As part of broader crisis response strategies, Arizona arts funders and service organizations have set up a collaborative fund to provide emergency relief grants to artists and arts professionals experiencing canceled events and residencies or terminated contracts due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The grants, which ranges from $500 to $1,500, are 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.
Additional information can be found at https://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, according to a press release.
The Arizona Commission on the Arts, an agency of the State of Arizona, will handle the submission process. Other fund partners include Artlink Inc., the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona and the City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture.
Based on the experiences of other communities with similar funds, the fund’s partner institutions anticipate requests will significantly outpace initially-available funds.
Jaime Dempsey, executive director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts, said 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,” Ms. Dempsey said in a prepared statement.
"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.”
She also said artists and creatives have adapted their work to virtual platforms while providing educational opportunities for children at home.
“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,” she said
“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.