A coalition of organizations administering the Artist Relief fund—the Academy of American Poets, Artadia, Creative Capital, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, MAP Fund, National YoungArts Foundation, and United States Artists—has raised nearly $20 million since launching in April and has extended grant-making through December.
The initiative, which provides rapid, unrestricted $5,000 relief grants to artists facing financial emergencies due to the impact of COVID-19, launched with $10 million, consisting of $5 million in seed funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation matched with $5 million in contributions from various foundations.
The Mellon Foundation has now contributed an additional $2.5 million to the fund; recent funding also includes a $1 million gift and partnership with Hardly Strictly Bluegrass; increased support from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, Helen Frankenthaler Foundation COVID-19 Relief Effort, and Robert Rauschenberg Foundation; and new funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies, Bonnie Cashin Foundation, Cy Twombly Foundation, Donald A. Pels Charitable Trust, The Herb Alpert Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, Poetry Foundation, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, and the Walter & Elise Haas Fund. The coalition has also taken in contributions totaling nearly $1 million from thousands of individuals across the country.
Artist Relief has received over 130,000 applications from artists in all states and territories across 10 disciplines: Craft, Dance, Design, Film, Media, Music, Theater & Performance, Traditional Arts, Visual Art, and Writing. Applicants demonstrating the most severe needs in four categories—rent, food, medical, and dependent care—have been prioritized, with Artist Relief distributing $13.5 million in funding to 2,700 individuals to date.
“As this public health crisis continues to rage, it has become clear that there is no real safety net for artists. As institutions reopen, they do so without their education departments, positions once filled by artists. Musicians have seen their gigs vanish, and poets and writers who lack healthcare find themselves more vulnerable than ever before. And now, as fall begins, swaths of creative practitioners nationwide might lose their adjunct positions,” says Jennifer Benka, president and executive director of the Academy of American Poets, a coalition partner. “It is imperative that we continue this fund to provide this bridge of relief for as many artists as we can.”
Artists needing support can apply online at ArtistRelief.org. Tax-deductible donations can still be made; 100 percent of donations will be applied directly to aid and will help extend the fund for as long as possible.