I spent about three days scouring available sources (Artnet, The Art Newspaper, the Internet) to see what sorts of funds are available for artists impacted by the Covid19 pandemic. The bad news is how little is out there, and many of the significant grants are only for those experiencing medical emergencies. The good news is….well, there really is no good news. None of these looks all that easy to land, and in some cases the application process is incredibly tedious. And some grants, such as the one from Anonymous Was a Woman, have dried up completely. But if you need money, especially in an emergency, see if there’s something here that’s worth a shot.
Before you apply for anything, though, check to see if you might qualify for unemployment. You don’t need to have been let go from a full-time job. The Corona Virus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act has expanded to include “self-employed workers and gig workers.” That is to say, if a significant portion of your income was through workshops and classes that have had to be canceled, you may qualify for unemployment. And the act increases the weekly benefit amount that states currently provide by $600 until July 31, 2020. You can find out more here.
I will be updating this list from time to time, so if you hear of grants out there I may have missed, please let me know! A.L.
Artist Relief Fund is a new coalition of national arts grant makers that came together a month ago to protect the country’s artists in the midst of the COVID19 pandemic. They have raised $10,000,000—enough to provide 100 artists with $5,000 relief grants each week between now and September. “We’re also operating a list of resources for artists, and co-launching the COVID-19 Impact Survey for Artists and Creative Workers, designed by Research Partner Americans for the Arts, to better identify and address the needs of artists moving forward,” says Adam Abdalla, president of the Cultural Counsel. The grants are for those facing “dire financial emergencies” due to the pandemic. For more information, click here.
The Artists Relief Fellowship “provides emergency aid to professional fine artists and their families in times of sickness, natural disaster, bereavement or unexpected extreme hardship,” says the website. “At this time, we are temporarily limiting relief and assistance applications to those qualified applicants who are dealing with immediate MEDICAL emergencies and their aftermaths.”. Requirements are stiff and you must provide extensive documentation, like tax forms, doctor bills, and a résumé. The application process looks rather formidable (nor does the site specify if there is a cap on funds), The board meets monthly through June. Find out more here. (Note that the Joan Mitchell Foundation, which previously had its own grantmaking arm, has joined forces with ARF for the duration of the pandemic.)
The Emergency Grant Program of the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation is dedicated to assisting “mature visual artists in painting, drawing, printmaking, and sculpture.” It’s intended to provide interim financial assistance to those “whose needs are the result of an unforeseen, catastrophic incident, and who lack the resources to meet that situation. Each grant is given as one-time assistance for a specific emergency, examples of which are fire, flood, or emergency medical need. The maximum amount of this grant is $15,000; an award of $5,000 is typical.” The program has no deadlines; for info, click here.
The Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) offers funds to craftspeople infected with the Covid19 virus who “require extensive medical care.” So if you’re sick and qualify as a “maker, designer, potter, ceramicist, mixed media artist, etc.” you may be eligible and can fill out a preliminary inquiry here. The site does not specify the size of grants.
The Rauschenberg Emergency Grants Program provides one-time grants of up to $5000 for “unexpected medical emergencies” (the next cycle opens May 18 and closes June 15). The grants are open to “visual and media artists” and “eligible expenses include, but are not limited to: hospital and doctor bills (including insurance co-pays), tests, physical/occupational therapy, prescription drugs specifically for the emergency medical condition, and emergency dental work.” Click here for info.
The Photographer Fund is what it sounds like—grants to help self-employed shutterbugs impacted by the pandemic. “We will be offering assistance of up to $500,” says the website. “Knowing this isn’t a huge amount, we’re aiming to support as many people as we can—our hope is that this helps independent photographers stay on their feet.” Details are here.
You have until May 1 to apply for a grant from the Harpo Foundation ($15 application fee), which are for “self-defined under-recognized visual artists 21 years or older.” Awards are announced no later than December 1 and offer up to $10,000 for seven to ten applicants. “The foundation seeks to stimulate creative inquiry and to encourage new modes of thinking about art,” says the website. “We view the definitions of art and artist to be open-ended and expansive.” The process, described here, looks fairly simple, requiring only a statement, résumé, and work samples. This one is not tied to the pandemic, but based on talent and promise.
Five grants of $5000 each from Women Photograph will go to support photography projects — either new or in-progress — from visual journalists working in a documentary capacity. One is earmarked for a non-binary or transgender photographer. “Applicants are encouraged to submit a story, rather than singles, as part of the grant application,” says the website. “The images need not be related to the project proposal. Multimedia projects are welcome.” Application deadline is May 15; details are here.
If you’re an artist making work of a “contemporary experimental nature” (e.g. video, installation, collective endeavors, cross-disciplinary pursuits—see past winners here), you may qualify for a $1500 grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Art. The temporary fund has been pulled together “to meet the needs of experimental artists who have been impacted by the economic fallout from postponed or canceled performances and exhibitions,” says the website. During the first two weeks since launching the FCA emergency grants, about 800 applications were received. But applications are reviewed by an all-artist panel at monthly meeting. You will have to create an account through Submittable and proceed from there. The website is not easy to navigate, but this seems the quickest way to get started.
The Colorado-based Artists’ Charitable Fund assists American visual fine artists (painters and sculptors) living anywhere in the United States by paying a portion of their medical/dental/ eye-care bills. For example, the fund has purchased a wheelchair, paid for eye surgery, provided funding for an artificial leg, paid partial medical expenses of several artists who have cancer, as well as other needs for medical assistance. Or so claims a recent issue of Art and Auction. But how to apply seems to be impossible to figure out through a web search. So email the fund coordinator, Judy Archibald, at email@example.com.
Resources in the East and Northeast
The Boston Artist Relief Fund will award grants of $500 to individual artists who live in Boston whose creative practices and incomes are being adversely impacted by Covid19. “We welcome applications from all individual artists living in Boston, but will prioritize lower income artists and artists who have not been funded through City-led grants during this fiscal year (July 1, 2019-present),” says the website. Other details can be found here.
The Cambridge Artist Relief Fund offers individual grants of up to $1,000 to arts organizations and artists who live, work, create, and/or perform in Cambridge, MA. The application process appears to be fairly painless and starts here.
Artists living and working on the Cape can apply for grants from the Cape Cod Arts Relief Fund, which provides one-time assistance of $500. Funding is being distributed through the end of May with applications reviewed weekly. More details.
Residents of New York State can apply to the Max’s Kansas City Project for grants of up to $1000. “We serve as a band-aid to assist the individual through a financially difficult period and do not provide funding to any one individual on an ongoing basis, eg., monthly rent,” says the website. The application process requires an absurd amount of documentation, and all applications “are reviewed and given consideration according to the most critical situations and urgency.” No indication on the site of how often the advisory meets or how quickly you will get funds.
If you’re an artist in New York City, the Mayer Foundation offers grants of around $2000 per person on a rolling basis, but grants are only administered quarterly, with no indication of the time frame on the website. The application procedure looks painless, though, requiring a description of why and what assistance is needed, a “timetable for implementation of goals and objectives” and descriptions of other sources of funding.
Artists who live in the nine-county region surrounding Pittsburgh, PA, can apply to the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council Emergency Fund for grants of up to $500. “At this time, all applicants will be placed on a waiting list and reviewed in the order in which they are received,” says the website. “Funds are distributed based on availability.” There are no deadlines, and the application appears fairly simple.
Maryland State resident artists who are ineligible for unemployment or other forms of relief and who have suffered a loss of income due to Covid19 and related cancellations and closures can apply to the Maryland State Arts Council. The website gives no indication of the size of grants or deadlines for applications, and requirements look downright forbidding. “The artist must submit proof of ineligibility for Unemployment Insurance or proof that they have either exhausted UI benefits, (including Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) or that UI benefits do not fully cover losses sustained as a result of the Governor’s declared State of Emergency in relationship to COVID-19.” If you want to find out if you qualify, it might be smarter to contact one of the staff members.
For those in or near the nation’s capital, Wherewithal Recovery Grants “are available to professional visual artists, as well as moving-image/performance/sound artists with a history of presenting or performing in visual arts contexts (galleries, museums, etc.), living inside the DC-area Beltway,” says the website. Applications are reviewed on a bi-weekly basis every other Friday, but at the time of this writing, the website was in a state of dysfunction. Best move is probably to contact Nathalie von Veyh: firstname.lastname@example.org.
West Coast Resources
Artists of all disciplines residing in Washington State can apply to the Artist Trust Relief Fund. “Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and selected weekly,” says the website, where applications can be made through Submittable. “Grants range from $500-$5,000 based on artists’ needs.” The fund is designed to cover needs incurred through lost income, cancellations and closures, medical expenses, and rent and living expenses.
The Seattle Artist Relief Fund “is aimed at helping those in the greater Seattle arts community who have been financially impacted by cancellations due to COVID-19. Depending on funding levels and amount of requests, priority may be given to artists from communities that have been historically and systemically economically disadvantaged in the Seattle Area: BIPOC artists, transgender & nonbinary artists, and disabled artists—but they will try to help as many artists with need in Seattle as they can.” They raised a bunch of money through GoFundMe, but there is now a waiting list. You can still apply here.
Kings Country residents (Washington State, including Seattle) who are “cultural workers” can apply for one-time grants of up to $2000 from the Cultural Relief Fund, which has raised $1 million for those struggling from the fallout of Covid19. Grants are for those who have suffered “significant financial hardship” or have “an innovative idea that shows significant promise in supporting other King County residents significantly impacted by the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.” The application process, promises the website, takes about 30 minutes, and you can begin here.
The Safety Net Fund offers a maximum grant of $500 per month to artists in the Bay Area “with the intent of helping artists survive and continue to create despite the maelstrom,” says the website. Grantees must live in the Bay Area, “provide proof of artistic endeavor within the last six months,” not be eligible for unemployment, and “have less than $1000 of income within the last 30 days.” The application process is easy. More details here.
Also for Bay Area artists: Artists Now offers $500 to “bring financial support to those artists directly affected by the economic challenges caused by COVID-19.” The grant seems to be restricted to “POC, Women, or LGBTQIA+.and to those “who actively engage with the community through music, dance, creative writing, visual art, performance art, installation, photography, theater, or film.” More details and an application form here.
Recources in the Southwest
In the Austin, TX, area, artists “may apply for up to $500 to replace verifiable lost income due to the cancellation of a specific, scheduled gig or opportunity (i.e. commissions, performances, contracts) due to Coronavirus/COVID-19 precautionary measures.” Priority is given to members of the Austin Creative Alliance and to “applicants facing food or housing insecurity.” ACA says it is “reviewing applications daily, so that funds can be in artists’ hands as quickly as possible. More here.
The Artists’ Medical Fund was founded in 1998 by a group of Santa Fe individuals who were concerned about the problems encountered by professional artists who are uninsured, and thus, liable to serious financial difficulties in the case of medical emergencies. The fund can distribute funds to pharmacies, hospitals, and health care providers but not to individuals. Assistance ranges up to $2,000 and varies depending on the applicant’s circumstances.
Top: Let’s hope it doesn’t come to this. A detail from George Segal’s bronze sculpture The Breadline in Room 2 of the FDR Memorial in Washington, DC