The See Lighting Foundation has launched a monthly donation campaign to help support immigrant workers in need of financial support due to the theatre shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The group hopes to distribute $500 monthly grants to theatre artists, including scenic, prop, and costume designers, wig and make-up artists, lighting designers, sound designers, and projection designers.
“There is a lack of resources for low-income immigrant freelance artists in NYC,” said founder Cha See, who is a lighting designer for shows like one in two and What to Send Up When It Goes Down. “Applying for unemployment benefits is a huge risk for them, and many times they are not even eligible to receive benefits. Visa holders are issued their visas to allow them to do specific work in the U.S. so they cannot even seek work outside of theatre design legally.”
In addition to See, the group's organizers include scenic designer Kimie Nishikawa (The Headlands, Ain't No Mo) and Brooklyn–based costume designer Rodrigo Muñoz.
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The relief program was formed in May after See experienced a loss of work for the foreseeable future and became frustrated with the lack of government resources available because of her visa status as an immigrant. In early May, See launched a GoFundMe Campaign to raise $20,000 to go directly to immigrant artists in the theatre community, which inspired others to get involved and, in turn, form The See Lighting Foundation.
To donate, click here.