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Getty, Warhol, and Frankenthaler Foundations Provide Emergency Relief for Artists and Orgs

As the COVID-19 pandemic roils the arts community, the organizations launched emergency funding initiatives to support the cultural sector.

Helen Frankenthaler in her East 83rd Street studio, New York, in front of Hybrid Vigor (in progress), 1973 (courtesy Helen Frankenthaler Foundation Archives, New York; photo by Edward Youkilis. Artwork © 2020 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.)

Stories of the coronavirus’s economic impact on the arts keep rolling in, seemingly with no end in sight: museum workers laid off, artists out of work, fundraiser after fundraiser to urgently make ends meet. As the nation comes to terms with the unprecedented financial fallout of the pandemic, major arts institutions are stepping in to do their part: the J. Paul Getty Trust, the Frankenthaler Foundation, and the Warhol Foundation are among the cultural organizations that have introduced major emergency funding initiatives.

Last week, the Getty Trust announced a $10 million COVID-19 relief fund to help small and mid-size Los Angeles-based arts nonprofits stay afloat. The LA Arts COVID-19 Relief Fund will be administered by the California Community Foundation (CCF), with grants amounts expected to range from $25,000 to $200,000.

An online portal for the program, as well as grant guidelines, will be available on the CCF and the Getty’s websites in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation will commit $5 million in relief funding to support artists and art institutions economically impacted by the health crisis. The initiative is a milestone for the New York-based foundation, marking its largest allocation for a single cause since it became active in 2013.

The relief program will be distributed over a three year period, with the first round totaling $1.25 million: $500,000 for the Foundation for Contemporary Arts (FCA)’s COVID-19 Relief Fund; $500,000 for direct grants to artists, launching in the coming weeks; and $250,000 to cover operating costs at several NYC organizations focused on the work of living artists, such as the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts and Artists Space.

Taking a slightly different approach, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts is focusing on re-routing existing funding to bolster artists in need.

Through its Regional Re-Granting Program, the foundation is authorizing 16 organizations, including Locust Projects in Miami and the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, to pivot its annual $100,000 grants toward COVID-19 emergency relief funds. That money is traditionally used to finance independent artist projects that fall outside the reach of conventional funding sources; now, it could help individual artists cover basic expenses, like food and childcare. 

The Warhol Foundation’s measure is an example of how organizations already making a difference in the lives of artists can creatively rethink their priorities and resources. In a similar move, the CCF Fellowships for Visual Artists, funded through an endowment from the Getty, will now be repurposed to provide emergency support for visual artists.

For additional relief grants and resources currently available to artists and cultural workers, visit Hyperallergic’s most recent Opportunities post.

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