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The List: COVID-19 Resources for Artists and Entertainers

Taijuan Moorman Taijuan Moorman The List: COVID-19 Resources for Artists and EntertainersArtwork by Elena Mozhvilo, via Unsplash.
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Updated 5/13/2020: This article will continue to be updated regularly to include additional opportunities and resources for artists affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Note, also, that funds are quickly being exhausted due to this rapidly evolving situation, and the status of any fund can change before this article is updated.

The following are national and a few local funds to assist artists dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and its economic impacts, categorized by funds intended for emergencies, as defined by the organization, and funds to assist with loss of income. Additional funds that are currently closed for applications have been included, in the chance that funds reopen before the article has had an opportunity to be updated.

The majority of national funds are solely available to U.S. citizens and/or U.S. residents, with local funds primarily for artists who live in Columbus and Franklin County.

Immediate Emergency Aid

Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation — The foundation has an emergency grant program for visual arts veterans (painters, printmakers and sculptors with careers spanning at least 10 years) needing immediate assistance as the result of illness, accidents and similar events.

Unfortunately, due to current demand, the foundation is “not able to assist with funds to replace lost or interrupted income.”

Artist Relief — Practicing artists 21 years or older that are experiencing “dire” financial emergencies can apply for $5,000 grants from this initiative. Dire is defined by the fund as the “lack or imminent endangerment of essentials such as housing, medicine, childcare and food.” Artists must show they are a practicing artists by demonstrating they are making a living from their art.

Update: Artist Relief Project — Any individual artist who has had cancellations and closures related to COVID-19 can apply for the Artist Relief Project’s emergency relief and support fund. The fund has only two requirements: artists must be actively working and committed to the arts, and must have been financially impacted by the crisis.

The Artists’ FellowshipThis grant program is currently limiting assistance to professional visual artists facing immediate medical emergencies or those who are dealing with the aftermath of such an emergency. Applicants must be able to provide current documentation for this need, as well as demonstrate professional fine arts experience through documented sales and exhibition history.

Authors League Fund — Authors, playwrights, journalists, critics, essayists and poets experiencing a medical emergency can submit an application for Authors League Fund assistance. Applicants should be career writers with a wide body of work and a somewhat broad distribution of that work.

CERF+ Emergency Assistance — This emergency fund is for craft artists who have spent at least the last three years earning the majority of their income from the sale of their work, or artists who have a history of producing “high quality” folk and traditional art. Applicants should have experienced a recent, unforeseen event that significantly impacts their ability to produce, exhibit or showcase their work.

Sweet Relief Musicians Fund — Professional musicians — including vocalists, songwriters, composers, arrangers and instrumentalists — and music industry workers — including artist managers, tour managers and crew workers, booking agents, producers, recording engineers, music teachers and publicists — can apply for the fund if they primarily make their income from these fields and have currently or recently had a serious medical condition.

Aid for Loss of Income

The Actors Fund — Many of the funds highlighted on this website to serve entertainers in financial need are not relevant to Ohioans, however there is a non-union workers fund for people that work in the performing arts and entertainment industry, including those in theater, film, television, music and dance — behind the scenes or otherwise.

To be eligible for The Actors Fund, you must have entertainment industry earnings over $6,500 for three out of the last five years. Dancers must have recent annual earnings of at least $2,000 for three years. More information here.

The Arts Administrators of Color Network — The group’s Arts and Culture Leaders of Color Emergency Fund is providing $200 in emergency funds for U.S.-based artists and administrators of color affected by COVID-19. The fund is on a first-come, first-serve basis, however, the group will be accepting funds indefinitely. Apply for the fund here.

The Blues Foundation — The COVID-19 Blues Musician Emergency Relief Fund has been created to provide assistance to full-time blues musicians whose work and income has been significantly impacted by the pandemic. Awards are primarily intended for immediate needs such as food, rent and mortgages, utilities, phone and car payments, and possibly medical insurance premiums. Musicians must contact the foundation directly to apply.

Columbus Artists Relief Fund — Local organizers have set out to assist artists who have experienced event cancellations, canceled tours and other loss of income due to COVID-19 with a GoFundMe page that has so far raised over $20,000. The fund is open to individual artists and gig workers of all disciplines.

Due to high demand, payments have been capped at $100 per person, but most applicants can receive a payment within one or two days. Apply here.

Columbus Curbside Concert series — With support from the Greater Columbus Arts Council, the Columbus Curbside Concert series is accepting performance applications for paid gigs. Complete the interest form for potential booking here.

Comedy Gives Back — Road to Artdom Foundation Comedy Gives Back is a nonprofit project giving immediate relief for working comedians in need. The project is giving out $500 grants to stand-up comics who have lost gigs and income due to recent shutdowns on a first-come, first-serve basis.

In order to qualify, you must have been a working stand-up comedian for at least a year, made a minimum of $12,000 and no more than $70,000 and demonstrate proof of recently canceled shows. Apply here.

Dramatists Guild Foundation — Dramatists (i.e. playwrights, composers and lyricists) can apply to the Dramatists Guild Foundation for financial assistance to cover basic living expenses. Applications will be processed based on the severity of need.

Foundation for Contemporary Arts — Experimental artists that have had canceled or postponed performances and exhibitions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic can apply for the FCA Emergency Grants COVID-19 Fund. One-time $1,500 grants will be disbursed to individual artists who produce work of a “contemporary, experimental nature.” Performers and designers are not eligible.

Greater Columbus Arts Council — The art council’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief for Artists grant program, designed to assist Franklin County artists, has been reopened and will grant artists up to $1,000 for their most pressing needs, including rent, food, basic supplies, medical expenses and the like. Find more information here.

The Jazz Foundation — Jazz and blues musicians seeking assistance with basic living expenses can apply to the foundation’s COVID-19 Musicians’ Emergency Fund. Musicians must contact the foundation for assistance.

Missed Tour — Artists and bands who have been displaced from touring due to the pandemic can list their merchandise on the site in order to help offset lost revenue, free of charge.

PEN America — PEN America’s Writers’ Emergency Fund will distribute one-time grants of $500 to $1,000 based on “applications that demonstrate an inability to meet an acute financial need, especially one resulting from the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.” Fiction and non-fiction authors, poets, playwrights, screenwriters, translators and journalists can apply for assistance. Applicants should be professional writers with published work.

Temporarily on Hold

The Drama League — The Drama League has temporarily suspended new applicants as of now. Once it reopens, the Directors Emergency Relief Fund will award grants of up to $599 for stage directors who have suffered lost wages because of canceled or rescheduled specific theatrical productions due to the pandemic.

Rauschenberg Emergency GrantsThis fund will not begin accepting new applications until its next cycle, which will open on May 18 and close on June 15. The fund provides one-time grants of up to $5,000 to visual and media artists and choreographers facing unexpected medical emergencies.

Update: MusiCares — After exhausting more than $13 million in funding in support of professional musicians who have lost income due to canceled work opportunities, the Recording Academy’s MusiCares initiative is temporarily on hold. The fund will not reopen or accept new applications until additional funds are raised.

Update: The Musicians Foundation — As of May 7, the Musicians Foundation’s CV19 Emergency Relief Aid Program application has been closed. It will be reopened after submitted grant applications have been reviewed. At that point, one-time grants of up to $200 will be available to professional performers, educators and composers with at least five years of experience.

Find more COVID-19 resources for artists and arts organizations via the National Endowment for the Arts website.

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