Resources and Emergency Grants for Artists Affected by COVID-19

Miami-based artist Adler Guerrier in the studio at Oolite Arts. Photo by Alex Markow.
Miami-based artist Adler Guerrier in the studio at Oolite Arts. Photo by Alex Markow.

In the midst of the manifold fallouts caused by COVID-19, it’s been heartening to witness friends, families and communities building solidarity together and establishing ongoing support: errand-running for neighbors, organizing emergency funds and mutual aid groups, engaging in empowered forms of action, big and small.

In our continued support of the community that helps make CULTURED what it is, we’ve compiled a list of emergency grants and funds for artists, activists and freelancers of all stripes—often those who make their own hours are facing a one-two punch of no work and no fallback. Because efforts to support those in need will be ongoing, we’ve also included a list of other such lists, as well as additional resources. If you don’t find what you’re looking for here, you might find it at one of the other links.

Please note many of these are donation-based, so feel free to share with potential donors to replenish the funds of these vital grants.

Most grants below are for applicants living in the U.S.

Emergency Grants & Donation-Based Funds

Artist & Activist Relief Fund It’s right in the name: this donation-based fund for small stipends by The Soze Agency is specifically for artists and activists—especially those with children, debt, and medical bills. Round one just passed; $37,500 was given to 143 artists and activists nationwide. Apply for—or donate to!—round two at the link above and also sign up here to receive The Soze Assist, a newsletter of helpful articles and resources.

Arts Leaders of Color Emergency Fund Established by the Arts Administrators of Color Network, folks can donate here in direct support of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) artists and administrators, which the fund defines as "consultants, facilitators, box office staff, seasonal/temporary employees, etc," impacted by COVID-19. On this same page is an application form to apply for available funds generated by the open call for donations.

Behind The Scenes Behind the Scenes offers grants to workers and artists in the entertainment tech industry—those working behind the scenes or cameras in performance venues or on the road—who are dealing with serious illnesses or injuries. They are currently accepting applications from anyone who’s been hospitalized with COVID-19 and is in financial need.

CERF+ COVID-19 Response Fund CERF+, the Craft Emergency Relief Fund—which provides relief loans through their own grants—just launched the COVID-19 Response Fund for artists working in craft disciplines. Emergency grant relief will focus on those infected with the virus and who require intensive medical care.

COVID-19 Mutual Aid Fund for LGBTQI+ BIPOC Folks This donation-based fund, organized by Amita Swadhin with Treva Ellison, Natalie Havlin, Carrie Hawks, Ren-yo Hwang, and Alisa Zipursky, will disperse funds in a rolling jubilee—allocating money to applicants as donations are raised. For the second round of donations, priority goes to Black, Indigenous, disabled, chronically ill, transgender or non-binary folks, as well as sex workers or those who are not employed full-time, not eligible for paid sick leave, or on the cusp of losing housing. More details at the link above; apply to receive funding, donate if you can, and share with others.

Dance/NYC COVID-19 Dance Relief Fund Dedicated to mitigating the impact of COVID-19, Dance/NYC invites freelance dance workers and organizations in the NYC area to apply for funding, with special priority given to communities most affected by the virus—including African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, Native American, disabled, immigrant, and women-identifying artists, and, they note, "those at high risk, including elderly and immunosuppressed artists."

Disabled Creator and Activist Pandemic Relief Volunteers are currently collecting information to organize a relief fund in support of disabled creators and activists who've lost sales due to COVID-19. Fill out the form at the link above if you're interested in staying up-to-date or receiving funding (it seems initial funds will come from telecommuted events featuring the applicants and organized by the volunteers).

Emergency COVID Relief for Sex Workers in New York Organized by the Brooklyn chapter of the Sex Workers Outreach Project, this is another donation-based fund, geared to support those whose needs are compounded by stigma. As of March 16, there was a slowdown in donations; we’re sharing here to continue promoting the growth of funds.

The Equal Sound Corona Relief Fund The donation-based Equal Sound Corona Relief Fund will assist musicians whose gigs and events were cancelled due to COVID-19. If you're a musician who can be paid legally in the US, you're eligible to apply (the fund will not cooperate with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement). There will be delay in the distribution of funds, given the overwhelming requests for assistance.

The Foundation for Contemporary Arts COVID-19 Relief Fund The Foundation will be distributing $1,000 grants to experimental artists who can demonstrate that their exhibitions or performances were cancelled due to the pandemic. Applicants must be individual artists (even if they are representing a larger collective); curators, producers, presenters and organizations are not eligible.

Additionally, if you have ever received a non-emergency grant from the Foundation in the past three years, their usual three-year waiting period has been suspended, and you may apply again for a grant.

Florida Artist COVID-19 Relief Fund This new fundraiser is currently in need of donations to be distributed to applicants; artists who either live or were born in the state of Florida are eligible. Apply to receive funds upon donation at the link above.

Freelancer COVID-19 Emergency Fund This fund is designed for freelancers affected by COVID-19 and its impact (school closures, client cancellations, medical expenses, inability to pay basic living expenses). They stress that applicants ask for what they need right now—not in the long-term—and to try and pay it forward by eventually contributing back to the fund or another charity supporting freelancers. Applications are on a rolling basis; donations needed.

NYC Low-Income Artist/Freelancer Relief Fund Shawn Escarciga and Nadia Tykulsker, two New York City-based artists, administrators, and advocates, are raising money in support of low-income BIPOC, trans/GNC/NB/Queer freelancers and artists affected by COVID-19. While this donation-based fund is on pause as they continue to build momentum, they are, in the meantime, donating up to $150 to previous applicants. Until funds are replenished for new applicants, please donate if you’re able, or share with someone who can!

Oolite Arts Relief Fund for COVID-19 Utilizing repurposed funds from cancelled programming, this fund for Miami-Dade artists will provide up to $500 in relief to applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications will be accepted through April 16, 2020; the fund launches with $25,000 in seed funding, and intends to cover lost income due to the cancellation of employment (of any sort) and artistic opportunities.

PEN America Writers' Emergency Fund PEN America will distribute grants between $500-$1,000 to applicants based on acute financial need, especially due to the pandemic. Applicants must be a professional writer and "be able to demonstrate that a small, one-time grant will be meaningful in helping them to address an emergency situation." They stress that the fund is limited, though it applies to both fiction and non-fiction writers, journalists, poets, playwrights, screenwriters and translators.

Rauschenberg Emergency Grants In partnership with the New York Foundation for the Arts, Rauschenberg Emergency Grants will provide one-time grants (of up to $5,000) to visual and media artists and choreographers for unexpected medical emergencies. Such emergencies include hospital or doctor bills, prescription medications for emergency medical conditions, emergency dental work, tests, and physical or occupational therapy. While this grant isn't COVID-19-specific, it's worth applying if your health has been directly affected by the virus. If you need funding soon, please keep in mind applicants for this grant will be reviewed beginning in late May/early June.

COVID-19 Fund at Sweet Relief The Sweet Relief Musicians Fund already supports musicians in need; in light of COVID-19, this specific and limited fund will be utilized for musicians and music industry workers affected by the virus. Funds are intended to go toward medical bills, food and other essential expenses; applicants must provide proof of cancellations and bookings.

Additional Resources: A Quick List

Artwork Archive - Financial Relief Resources for Artists During COVID-19

COVID-19 Freelance Artist Resources

The Fountainhead Residency - Resources for Artists

Freelance Advocacy Project This growing platform—created by a group of independent workers—is currently focusing its efforts on aggregating resources, building action toward a rent freeze and advocating for vulnerable communities.

Handheld Handmade - Resources for Emergency Relief for Artists and Creators During the COVID-19 Pandemic

I Care If You Listen - COVID-19 Emergency Funding and Artist Resources

New York Foundation for the Arts - Emergency Grants

Restaurant Workers' Community Foundation

South Florida COVID-19 Local Resources

United States Bartenders' Guild

WomenArts – Emergency Funds