(SAN FRANCISCO, CA) -- The Artist Rescue Trust (A.R.T.), a philanthropically funded program to provide financial relief to professional artists and creatives affected by COVID-19, has launched their first artist relief fund. Applications are now open, and qualifications for the funds and more information can be found at their website.
The program was founded by current and former leaders from Ushahidi, SXSW, Kettle, and Ocupop, who have combined forces to create a form of short term UBI (Universal Basic Income) for the art community. A.R.T.’s goal is to provide five hundred dollars a month for three months, with a goal to provide financial support to one thousand musicians and artists whose ability to perform, tour, and earn a living has been immediately halted.
“Few industries have been as dramatically impacted by the current COVID crisis as the arts, and we can see how essential artists and their work are to our culture in times like these,” said Nat Manning, A.R.T. founding member, former Ushadidi CEO, and current Kettle CEO. “Performance will be significantly curtailed for the foreseeable future, and we need to support our creative culture in every way possible. Our goal is to raise funds and disseminate them as quickly as possible, to provide immediate relief that can directly help artists and allow them to keep creating.”
The widespread cancellation of concerts, tours and live events has had a disproportionate impact on art communities across the country - especially those who rely on these events to pay their bills. Many professional artists supplement their incomes with gig work, freelance or service industry jobs which are also severely impacted.
A.R.T. came together around a passionate group of volunteer activists, philanthropists, marketers, and designers. All have a shared passion for music, visual art and writing, and are banding together around this shared mission. The program is an all-volunteer effort and A.R.T. is not taking any fees to cover staff time and other overhead expenses.
“We are fans and friends of many artists, whether musicians, writers, or other performance artists,” said Todd Hansen, founding A.R.T. member and former conference programming director at SXSW. “Their livelihood is dependent on their ability to create and share their work, and we all depend on artists and their work in so many ways in our lives. We needed to find a way to provide immediate support to artists so that they can continue creating and providing meaning to our current collective experience. We want to fund as many people as possible, as fast as possible.”
A.R.T. is launching their initial $1.5 fundraising effort with founding support from businesses and sponsors that allow them to immediately begin accepting applications and disbursing grants to artists. They have also partnered with the Digital Harbor Foundation to act as their fiscal sponsor. Tax-deductible donations of any amount can be made to the fund at www.artistrescue.org/give-help/.
For more information on qualifications for grants, please visit: www.artistrescuetrust.org