With concerts being cancelled around the world and right here in Rochester, many artists are feeling the financial pinch. A number of organizations are stepping up to assist these performers as much as possible.
1. Artist Relief Tree- This organizations has been set up to assist artists during the global health crisis. They believe that the arts help make life worth living, and help us lead more thoughtful, compassionate, enjoyable lives. They also believe that NOW is the time to support artists and the arts, because the world is going to really need the arts in the coming months. Organizers of the Artist Relief Tree are offering a one-off, first-come-first-served $250 to performers who apply and meet basic criteria, as long as funding allows.
2. ArtSmart Mentor Relief Fund-ArtSmart is a non-profit organization that provides music lessons and youth mentorship through the power of music in underserved communities across the United States. ArtSmart students receive musical instruction and training from skilled mentors. ArtSmart was founded on the premise that working artists must be paid. Organization founders Michael Fabiano and John Viscardi issued this statement. "Due to recent school district closures in response to COVID-19, ArtSmart’s policy must be to follow their lead; if they close, we close." ArtSmart has created the ArtSmart Mentor's Relief Fund to supplement this lost compensation to its mentors at this time when schools are closed and lessons can not be taught.
3. Musicians Foundation- Founded in 1914, Musicians Foundation is the country’s oldest independent nonprofit organization dedicated to providing financial assistance to musicians and their families in times of need, crisis or transition. Funds raised through concerts, events, bequests, and individual donations have enabled Musicians Foundation to spend over a century giving back to the artists who make the music. They have established an emergency grant program to provide $200 to qualified performers, educators, and composers who have been left with no work.
4. Freelance Co-op- The Freelance Co-op connects creative freelancers with the resources they need to be professional business owners that are in control of their own story and their own success. Freelance Co-op is offering grants to any freelancers out of work due to Covid-19. They encourage a pay-it-forward system so that when these freelancers are back on their feet they can donate back or to another charity to help others.
Many regional organizations are being set up to help musicians and artists who are affected by Coronavirus. In the Boston area, artists grants are available through the “Boston Artist Relief Fund.” Similarly the Seattle Music Teachers Fund is set up to help teachers who have lost funding due to cancelled lessons.
Another way you can help is to support your local arts organizations. Many organizations will need extra funding to make up for concert revenue lost. Consider making donations to these organizations directly, or, if you purchased tickets to attend an event that has been cancelled, consider donating those tickets back to the organization.
Consider taking online lessons. Many performers out of work are offering virtual lessons in many musical instruments. This can be a great way to refine your own skills during this time of isolation. It is also a great way to support artists.
And, as we are all being encouraged to do, check in! If you do not have the funds to donate, consider checking in on your artist friends. Many of them are facing greater emotional distress due to the financial and mental tolls of these cancellations. Video calling is a great way to connect and help us all feel less lonely.