As part of broader crisis response strategies, Arizona arts funders and service organizations have set up a collaborative fund to provide emergency relief grants of $500-$1,500 to artists and arts professionals experiencing cancelled events and residencies or terminated contracts due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The grant is open to individual residents of Arizona, 18 years of age or older, whose primary source of income is related to artistic production, teaching artist residencies, arts and cultural events, or contract work with nonprofit arts organizations. The online application will open Saturday, April 4.
Additional information can be found at azarts.gov/grant/emergency-relief-fund/.
The Emergency Relief Fund for Arizona Artists and Arts Professionals has been initially seeded with $130,000 from the Arizona Community Foundation and another $25,000 from other partners. The submission process will be managed by the Arizona Commission on the Arts, an agency of the State of Arizona. Other fund partners include Artlink Inc., the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona, and the City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture.
The fund is collaborative in nature; other individuals and organizations are invited to join in the effort and contribute to the fund at arizonacommunityfoundation.kimbia.com/covid19azartists. Based on the experiences of other communities with similar funds, the fund’s partner institutions anticipate requests will significantly outpace initially-available funds.
According to Jaime Dempsey, executive director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the fund addresses an urgent need: “Some have balked at relief for the creative sector in this crisis. Let me be clear: this relief is about human beings who make up a significant percentage of our workforce, who are among the least likely to have employer-based healthcare, and who are facing unprecedented loss of income due to widespread cancellation of events and contracts. Every artist and creative sector worker that I know has to buy groceries, care for kids or elders, and pay rent and utilities and taxes, while contributing outsized benefits to our civic and economic life, lifelong learning and community wellbeing.”
Beyond this program of support for individuals, several Arizona arts funders and service organizations have begun rolling out relief strategies for arts and cultural organizations, with additional collaborative support strategies in development.
“Already in this crisis, artists and creatives have stepped up—adapting their work to virtual platforms, providing educational opportunities for our kids at home, and discovering new creative ways to engage our elders from a safe distance,” stated Mr. Dempsey. “Make no mistake, when we begin to navigate a recovery, artists’ skills—to adapt, invent, inspire, to imagine and reimagine—will be more valuable, more essential to our collective human cause, than ever before.”
One of 56 state and jurisdictional arts agencies across the United States, the Arizona Commission on the Arts is a 53-year-old agency of the state of Arizona and a leading force in the creative and professional development of Arizona’s arts sector. Through robust programs, research initiatives, and strategic grantmaking, the Arts Commission catalyzes arts-based partnerships that strengthen Arizona communities through the arts.
More information can be found at azarts.gov.
Established in 1978, the Arizona Community Foundation is a statewide family of charitable funds supported by thousands of Arizonans. With five regional offices serving communities across Arizona, ACF is among the top 25 community foundations in the nation with more than $960 million in trust and endowment assets, and is certified under the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations. Since inception, ACF and its affiliates have awarded more than $783 million in grants, scholarships, and loans to nonprofit organizations, schools, and government agencies.
More information is available at azfoundation.org.