Facing COVID-19, we need the arts more than ever!
As we are all aware, our communities across Texas are responding to the challenges regarding the spread of COVID-19. We are seeing serious restrictions on assembly, being asked to "social distance", and to take all precautionary measures to keep ourselves and our communities healthy.
Despite the serious life-and-death challenges we all face in this pandemic, we are also cautiously starting 2021 with optimism and gratitude. After many months without a funding agreement, Congress came together at the end of the year and President Trump signed a $2.3 trillion dollar omnibus bill, combining the 2021 federal budget with COVID-19/Pandemic relief. Texas's cultural sector and communities across the nation have much to celebrate, as the relief package includes funding for non-profit and commercial cultural organizations, as well as an extension of unemployment insurance for cultural workers.
For a detailed look at the newest Federal COVID-19 Relief, including "Save Our Stages" legislation, and to see if you or your organization qualify, click here.
Resources for Arts & Cultural Community:
- National Endowment for the Arts: The Road Forward A document with helpful guidance from the NEA on reopening arts and culture centers
- Art Became the Oxygen: An Artist Response Guide
- ArtsReady: an online emergency preparedness service providing a wealth of resources to arts and cultural nonprofit leaders stewarding their organizations through crises
- Artsopolis: transitioning live programs to an online format
- Association of Performing Arts Professionals: reopening resources, as well as webinars, and resources for both artists and arts organizations
- CERF+: a grassroots nonprofit that creates safety nets for artists
- COVID-19 Freelance Artists Resources
- Creative Capital: dedicated to supporting the creative sector and includes a list of resources available for artists, performers, writers, freelancers, and more
- The National Coalition for Arts' Preparedness and Emergency Response
- NonProfit Quarterly: How Nonprofits can Utilize the New Federal Laws Dealing with COVID-19
- SMU DataArts- In It for the Long Haul: white paper on how arts and culture organizations are being affected, and how they can adapt
Grants and Additional Artist Resources:
- Texas Folklife: Artist Relief Fund
- Artist Relief Fund: Cycle VIII Grants close November 18th
- City of Houston: Office of Cultural Affairs announces $3 Million in Artist Opportunities
- Actor’s Fund: emergency grants for those across the entertainment industry (actors, dancers, comedians, IATSE, crew, etc.)
- Composer’s Site: job postings, contests, and resources for composers
- Creative Capital: artist opportunities with upcoming deadlines in May and June
- Dramatists Guild: emergency relief grants for writers
- Foundation for Contemporary Arts: fund for emergency grants for experimental artists impacted by covid cancellations
- Freelance Artist Resources: list of resources, opportunities, and relief options
- Institute of Museum and Library Services: covid resources, webinars, and grants
- Momentum Fund: Established to help nonprofits impacted by Covid-19, specifically geared towards those led by BIPOC
- Musicares Grant: The Recording Academy and Musicares have established a relief fund for those in the music industry
- Sweet Relief: emergency relief grants available for musicians and those in the music industry
Public health is our priority.
As arts leaders, we are also keenly aware of the decimating effect COVID-19 is having on our arts organizations and individual artists across the state. Working with local, state and national partners we are gathering and sharing information to try to help you in-the-field find the available resources and to be ready to advocate for additional funding in the coming days and weeks.
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Americans for the Arts, in partnership with arts organizations across the US, is fielding a national survey to capture ongoing economic loss associated with COVID-19 and subsequent social distancing advisories which have shuttered theaters and museums, caused the cancellations of 1,000s of arts events and negatively impacted not just the arts communities, but ALL of our communities.
This survey and online dashboard - with data available state by state - are critical tools to make the case to state and federal decision-makers to include the arts and culture sector in COVID-19 relief legislation and additional future economic relief packages.
Americans for the Arts has already received over 10,442 responses nationally with a negative economic impact of $3.7 billion - and we need to hear from all of you!
These are unprecedented times. We believe in the power of the arts and humanities to help us pull through. The one thing that we know for certain, is that whatever challenges we face in the future, we will be stronger if we face them together.
Additional Texas Resources:
Houston non-profit Fresh Arts is holding a series of online conversations related to how artists can work through economic downturns. Topics will include crisis communication, emergency grants available to artists, applying for SBA loans, unemployment eligibility for freelancers, healthcare for artists, etc. Check in on their Facebook page for upcoming webinars, or head to their website for postings on artist opportunities
Houston Arts Alliance is compiling resources to help the arts & cultural community remain resilient in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. One approach is to develop a way to make events digitally accessible to your audience. Below you will find some tools, articles, and examples to help with this.
ArtSteps - Create Virtual Exhibitions
- ArtSteps offers digital tools to create virtual reality engagements of your physical space.
- This site offers tips and instructions for optimizing Facebook Live to broadcast performances, share exhibition talks, and more.
Video Live Streams as an Engagement Tool for Museums
- This article outlines how-to’s and examples of live streaming museum engagement opportunities.
Live Streaming – Engaging the Widest Possible Audience
- This is a case study. Keen to reach the widest possible audience, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery experimented with live streaming to overcome barriers and reach new target groups.
Tools for virtual event communities
- In response to the cancellation of many in-person events, Higher Logic is offering Event Engagement to assist organizations in driving engagement and connection around virtual events.
Stuck at Home? These 12 Famous Museums Offer Virtual Tours You Can Take on Your Couch
- This article offers several examples of sophisticated digital museum exhibitions.
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Please stay safe and wash your hands!
Illustration: Amiri Geuka Farris