Emergency Funding Sources in the Arts and Humanities During COVID-19

Katie McNabb, Grand Rapids, MI

by Maya Weeks, DHI Communications

The UC Davis Humanities Institute has compiled a set of resources for workers in the arts and humanities who may have lost anticipated income due to COVID-19. Many of these resources are geared towards artists and other culture workers who have limited safety nets due to the precarity of these industries in the United States. We hope these grants, funds, and other resources can be useful to you and your community members in this time of crisis. Be sure to check eligibility guidelines, as not all of these resources will apply directly to university researchers.

Safety Net Fund - California Intersection for the Arts

The Safety Net Fund supports a broad range of artists that typically make their living offline at events & retail establishments that have been cancelled or closed due to coronavirus under fiscal sponsorship of California Intersection for the Arts. Maximum grants are $500 per grantee monthly, with the number of monthly grant recipients dependent upon money raised. The Safety Net Fund is also accepting donations.

Untitled, Art Emergency Fund 

Untitled, Art Emergency Fund’s goal is to include financial assistance for freelance, hourly, and wage working artists vulnerable to the economic standstill. $250 per household member will be awarded with the application process to continue quarterly until updated. 

Emergency Funds for Freelancers, Creatives - KQED

KQED’s list, Emergency Funds for Freelancers, Creatives Losing Income During Coronavirus, has extensive resources in a variety of categories: creatives of all disciplines; performing artists, film, and television; musicians and nightlife workers; visual artists; writers and authors; and additional funds. It’s worth a browse, as it includes such niche resources as the SF Queer Nightlife Fund, the COVID-19 Performing Arts Worker Relief Fund, The Creator Fund for artists and small business owners, and the Craft Emergency Relief Fund, just to name a handful. 

California Humanities

California Humanities has compiled a vast list of resources for Californians affected by COVID-19 who work in the humanities. Among them are FAQs for National Endowment for the Humanities Applicants and Grantees, American Association for State & Local History COVID-19 Resources, and Creative Capital’s List of Arts Resources During the COVID-19 Outbreak. In addition to funding sources, the California Humanities page also includes information, tips, and other resources. 

California Arts Council 

A recent press release from the California Arts Council includes important links and resources, including the California Coronavirus (COVID-19) response website, COVID-19 resources from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a list of COVID-19 Freelance Artist Resources


National Resources

  • A wide variety of resources are also available throughout the United States to workers in the arts and humanities. Rauschenberg Emergency Grants [provide] one-time grants of up to $5,000 for unexpected medical emergencies to visual and media artists as well as choreographers. Additionally, the New York Foundation for the Arts has a dedicated page for other emergency funding sources not only for New York, but throughout the country. 
  • The Authors League Fund is providing financial support to authors, journalists, and poets (and links to a grant for dramatists from the Dramatists Guild Foundation) in emergency circumstances, with priority given to sick and/or older authors in need. 
  • The PEN America Writers’ Emergency Fund offers grants of $500 to $1,000 based on applications that demonstrate an inability to meet an acute financial need, especially one resulting from the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. Applicants must be professional writers based in the United States for whom such a grant will make an arguable difference. PEN America expects to be able to grant successful applications within two weeks of application. 
  • COVID-19 Mutual Aid Fund for LGBTQI+ BIPOC Folks is prioritizing support for LGBTQI+, non-binary, gender fluid, and gender non-conforming people of color because they often have less ties to familial support networks, have historically been simultaneously overlooked and surveilled by welfare state systems, and tend to work in the gig economy. The GoFundMe campaign is accepting donations and has a schema for distributing funding in rounds according to application timing.
  • Artist Relief is an emergency initiative to offer financial and informational resources to artists across the United States. Relief grants will be for $5,000. Successful applicants must be practicing artists who have worked in the United States for at least the last two years, in a financial emergency due to COVID-19, and be able to provide a W9 and Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. 
  • In New York City, the NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund will give grants and loans to NYC-based nonprofits that are trying to meet the new and urgent needs that are hitting the city. The arts and culture are among the prioritized industries for the funding. 

Do you know of other current emergency funding sources in the humanities? Please drop us a line so we can share them with our network!