Artist Relief’s first funding cycle ended last night at midnight on April 24. Since launching on April 8, the coalition of seven national arts grantmakers received over 55,000 applicants for its $5,000 emergency relief grant. It also received more than 11,000 responses to the new COVID-19 Impact Survey for Artists and Creative Workers, which is being co-presented with Americans for the Arts. The results portray a dire reality for the country’s artists, and underscore the necessity of direct and immediate financial support.
Artist Relief has raised an additional $1.1 million from various partnerships and online, individual contributions.
Survey findings include:
• 62% have become fully unemployed because of COVID-19
• 95% have experienced income loss from COVID-19
• The average decline in estimated total annual income is $27,103
• 66% can’t access supplies/resources/spaces/people necessary for their creative work
• 80% do not yet have a plan to recover from the crisis
The survey was designed by Americans for the Arts to better identify and address the needs of artists and creative workers, and ensure that the 5 million creative workers in the United States are supported and advocated for during the ongoing crisis and eventual recovery. Respondents include practicing artists, teaching artists, creative workers, culture bearers, and hobby artists. Real-time survey results can be viewed at www.americansforthearts.org/CovidArtistDashboard.
“These survey results will prove to be a key piece to further our local, state, and federal policy efforts specific to individual creative workers in the next phase of COVID-19 recovery. Americans for the Arts is steadfastly committed to ensuring that creative workers can sustain their practice,” said Robert L. Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts.
Government and local support
AFTA has been working with state and local arts advocacy leaders to strengthen the key provisions recently secured through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. By reaching out to their members of Congress and state officeholders, Americans for the Arts is working to build a stronger future for creative workers who operate as self-employed, freelance or independent contractors.
“The Impact Survey organized by AFTA is a critical element of Artist Relief. While it is heartening to see artists do what they can for their communities, this data is sobering and makes it clear that creative workers need significant advocacy on their behalf to ensure they survive this crisis,” said Deana Haggag, President and CEO of United States Artists, an Artist Relief coalition member
Swamped with applicants
Though Artist Relief received over 50,000 applications in its first funding cycle, its current financial only allows for the funding of 200 artists. Though expected, this stark difference between need and resources emphasize the urgency with which Artist Relief needs to expand. Since launch, Artist Relief has raised an additional $1.1 million from various partnerships and online, individual contributions.
Artist Relief has also initiated a new partnership tier, so as to better impact disciplines and communities across the country. As the coalition’s first Field Partner, Sundance Institute will lend its expertise in the worlds of film, media and theatre, invest directly into the relief fund to act as a regranting channel for independent artists in those fields, and support the overall development and refinement of Artist Relief’s efforts to assist artists affected by COVID-19. Additional Field Partners will be announced in the coming weeks.
Additionally, next week Artist Relief will begin a series of weekly moderated conversations and curated wellness sessions designed to inform and offer community during the COVID-19 crisis.
Artist Relief is an emergency initiative, relying on the support of a growing number of foundations and individual donors, and will continue to evolve as the needs of the country’s artists shift over the coming months. Moving forward, news updates can be found on Artist Relief’s website and on Instagram (@artistrelief). Tax-deductible donations can be made at artistrelief.org; 100 percent of donations will be applied directly to aid.
ABOUT ARTIST RELIEF
Artist Relief is an initiative organized by the Academy of American Poets, Artadia, Creative Capital, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, MAP Fund, National YoungArts Foundation, and United States Artists—all small to mid-sized national arts grantmakers—that have come together in this unprecedented moment guided by the understanding that the wellbeing of artists has financial, professional, social, and mental dimensions, and should be fostered with a holistic framework of support.
ABOUT AMERICANS FOR THE ARTS
Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America. With offices in Washington, D.C. and New York City, it has a record of 60 years of service. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Additional information is available at www.AmericansForTheArts.org.