In response to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on artists of all kinds, a multi-disciplinary coalition of arts organizations have joined together to launch Artist Relief, a nonprofit fund that will award $5,000 grants to individual artists facing economic need due to Covid-19. Artist Relief will also launch the Covid-19 Impact Survey for Artists and Creative Workers, a research project to better understand how the pandemic effects artists.

Beginning today, artists ranging from writers and musicians to painters and actors who are facing dire economic circumstances due to Covid-19 can apply for a $5,000 grant at Artists must be 21 years old and have resided in the U.S. for at least two years. More details about eligibility are available on the Artist Relief website.

The Artist Relief partnership, which includes the Academy of American Poets, Artadia, Creative Capital, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, MAP Fund, the National Young Arts Foundation, and United States Artists, will launch with about $10 million to dispense in grants. The funds were raised from a variety of national arts organizations beyond the initial partnership and include $5 million in seed money from the Mellon Foundation.

Jennifer Benka, executive director of the Academy of American Poets, told PW the partnering organizations began to meet in mid-March to address the looming threat of the pandemic on the arts community. “This is an unprecedented effort by national arts organizations to work together as a group to address a dire moment for artists,” she said.

“Artists work in the gig economy and they have lost jobs, events have been shutdown and performances canceled; everything has changed radically" in the wake of the pandemic, Benka said. Artist Relief, she explained, has spent the past few weeks “establishing guidelines and processes” to oversee dispensing the $5,000 grants,

Artist Relief grants will be awarded across 10 creative categories, including the writing category, which Benka said will include poets, fiction writers, journalists, children’s book authors, and other writing-related disciplines. Beginning this month, the fund will award grants over five monthly rounds until September. Benka acknowledged that the demand for the money will be high and the fund can’t give grants to everyone. However, artists whose applications are declined are urged to reapply for the next rounds.

Initial fundraising, she said, has been centered around national foundations, but once the project is live Artist Relief will appeal to the public for donations. While many of the founding organizations of Artist Relief are focused on visual arts, Benka said the Academy of American Poets is bringing in a variety of literary organizations to review the writing grants applications.

“The Academy of American Poets is proud to be the face representing hundreds of thousands of writers,” Benka said. “It’s very inspiring how so many people isolated at home turn to books and to poetry. We want to encourage poets and all writers to apply for these grants and to reapply. And we ask anyone who cares about writers to donate to the fund. We really need your support.”