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April 9, 2020

COVID-19 Relief Fund to Give $10 Million to Artists

NEW YORK—A coalition of more than twenty national arts funders has launched an emergency relief fund that will provide millions of dollars to artists struggling financially in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, which has more than 400,000 confirmed cases of the virus. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation kick-started the initiative with a $5 million gift that was matched by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Ford Foundation, the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts, and the Willem de Kooning Foundation, among other charitable organizations.

Called the Artist Relief fund, the grant program will operate for at least six months, possibly longer depending on the impact of the pandemic. In its first round of grants, 2,000 applicants will receive $5,000 in unrestricted relief. Cultural producers living in all fifty states, territories, and tribal nations are eligible. Since there are more than 2.5 million artists working in the US, according to a 2019 study by the National Endowment for the Arts, the coalition will continue to fundraise and will strive to surpass the initial $10 million contribution to the fund.

“In hard times like these, we turn to the arts to illuminate and help us make meaning and find connection, said Elizabeth Alexander, the president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. “Without immediate intervention, individual artists and the arts ecosystem of which they are the foundation could sustain irreparable damage. As artists confront these new fiscal realities, we are proud to support this vital effort to address artists’ urgent needs. We call on others to join us in supporting artists so they may continue to be our lights, chroniclers, and connectors throughout this crisis and beyond.”

In addition to administering grants, the initiative will also conduct the COVID-19 Impact Survey for Artists and Creative Workers. Developed by Americans for the Arts, the survey will collect information from cultural producers and use that data to better understanding the immediate and longterm needs of artists. To learn of other resources available, artists can visit the website of coalition member Creative Capital, which is maintaining a database of organizations and other programs offering relief to artists based in the US.

Responding to the Artist Relief fund, composer, performer, and interdisciplinary artist Meredith Monk, a recipient of numerous awards from the various coalition partners, said: “Art is an antidote. We need its power of healing in our world right now. These seem like impossible times, and they would be, if it weren’t for artists and those who support them.”

Grant applications can be submitted on artistrelief.org.

The full list of funders is as follows:

7|G Foundation
Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation
Amazon Literary Partnership The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts
Arison Arts Foundation
Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation
Ford Foundation
Helen Frankenthaler Foundation COVID-19 Relief Effort
Jerome Foundation
Joan Mitchell Foundation
Kraus Family Foundation
LeRoy Neiman and Janet Byrne Neiman Foundation
Metabolic Studio
Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts
Pritzker Pucker Family Foundation
Richard Salomon Family Foundation
Robert Rauschenberg Foundation
The Sue Hostetler and Beau Wrigley Family Foundation
Teiger Foundation
The Wallace Foundation
The Willem de Kooning Foundation

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