, gig work, and self-employment, you will have access to two weeks of federally mandated paid sick leave; 12 weeks if you have to care for a child who is home due to school closures. For those who are self-employed, this will come in the form of a tax credit. The Labor Department is still working out details, which will be finalized by April 2, but you can read more about it here.

Finally, the United Way is an invaluable resource to other community resources available to anyone who needs them. To see what community resources are available in your area, start by clicking here or dial 211 on your phone for 24/7 assistance.

These are unprecedented times and there are no easy answers or solutions. Please know we will continue doing everything we can to help our artists continue to make a living and a life, a mission that rings truer now than ever.

And please, if you have a moment, tell us what else we can do at Creative Exchange to further inform or inspire you. Take our survey here and tell us what you want to see on this national platform going forward.

Thank you for everything that you do for your communities and for the world. Please keep doing them. Tell us how we can help.

Lead image: Healing Hands, by Ifrah Mansour. Photo credit: Bruce Silcox.