These 6 Emergency Grants for Artists Can Provide Relief During COVID-19

An artist sits in her studio with her paintings behind her.
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Being an artist and relying on your creativity for your income is difficult in the best of times. But these aren’t the best of times. With the coronavirus pandemic shutting down public gatherings, artists are taking a hard hit. 

From musicians who make their coin playing to crowds at festivals and in bars to artists who sell their work at art shows and craft fairs, stay-at-home orders are really hurting their income. Thankfully, this hasn’t gone unnoticed. A number of grants have popped up to help our creative friends get through this time.

6 Emergency Grants for Artists Impacted During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Here is a list of some of the grants currently available to people who work in the arts. New grants are popping up all the time, so if you are in need, keep searching.

1. PEN America Emergency Fund

Started way back in 1922, PEN America is an organization that strives to support writers and helps provide the freedom to pursue their art. The PEN America Emergency Fund is open to professional writers based in the United States. Writers who are in acute need of funds due to the current pandemic can apply for grants between $500 and $1,000 to help meet those needs. You don’t have to be a member of PEN America, but if you apply and are awarded a grant, you will also receive a one-year membership.

2. CERF+

CERF+ is the Craft Emergency Relief Fund, and it calls itself “The Artists’ Safety Net.” While this organization has been helping studio artists maintain their careers since 1985, in response to the pandemic, they have created a special COVID-19 Response Fund. They are currently only accepting applications from artists who have actually contracted the coronavirus and are suffering health and financial impacts. Artists in need can apply directly on the CERF+ website

3. Artists Relief Project

The Artist Relief Project was created just to help artists who are impacted by the pandemic. They offer short-term relief in the form of a $200 stipend, as well as long-term relief options like alternative economic opportunities. The project is funded by donations, and money is awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis until funds are depleted. 

To qualify you simply have to demonstrate that you are an artist by sharing your resume, webpage, portfolio or other method. They also ask that you share their webpage on your social media and verify that you’ve done so. You can apply for aid here

4. Artists’ Fellowship

The Artists’ Fellowship is another well-established organization that helps artists in times of need. Due to the current demand, they are limiting grants to professional artists who are “dealing with immediate medical emergencies and their aftermaths.” The application process is rather hefty, including reporting tax documents, bills and more, but you can name your financial need amount. 

5. Arts Leaders of Color Emergency Fund

Established for black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC), the Arts Leaders of Color Emergency Fund aims to help artists and teaching artists through the crisis. This fund is fed through a Gofundme page and is relying on donations. At the time of this writing, it had raised nearly $40,000 with a goal of $45,000. Interested artists can apply online

6. Artist Relief

Artist Relief is a coming together of a number of arts organizations to help artists during this time. It will award $5,000 grants to eligible applicants. To qualify, you must be able to demonstrate that you are a practicing and committed artist who is living and working in the U.S. for at least the last two years. You’ll also need to share some financial information as well as the nature of your COVID-19 related financial crisis when you apply. 

Tyler Omoth is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.