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COVID-19 Response: Artist Relief to Award $10 Million in Emergency Grants


COVID-19 has swiftly, drastically, and indefinitely altered the lives of many artists. From lost work and cancelled engagements to unforeseen medical expenses, coronavirus is making it incredibly tough for creative community members to assume the costs of caretaking, food, housing, and healthcare. At the same time, creating new work can be difficult or impossible for a range of reasons, from limited access to media to mental health struggles. 

In order to serve practicing artists in dire need (including visual and performing artists in all media as well as writers), the Artist Relief partnership has launched emergency grants for artists. Grants of $5,000 will be awarded from a $10 million dollar fund in five cycles through September of 2020. 

Coalition members discussing emergency grants on a video call

Coalition members on a call, courtesy of Artist Relief

The organization answered a few questions for us as a collective on this important opportunity.

How did the coalition behind Artist Relief come together? How was funding sought? 

Artist Relief came together in mid-March. Leaders of Academy of American Poets, Artadia, Creative Capital, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, MAP Fund, National YoungArts Foundation, and United States Artists joined together, realizing that a network of small to mid-sized grantmakers would be nimble enough to organize on a local, grassroots level and then scale up together to help artists across the country. We gathered support from funders like the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, who provided $5 million in seed funding, and other foundations, and then launched on Wednesday, April 8.

What tips do you have for other organizations looking to give back and mobilize quickly?

Pay attention to the needs of your community. If you can pool your resources, do so. Above all, mobilize your networks as quickly as possible. If you want to get involved with Artist Relief, drop us an email!

How did you decide who would be eligible for grant funding and what materials you would ask for?

Knowing that the need greatly outweighs the opportunities currently available, we set out to help as many artists as possible, as quickly as we could. We designed the application process with those goals in mind.

If you’re a professional artist, living and working in the United States, and are in serious financial need, chances are that you’re eligible. For full eligibility requirements, check out our website. The application only takes a few minutes.

What do you hope this grant accomplishes (in the short-term and longer term)?

In the short term we want to help artists with immediate financial relief. We’re continuing to actively fundraise, and are always looking for more people to get involved.

In the longer term we want to gain a better understanding of the issues facing the country’s artists. This is why we partnered with Americans for the Arts to co-launch the COVID-19 Impact Survey for Artists and Creative Workers. If you’re an artist affected by COVID-19, we hope you’ll share your story by taking the survey.

How can the public best support artists during this time? How can artists best support each other?

You can make a tax-deductible donation to Artist Relief here. 100% of the funds go directly to helping artists! Artist Relief coalition partner Creative Capital has developed a list of informational resources for artists. You can find that on our website as well.

Looking for more emergency relief grant opportunities? Try Submittable’s Discover feature: we have a COVID19 tag, or use search times like “emergency,” “COVID,” and “grants.” If you’ve got timely creative work to share, here’s a list of potential markets. Find out how other Submittable organizations are responding to COVID-19 here

Rachel Mindell

Rachel Mindell is Senior Editor for Submittable's Marketing Team. She also writes and teaches poetry. You can find Rachel's creative work here: rachelmindell.com