Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, the world’s economy has taken a nosedive; in the US, over 26 million people have filed for unemployment in less than six weeks. Last week, a survey by the emergency aid initiative Artist Relief and its research partner Americans for the Arts polled over 11,000 artists, revealing over 95% had lost income due to the crisis. Galleries and art workers are struggling to pay their rent, and over 40,000 people have endorsed the New Art Dealers Alliance’s petition to cancel rent in the notoriously expensive New York City.
Freelance and contract artists, writers, and archivists are just some of the workers across the United States who have lost income as institutions close their doors. But soon, non-salaried art workers in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut will be eligible for unrestricted $2,000 emergency relief grants to alleviate some of this economic hardship.
The Willem de Kooning Foundation, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, the Teiger Foundation, and the Cy Twombly Foundation have established the $1.25 million “Tri-State Relief Fund to Support Non-Salaried Workers in the Visual Arts” for those who project and can demonstrate a significant loss of income between March 1 and August 1. The funds will be administered by the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA).
Eligible applicants include freelance, contract, or non-salaried archivists, art handlers, artist/photographer’s assistants, cataloguers, database specialists, digital assets specialists, image scanners/digitizers, and registrars over the age of 21, who have lived in the tri-state area for at least the past two years, and worked in these non-salaried positions since at least 2015.
The application cycles begin next week and will be open May 5-6, May 19-20, and June 2-3. Recipients who demonstrate a documented loss of income will be chosen from a lottery process and anyone who is not selected for funding is eligible to apply for the later rounds.