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NEW RELIEF FOR ARTISTS!!! Moira Brennan of the MAP Fund on the Coalition of Arts Funders Launching ARTIST RELIEF an Emergency Relief Fund for Artists Affected by COVID-19

NEW RELIEF FOR ARTISTS!!! Moira Brennan of the MAP Fund on the Coalition of Arts Funders Launching ARTIST RELIEF an Emergency Relief Fund for Artists Affected by COVID-19
Christine Jowers/Follow @cmmjowers on Instagram

By Christine Jowers/Follow @cmmjowers on Instagram
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Published on April 8, 2020

Grant Applications Open TODAY - April 8th 2020 at

A coalition of national arts grantmakers, consisting of Academy of American Poets, Artadia, Creative Capital, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, MAP Fund, National YoungArts Foundation, and United States Artists, announces the launch of Artist Relief, which will provide rapid, unrestricted $5,000 relief grants to assist artists facing dire financial emergencies due to the impact of COVID-19; serve as an informational resource; and co-launch the COVID-19 Impact Survey for Artists and Creative Workers, designed by Research Partner Americans for the Arts, to better identify and address the needs of artists moving forward.

Grant applications open today at

An unprecedented national, multidisciplinary partnership between seven arts grantmakers and a consortium of foundations, Artist Relief is an ambitious effort to support the country’s individual artists in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Yesterday, The Dance Enthusiast had the opportunity to hold a quick phone interview with Moira Brennan, the executive director of the MAP Fund to discuss this unique coalition of funders, the grant, and hopes for the future.

Christine Jowers for The Dance Enthusiast: Hello Moira, can you tell me how this wonderful funding effort came about?

Moira Brennan, Executive Director of the MAP Fund.

Moira Brennan:  Back in early March it was dawning on each of us exactly what the devastating impact of this pandemic could be on gig workers - individual artists in particular.

We are re -granters essentially, all of us are mediators between big foundations and the field.  So, we understood we were in a very good position to assess and understand the needs on the ground, based on our existing relationships with the artists,  and then be a bridge to larger foundations who were eager to figure out how to craft a solution.

How have the coalition members been meeting?

MB: There’s an executive committee made up of one member of each of these seven organizations. We meet weekly. There are sub-committees, as there are many different facets to consider:  the application process, the review of applications, communication,  finance and legal.  There is also a huge and really exciting component to the whole effort which is non-monetary support for individual artists,  so wellness and other resources that they can receive through this entity. 

Meeting of the ArtistRelief Coalition

All of our committees meet regularly, and the entire coalition meets once a week. I would say anybody involved in this effort has been putting in, at a minimum, fifteen to sixteen hour days for the last three weeks.

Would you say you are working harder now because of this pandemic?

MB: Well, we’re working faster. 

We really wanted to get this thing up and running and you know the launch ( is today and we just all got together three weeks ago. So, that was incredibly challenging.

How much money have you raised so far?

MB: We’re launching with 10 million dollars [consisting of $5 million in seed funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation matched with $5 million in initial contributions from an array of foundations across the United States] but consider this to be just the beginning.

Even though that sounds like a lot of money, of course, when you think about the number of artists who will need these funds, that's going to go quickly. There will be a big outreach to individuals and there’s still many more family and regional foundations we are in conversations with to see how they can hook in. 

The thinking is that there is an end date in September. We will fundraise through that time and hopefully whatever gets raised gets moved out the door by increased numbers of grants being made through then.

That can change.  If the amount of dollars increases, which we certainly hope it will, we can increase the number of grants we’re making immediately. If the need goes well beyond September. I am sure everybody involved would be interested in continuing until we’ve met the need.

What are the guidelines one must meet to receive these grants? What do our artists need to know?

MB:  Our beautiful website ( opens today with a very simple application process, a button that you press that takes you to a submittable platform.

There is nothing to upload, no documents to share. It can be done on a phone it can be done on a tablet. It’s a series of checkboxes around eligibility and then sharing with us your experience as an artist and your need -- very straightforward.

We’ve tested it with 30 artists and they are all telling us they can achieve this in about 15 minutes or less.

Eligibility is quite broad. You need to be over the age of 21. You need to in some capacity be able to accept US dollars, which doesn’t necessarily exclude workers who don’t have US citizenship. [Able to receive taxable income in the U.S. (e.g. citizen, green card holder, and/or permanent resident who can provide a W9 and SSN or ITIN]

You need to demonstrate on some level that you have been a practicing professional artist for a period of time. This has actually been an important point of discussion over the last few weeks.

We want to be broad enough to let that be defined by the artists themselves within reason. This is a fund for artists so there does need to be some demonstration of a professional capacity, but of course,  what that looks like in Tulsa is going to be very different than what it looks like in Los Angeles versus New York, etc.
So we’re letting this be interpreted by the artists themselves.

Finally, you must be able to demonstrate need.  This is a need-based grant.  Artists will indicate through a checklist where their areas of dire need exist and what exactly is happening for them.

Do you have any final thoughts that you'd like to share with our Dance Enthusiast readers?

The thing I am holding as we all go through this is how crisis reveals our interdependence. Even among the coalition's members, for example.  There was no way that only one of our organizations could have gotten this done.  We were utterly dependent on each other. This is something to remember and hold dear even when we’re not in crisis. We need each other and we can’t do any of this without each other.

This is the beginning.  We are honored to start this initiative and we are eager to see where it goes from here.


Artist Relief is an emergency initiative, relying on the support of a growing number of foundations and individual donors, and will continue to evolve as the needs of the country’s artists shift over the coming months.

Tax-deductible donations can be made at; 100 percent of donations will be applied directly to aid.

In addition to the grant program, Artist Relief will also administer the COVID-19 Impact Survey for Artists and Creative Workers, developed by Americans for the Arts, to collect information that will be useful to the field in better understanding artists’ needs in both the immediate and longer terms. Additionally, coalition member Creative Capital will maintain a publicly available database of resources to support the professional, social, and mental wellbeing of artists.

Artist Relief launches with a generous $5 million seed gift from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, to match an initial $5 million in funding generously provided by the following foundations: 7|G Foundation, Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation, Amazon Literary Partnership, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Arison Arts Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, Ford Foundation, Helen Frankenthaler Foundation COVID-19 Relief Effort, Jerome Foundation, Joan Mitchell Foundation, Kraus Family Foundation, LeRoy Neiman and Janet Byrne Neiman Foundation, Metabolic Studio, Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts, Pritzker Pucker Family Foundation, Richard Salomon Family Foundation, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, The Sue Hostetler and Beau Wrigley Family Foundation, Teiger Foundation, The Wallace Foundation, and The Willem de Kooning Foundation.


Academy of American Poets — The Academy of American Poets is a national membership-based organization that supports American poets at all stages of their careers and fosters the appreciation of contemporary poetry.

Artadia — Artadia is a national non-profit organization that identifies innovative visual artists and supports them with unrestricted financial awards and connections to a network of opportunities.

Creative Capital — Creative Capital supports innovative and adventurous artists across the country through funding, counsel, gatherings, and career development services.

Foundation for Contemporary Arts — Founded in 1963 by John Cage and Jasper Johns, and still led by artists, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts (FCA) encourages, sponsors, and promotes innovative work in the arts made by individuals working in dance, music/sound, performance art/theater, poetry, and the visual arts.

MAP Fund — The MAP Fund invests in artistic production in live performance, as the critical foundation of imagining, and ultimately co-creating, a more equitable and vibrant society.

United States Artists — United States Artists is an independent nonprofit and nongovernmental philanthropic organization dedicated to supporting artists and cultural practitioners—in all disciplines and across the country—with unrestricted awards.

National YoungArts Foundation — National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) identifies the most accomplished young artists in the visual, literary and performing arts, and provides them with creative and professional development opportunities throughout their careers.

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