Since we launched the Coronavirus Artists Emergency Relief Fund on March 12, we have received 1265 applications from creative workers in Minnesota, and already been able to support 743 artists in need with $356,000. Thank you for your support in making this happen. Hundreds of individual donors, artists, foundations, and funds have moved quickly to step up to this crisis, and we are grateful to be able to provide a structure that puts money into the hands of people who need help now.
While we know that the Emergency Relief Fund is a temporary, stop-gap measure, and isn’t a long-term fix to a system that needs big change, we have learned that emergency aid continues to be vital and urgent, especially as other relief and recovery programs take time to become available or fail to live up to their promises. We are committed to helping creative workers navigate Unemployment Insurance for independent contractors, and programs intended for small businesses like the Economic Injury Disaster Loans and the Paycheck Protection Program. We also know that many people will continue to need short-term emergency support to pay rent, buy food and take care of their families.
To help address this need, our goal is to run the Coronavirus Artists Emergency Relief Fund through July 1, 2020. With your support, our goal is to raise and distribute $1 million to over 2,000 creative workers in Minnesota who are dealing with the catastrophic impact of this pandemic. We will continue to prioritize cultural workers who identify as Black, Indigenous, People of Color and/or Native, artists from rural places, artists from the disability community, including people with compromised immune systems, and LGBTQIA+ artists because we know that this crisis exacerbates existing disparities. The ERF application is available in English, Spanish, Somali, Green Hmong and White Hmong and we accept applications in these languages.
In addition to the Emergency Relief Fund, we will also continue to build and deliver programs that meet the needs of our creative communities including critical business support and health and wellness initiatives, and we will push for new programs that value artists as a critical part of relief and recovery efforts.
We continue to build and expand on our regular programming to meet this moment and to build for the future. In addition to the Emergency Relief Fund, we have:
-Launched a comprehensive Coronavirus Resources page, a local and national hub that compiles support for individuals and organizations including emergency funding, legal support, health, mental health, and basic needs resources.
-Created new partnerships to bring relevant and needed online resources to artists and creative workers, including support navigating Unemployment Insurance with Felsheim Iverson Law, workshops and webinars with American Composers Forum and Slam Academy, American Craft Council and CERF+, and Yin Yoga with Vie Boheme.
-Expanded our roster of Artist Career Consultants to bring in more web, financial, and legal support for artists and creative workers, and partnered with the City of Minneapolis Business Technical Assistance Program to offer free consultations to creative entrepreneurs and business owners.
-Published a guide to help other communities build emergency relief funds and provided support and consultation to dozens of new relief efforts across the U.S.
-Convened national calls for people and organizations running emergency relief funds, to develop a network for sharing resources and knowledge and in the hopes that this network will last beyond this crisis.
We are also working to develop programs and services that live offline, as we know many of the communities we serve continue to have challenges related to internet and technology access. As emergency response moves to long-term recovery planning, we are working to advocate for changes that support the creative workforce, including protections and support for independent workers, non-profit organizations, and the creative sector. We know that artists, culture bearers and creative workers will be a critical part of our collective recovery and will help us imagine and build a future for our communities that is better, more connected and more just. We will need their creativity, vision and practical skills for what comes next, which is why we are committed to helping support our creative communities now and in the future.
Image credit: “Healing Hands,” an installation by artist Ifrah Mansour at People’s Center Clinics & Services, Summer 2017. Photo by Bruce Silcox.
Coronavirus Resources: https://springboardforthearts.org/coronavirus/
Emergency Relief Fund: https://springboardforthearts.org/additional-resources/personal-emergency-relief-fund/
White Hmong/Hmoob Dawb: https://springboardforthearts.org/coronavirus/erf-white-hmong/
Green Hmong/Hmoob Ntsuab: https://springboardforthearts.org/coronavirus/erf-green-hmong/
Give to the Fund: http://bit.ly/CoronaERF
Legal Resources, including Unemployment Insurance: https://springboardforthearts.org/resources-access/legal-assistance/coronavirus/
Upcoming events: https://springboardforthearts.org/events/
Artist Career Consultants: https://springboardforthearts.org/consultants/
Emergency Relief Fund toolkit: https://springboardexchange.org/emergency-relief-funds-toolkit/