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New Coalition Launches $10 Million Fund for Emergency Artist Relief

Artist Relief will distribute unrestricted, individual $5,000 relief grants to artists across the country.

NEW YORK CITY: A coalition of seven national arts grantsmakers have teamed up to create a national, multidisciplinary direct-to-artist COVID-19 relief fund, Artist Relief. The fund launches today with $10 million in funding, including $5 million in seed funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and aims to provide unrestricted $5,000 relief grants directly to artists, actors, and directors to assist with financial emergencies due to the impact of the coronavirus closures.

Artist Relief will also serve as an informational resource and it will mark the co-launch of the COVID-19 Impact Survey for Arists and Creative Workers, which was designed by Americans for the Arts to identify and address the needs of artists moving forward. Creative Capital will also maintain a publicly available database of resources to support artists’ well-being.

“In hard times like these, we turn to the arts to illuminate and help us make meaning and find connection,” said Elizabeth Alexander, president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, in a statement. “Without immediate intervention, individual artists and the arts ecosystem of which they are the foundation could sustain irreparable damage. As artists confront these new fiscal realities, we are proud to support this vial effort to address artists’ urgent needs. We call on others to join us in supporting artists so they may continue to be our lights, chroniclers, and connectors throughout this crisis and beyond.”

Grant applications are open now online, and practicing artists 21 or older living an all 50 states, territories, and Tribal Nations working in any discipline are eligible. Artist Relief will prioritize those demonstrating the most severe financial need, with an emphasis on spreading the funding across disciplines and geographies. Applications will be assessed in collaboration with cultural nonprofits across the country, who will assist in the selection process. The fund will operate through the next six months while monitoring the impact of the pandemic.

Organizers plan to continue to fundraise beyond this launch in an effort to help with the escalating needs of the nation’s artists. Artist Relief is also accepting tax-deductible donations on its website, with 100 percent of donations applied directly to artist aid.

“As the COVID-19 crisis unfolds, it is becoming increasingly clear that the only way forward is to work together to tackle this massive challenge,” said United STates Artists board chair Ed Henry in a statement. “We hope this initial $10 million investment is just the beginning of a fund that will reach as many artists as possible during this difficult time.”

The coalition partners are the Academy of American Poets, Artadia, Creative Capital, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, MAP Fund, National YoungArts Foundation, and United States Artists.

Sarah Arison. (Photo by Nick Garci)

“Now is the time for institutions to come together, each bringing its own strengths, to support the country’s artistic communities in the challenging months that lie ahead,” said National YoungArts Foundation board chair Sarah Arison in a statement. “We hope this coalition will directly impact artists who have lost income sources and opportunities and are in dire need.”

Artist Relief is launching with a $5 million seed gift from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, to match an initial $5 million in funding provided by the 7G Foundation, Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation, Amazon Literary Partnership, Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Arison Arts Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, Ford Foundation, Helen Frankenthaler Foundation COVID-19 Relief Effort, Jerome Foundation, Joan Mitchell Foundation, Kraus Family Foundation, LeRoy Neiman and Janet Byrne Neiman Foundation, Metabolic Studio, Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts, Pritzker Pucker Family Foundation, Richard Salomon Family Foundation, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Sue Hostetler and Beau Wrigley Family Foundation, Teiger Foundation, Wallace Foundation, and Willem de Kooning Foundation.

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