Relief Fund is Giving $5,000 Art Grants to Struggling Artists

An art grants application without the mountain of paperwork

A group of nonprofits have banded together to create an Artist Relief Fund that aims to award $10 million in art grants to artists impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The result is $5,000 for 2,000 artists. And that’s just the beginning.

The fund, which launched Wednesday, aims to help the creative community, which has been especially hard hit by the sudden economic downturn. Many artists operate as self-employed freelancers or small businesses. Their incomes were cut off when museums, event venues, shops and studios were forced to close last month.

“In times of crisis, artists are often among those most affected,” the group stated on its website, “In addition to health concerns, this is a challenging moment for many in our community as we deal with cancelled income and trying to make plans during uncertain times.”

Musicians are among the artists who can qualify for help from the Artistic Relief Fund. [Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash]

An easy grant application? Sounds like it

Right out of the gate, the relief fund has $10 million for 2,000 grantees. The hope is to raise more funds in the coming weeks to provide more art grants.

The relief fund is open to any artist who generally receives taxable income in the U.S. And the fund’s definition of “artist” is broad. It includes those who work in craft, dance, design, film, music, theater, traditional arts, visual arts and writing. (See the full list of qualifying disciplines here.)

The application is designed to take about 30 minutes to complete. The online application asks artists 25 multiple-choice questions and two open-ended prompts. No need to upload paperwork or portfolios.

“We are thinking critically about equity, access, geographical range, and discipline range…we needed enough information to be able to do that,” United States Artists CEO Deana Haggag told QUARTZ. “But we didn’t want to burden artists to work too hard in a moment when frankly I have no idea how people are being productive.”

The organization will try to distribute the funds quickly across disciplines and geographies. They will pay special attention to vulnerable populations and regions that are hot spots for the virus.

The group is working to get money to selected artists within two weeks of their application.

The force behind the art grants

Seven U.S.-based organizations pooled money from their operating budgets to create The Artist Relief Fund. Those organizations are: Academy of American Poets, Artadia, Creative Capital, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, MAP Fund, National YoungArts Foundation, and United States Artists. With most arts programming cancelled, the grants-giving organizations refocused their efforts to give money to artists directly.

They raised the initial $10 million in less than three weeks, according to a Los Angeles Times article.

But they hope that is just the start. Their goal is to raise several million more dollars, and distribute the money as needed through September. They expect to receive far more requests from artists than funds available.

After all, there are more than 50,000 working artists in New York City alone. That number surpasses 2.5 million in the entire U.S., according to the National Endowment for the Arts.

Individuals or groups who want to join their efforts and contribute to the Artist Relief Fund can donate at

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