Wire*—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, 2020.

Additional information can be found at azarts.gov.

The Emergency Relief Fund for Arizona Artists and Arts Professionals has been initially seeded with $130,000 from the Arizona Community Foundation (using funding already dedicated to individual artist support), 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 generous 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 https://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.”

Dempsey added, “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. 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.”

“Acknowledging that this relief effort won’t fully account for any individual’s lost income and is but one relief initiative in the works, it is an honor to work with generous partners to facilitate this particular program of support.”

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.

About the Arizona Commission on the Arts
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.

About Arizona Community Foundation
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.

About Artlink Inc.
Artlink keeps the arts integral to our development by connecting artists, business and community. Founded as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization by artists in 1989, the Artlink name is a guiding principle for the organization as it supports the stakeholders of the arts and culture community, amplifying its collective strength. Visit artlinkphx.org. Ed note: The President/CEO of Artlink Inc. is also publisher of DPJ.

About the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona
The Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and funding agency. We consist of staff, a board of directors, and community members who serve on grant panels and committees and are passionate about the arts. The Arts Foundation provides arts and cultural development services through direct funding, technical assistance and professional development opportunities, and manages the creation of public art for the City of Tucson and Pima County. https://artsfoundtucson.org/

About City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture
The Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture supports the development of the arts and cultural community in Phoenix and seeks to raise the level of awareness and participation of city residents in the preservation, expansion and enjoyment of arts and culture. Visit https://www.phoenix.gov/arts for more information.

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