The Costume Industry Coalition, which includes over 50 independent businesses and artisans in the New York City area that create and supply costumes for the entertainment industry, has launched an emergency relief campaign with a matching challenge up to $100,000.
All donations received by September 25 will be matched dollar for dollar, with a fundraising goal set at $4.5 million.
The coalition’s fiscal sponsor is the Artisans Guild of America, a non-profit dedicated to perpetuating the American tradition of the artisan workroom. All donations will be tax-deductible through the AGA, with the majority of the CIC Relief Fund being used to cover rent, employee health insurance, and utilities.
Founding Coalition member John Kristiansen, owner of John Kristiansen New York, Inc., said in a statement, “On March 12th, I went to the emergency room with symptoms of COVID-19. When I was released on March 18th, not only was my shop closed, but my whole industry was shuttered indefinitely. We were compelled to get the CIC together to safeguard our livelihoods—as we are one tentacle of the entertainment industry that cannot pivot to a telecommuting model. We simply can’t build costumes via Zoom.”
Brian Blythe, also a founding member of CIC and Kristiansen’s business manager, added, “We have turned to private donations because in speaking to the Mayor’s office, State Senate and Lieutenant Governor, I kept being told they are waiting for federal relief. While the arts and culture sector adds $877 billion value added to the US economy, employs 5.1 million people and is 4.5 percent of the GDP, it is often overlooked in federal relief packages. And as arts organizations start to fold, the local restaurants, hotels, parking decks, gas stations, dry cleaners, fabric stores, hardware stores will all be impacted. We may be focusing our efforts on New York, but we can’t forget the arts and culture sector is hemorrhaging nationwide.”
New York City's custom costume industry launched the CIC in June to advocate for its own survival in the wake of the ongoing pandemic. Members create and supply costumes for the stage, dance, television/film, opera, cruise ships, and concerts.
Tax-deductible donations can be made by visiting CostumeIndustryCoalition.com.