Tag: COVID-19

Racial Equity in Funding During a Pandemic

Black man wearing a protective medical mask. He is making a heart sign with his hands.

From C4 Atlanta’s Executive Director:

This blog is in response to recently discovering that black arts organizations were excluded from the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta’s initial funding of $580,000 to support COVID-19 impact relief. In the spirit of transparency, C4 Atlanta has received several grant awards from the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta (CFGA). They have primarily funded our civic engagement programs. In 2019, we were awarded a two-year general operating award. I am grateful. Service organizations are often overlooked in the City of Atlanta by local funders. Over the last few years, that has started to change for us as we grow and are anchored more into the arts community. C4 Atlanta is a white-led organization. I am white. I can tout our diverse audience of artist practitioners, I can talk to you about board diversity, and I can point out that I am the only white, non-latinx staff member. But I am white and my white face is often considered the face of the organization because I, with another white person, founded the organization in 2010.

I am deeply concerned , during this critical juncture in our city, that not one black arts organization was funded by the CFGA in its first round of grants. To quote my colleague Anne Dennington, Executive Director of Flux Projects, who put it simply: ” Arts organizations in Atlanta struggle for funding in good times.  Many will not weather the current financial crises.  As a city, we cannot afford to lose our Black organizations.  And if we do not recognize the inequity in our local philanthropy soon, we may do just that.”  How can we help to bridge this gap with the next round of funding? How can we ensure policies and practices of the Foundation going forward ensure an equitable distribution of resources to black organizations that have been historically left behind?

The next part of this blog is for my colleague. I support her. I want you to read her words. I told her I would do an intro. Any heat that comes can come to me. But I don’t think that will happen. I think the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta and other funders will do the right thing. Be well.

–Jessyca Holland, Executive Director


Now more than ever, there is an opportunity to pivot towards more equitable ways of working as our world changes to deal with COVID-19. Our normal after this pandemic will not look the same.

COVID-19 is affecting Black, Indigenous, and Communities of Color at profoundly higher rates than white communities. This virus has ravaged entire families and communities. However, COVID-19 has also given us a chance to embrace abundance, rather than scarcity, and remake the system. We don’t have to return to the way things were if we don’t want to.

This is why investment in culturally specific arts organizations is so important right now. Those that have the power to make this systemic and dynamic shift are funders and those providing COVID-19 relief aid.

If you’re asking “What does she mean by culturally specific?”, here’s my own layman’s definition: a culturally specific organization is one that exists primarily to serve a particular culture, race, or ethnicity through the lens of that specific cultural experience. Usually, these organizations are led by and founded by people who identify as the same culture that they serve. Why are they important? They address the specific cultural needs, beliefs, and nuances of that community, usually operating also through the lens of that culture. They are critical for providing support to that community, providing an affinity space of shared experience and all too often, creating opportunities for that community where few existed before in white-led organizations. These are a different type of organization than those who are white-led but serve communities of color.

In the art world, culturally specific organizations can be a critical career pipeline for artists of color to build their careers and a place where other systemic barriers like access to formal education or familial wealth are broken down. They are often spaces where folks from that community can feel fully themselves, seeing artistic work and leadership that reflects their own experiences. To sum it up – we need them. They are essential. And we need them NOT to go away.

Already arts leaders are thinking about how important our arts organizations will be in leading rebuilding efforts post-COVID. As my colleague Morgan Carlisle was recently quoted, “The same people who create that ‘Atlanta experience’ are the same people losing their touring gigs, closing their box offices, taking down their exhibitions, and canceling their educational classes. It’s heartbreaking. What will the city look and sound like when it is safe to go outside again?”

We can use COVID-19 as an opportunity for not only rebuilding but also a time to go further by creating a significant investment in organizations working at the forefront of racial equity daily servicing communities experiencing the deepest losses.

For Atlanta specifically, the “Atlanta Experience” is tied to the Black experience, and therefore Black arts organizations who support the growth of the culture that has created Atlanta’s global identity. When we talk about culturally specific organizations and BIPOC-led organizations, in Atlanta, we must recognize the significant way that OUR city has thrived specifically due to the contributions, labor, ideas, and work of Black people. Let me be completely clear – it’s not just that the black community has played some part. The Atlanta that we know would not exist without black people and black leadership. We cannot make mention of culturally specific leadership as a generalization here, though Asian, Latinx, and other communities of color have had an important impact, too. But it is BLACK leadership, Black work, and Black expressions of artmaking that has predominated. As a Mexican-American Latina, I recognize that these contributions have benefited Latinx folks’ advancement as well.

As we strategize then to best survive, regrow, and resow the cultural assets that are needed to support Black communities that have been over proportionately affected by COVID-19, we must prioritize the capitalization and rebuilding of black and black-led arts organizations. These organizations will be best poised to do work in communities hardest hit because they’ve already been doing this work for decades. Equity in the arts is EVERYONE’s job, but let’s take this time to acknowledge the way we want to move forward by creating a significant lasting investment in the people who have been working on equity since before there was money attached to that word.

For those that fund, there has to also be an acknowledgment and a reckoning with the fact that traditional philanthropy hasn’t done a great job of equitably funding culturally specific and POC-led organizations. When you haven’t acknowledged or invested in the work of communities for years, this builds the kind of distrust that even a pandemic can’t undo. I applaud the many funders who have or are taking strides to reconsider equity within their work. But now is not the time to think about what we can do, but to think about what is the RIGHT thing to do.

Because of the systemic inequity that has existed, many black artist-entrepreneurs that I know or have worked with are turning away from the non-profit organizational structure, because they do not feel like it serves them. That doesn’t mean, however, that their artistic work doesn’t still have public benefit or provide service to the community. They are simply choosing to do the work and operate without the constraints (but also without the philanthropic resources) of the nonprofit governance structure.

Funders: you cannot assume that just because you have money to give to offer relief, leaders of color and organizations of color to now trust that you will see their organizations as fundable when you have not invested in them in the past. To do so is to miss out on an important relationship-building opportunity to truly embrace equity.

What can aid-makers do? Firstly, consider the constraints that staff is currently under. Lengthy aid applications with lots of financial reporting documents are, frankly, kind of ridiculous right now. Consider making your applications as short as is necessary to get the information you need most, one-step if possible. Especially for organizations for which you have not made a significant investment in the past. Why would any good leader spend a significant amount of work time now, when getting funding quickly is most critical, on an application to a funder that they’ve had no success with in the past when they can use that time to pursue other opportunities with other individuals with whom they DO have a relationship? Only necessary, relevant, and current financial documentation has any bearing on how relief will be beneficial. No one is meeting the budget they set out to this year. No one is doing all the programming they intended. Ask for only the most relevant information, and understand that it probably has very little to do with what the future may look like given that we’ve all thrown everything we planned out the window. And what we thought the new normal might look like is literally changing day by day. A financial review or an audit that is more than a few days old isn’t going to tell you much about what the future is going to look like, and both cost a lot of money. If there are types of organizations you wished were in your funding pool, now is a great time to begin to build a relationship by reaching out to ask them directly to apply. That’s a very different gesture than telling your previously funded organizations to share with their networks or those they know who need it. Do both. Lastly, now is the time to also consider that not all organizations that serve the community look like the traditional non-profit. We know that significant investment in small and mid-sized organizations can catalyze their growth well into the future. Consider opening up funding pools in non-traditional ways or allowing fiscally sponsored projects to apply for funding to continue important community arts work happening outside the nonprofit structure.

While it is far from the only change needed, relief aid funders do have the power to contribute to making a more equitable culture of investment in racial equity than in the past. Instead of encouraging us to compete for what money is there, emphasis should be placed on helping us to meet the needs of the present situation in the most compelling and relevant way possible. Equity is a pretty word, but true equity looks like making sure our culturally specific organizations survive this pandemic so that they can be around to serve their communities and rebuild to a better place than before COVID-19.

— Audrey Gámez, Education Director

Resourcefulness is the Bedrock of Artistry

Image of first aid kit on concrete

Published 3/23, last updated 6/10.

The Team here at C4 Atlanta would like to provide a list of resources for Artist’s needs during this COVID-19 quarantine. Many organizations and groups we love are putting resources in the artist’s hands. We’ll share those lists, some specific Atlanta resources and other materials to support you through these unprecedented times. If there’s a resource you want to add to this list, please reach out to actionteam@c4atlanta.org with the links and we’ll add! 

for the times they are a-changin’

C4 Atlanta is currently accepting donations for our own Atlanta Lost Gig Fund

ALL DONATIONS DIRECT TO ARTISTS. Spread the link: https://c4atlanta.org/project/covid19donate/

If you find that our application form is closed, please check back! We are tracking funds and distributing them as quickly as possible. The form will return as money flows in. Spread the link.

Opportunity Arts is a service of C4 Atlanta. The board includes training opportunities like upcoming grants, and JOBS. Check it out here: https://opportunity.art/opportunities

Please see recorded sessions of COVID-19 Concerned programming, covering Insurance and Finances.

Invest Atlanta creATL Relief Fund – Just announced!

The Center For Cultural Power (@culturestrike) “No Going Back: A COVID-19 Cultural Strategy Activation Guide

Teach from home resources Tools from Google to help navigate our transition to all virtual learning.



Comprehensive Lists 

Compiled by Organizations. Click their name to be taken directly to their lists:

A State-by-State Resource Guide for Music Professionals

CNN Interactive How to help. Organized by sector of interest to you.

GrantStation Here you’ll find the latest coronavirus grant funding opportunities for nonprofits, small businesses, journalists, and artists, updated each business day and listed by deadline date.

U.S. Department of Arts and Culture A resource guide for Artists, Emergency Management Agencies, Funders, Policy-Makers,
and Communities Responding to Natural and Civil Emergencies

Kickstarter

ATL Design-ish – Creative Mutual Aid

Alliance of Artists Communities – Great information on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)

3Arts 

Atlanta COVID-19 Solidarity & Mutual Aid Master Resource Document (Specifically for Students)

Americans for the Arts

Center for Civic Innovation

COVID-19 & Freelance Artists

CREATIVE CAPITAL

Dream Warriors Foundation

She Shreds Magazine (specifically for musicians) 

Roswell Arts Fund – Includes kid-specific activities and resources!

Artwork Archive

Annuity.org  Covid-19 Financial guide


Atlanta Based Resources

Grants & Funds:

MAMA Fund Atlanta Mutual Aid Fund – Link to Apply or Donate to fund.

Artist Emergency Relief Fund Now open! Augusta Cultural Arts Consortium, application HERE awards up to $500 for Lost Gigs

Georgia Women Artist Relief Fund The Georgia Women Artists Relief Fund will provide much needed assistance to working female visual artists in Georgia whose livelihoods have been challenged due to COVID-19.

Gwinnett Creativity Fund For 2020, the GCF Operations Grant has been designed to provide an element of support for arts organizations that have felt the impact of Covid-19 and have begun charting a course to emerge stronger. These grants are administered and managed by Explore Gwinnett. There are also Project Grants available. Virtual info sessions May 7th & 8th.

Georgia Council For The Arts Resiliency Grants – Funding to support non-profit arts organizations recovering from COVID-19 shutdowns.

Georgia Humanities CARES Act Emergency Operating Grants

Georgia Humanities is making funds available for operating support to nonprofit organizations offering humanities programming to Georgians.The intent behind this funding is to get relief to organizations quickly in order to meet urgent financial needs. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, May 13, 2020, at 11:30p.m. EDT.

Facebook Small Business Grants Program $125,000 Investments in Atlanta Small Businesses.

Quick Assist Fund For Jazz Artists Up to $1000 in grants for jazz artists facing hardship due to COVID-19.

TILA STUDIOS

Alternate Roots (must be a member to apply)

Food/Groceries/Delivery Services:

Atlanta Artist Emergency Relief Fund Facebook Group AAERF Website

Atlanta Community Food Bank

Atlanta Survival Program

Lakewood Environmental Arts Foundation  (L.E.A.F.)

Food Well Alliance

Unemployment:

GA Department of Labor 

SNAP Benefits (food stamps) – SNAP Benefits are expanding during COVID-19. You may be eligible even if you weren’t previously.

Navigating Unemployment for Theater Artists

Health/Wellness:

Grady Nurse Advice Line (Free, for advice regarding general health concerns – not COVID-19) – (404) 616-0600

Georgia Department of Public Health COVID-19 Hotline (if you think you may have contracted COVID-19, have questions or have been exposed) – (844) 442-2681 

Atlanta Free and Discounted Services Spreadsheet

Georgia Department of Behavioral Health


Where to Find Funds, Beyond Atlanta:

IFundWomen Enterprise Brokered Grants Various grants for women available

Actos de Confianza: NALAC Micro-Grant NALAC has committed $25,000 to seed this first phase of emergency relief efforts to Latinx artists and arts administrators.

National Endowment for the Arts The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act recognizes that the nonprofit arts industry is an important sector of America’s economy. The National Endowment for the Arts will award funds to nonprofit arts organizations across the country to help these entities and their employees endure the economic hardships caused by the forced closure of their operations due to the spread of COVID-19.

SBA Disaster Loans and Emergency Grants Do artists qualify for the SBA disaster loan and $10,000 Emergency Grant? More importantly, should artists apply? The short answer is YES, and here’s some stuff you should know.

The Actors Fund (for everyone in entertainment) – Services include emergency financial assistance, affordable housing, health care and insurance counseling, senior care, secondary career development and more.

CERF+ is readiness, relief and resilience for studio artists.

The Creator Fund

Emergency Funds for Writers

Leveler (mobile preferred site) A wealth distribution tool. Great if you want to help, great if you’re in need. Read the Guidelines Here.


When Quarantined (like NOW) and Trying to Keep Up Mental/Emotional/Spiritual Beingness:

Everything is moving online, Artwork Archive is here to help you through the transition with a Webinar, April 9th @2pm EST:

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_SvVtHBJ2QEaYtW0hVTrPlw

Volunteer Opportunities: This page features virtual and on-site volunteer opportunities to aid communities impacted by COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Thousands of volunteers like you are needed daily. Check back often to find ways you can help during these difficult times.

https://www.volunteermatch.org/covid19

https://www.volunteermatch.org/virtual-volunteering

Free classes at YMCA:

https://ymca360.org/

Dance classes:

http://www.clistudios.com/keepdancing?fbclid=IwAR2LxIp5sypHeiqBc2q6JPNwhp8a7DLdyqYpbqlIMh0kWhGpmjR33jcOVX0

Dance ATL’s list of Virtual Dance Offerings Many are FREE and open to the public!

Adobe products for students:

https://theblog.adobe.com/adobe-enables-distance-learning-globally-schools-impacted-covid-19/?red=a

DIAL.studio Sessions:

Places + Spaces: Navigating Workspaces In-Person and Online

Arts Administration 101: The History of Arts Management & Arts Organizations in America

Self Advocacy and Self Care for Artists and Arts Administrators of Color

Creating Online POC Arts Communities

Antigone in Ferguson: Building a Chorus That Can’t Preach to Itself (by Design)

Utilizing Community to Achieve Creative Revitalization

Art Beats Atlanta Art Beats Atlanta is a co-op of Atlanta-area arts and culture organizations with a mission to increase engagement between the public and the vibrant professional arts community of the greater Atlanta area.

Atlanta COVID-19 Artist Impact Survey – Preliminary Findings

 

C4 Atlanta recently closed the Atlanta COVID-19 Artist Impact Survey. Our staff would like to share some of the preliminary findings ahead of our full data analysis. We will be sharing more detailed findings shortly.

The purpose of this survey was to gauge the overall impact of losses by individual artists and impact due to COVID-19 related social distancing and medical issues.

C4 Atlanta partnered with Dekalb Entertainment Commission to distribute the survey.

The Atlanta Regional Commission has agreed to help with data analysis and is currently pouring over our data for deeper dives.

This survey is modeled off of another survey by MidAmerica Arts Alliance of midwestern arts organizations. We have used their survey as a model in order to compare data between our two regions. In addition to releasing our findings publicly, we will share our data with MidAmerica Arts Alliance in order to compare trends nationally in COVID-19 impact.

We intend to release a follow-up survey later in the summer gauging longer-term impact and changes as the pandemic progresses.

All findings are as of April 24, 2020, the date our survey initially closed.

 

Here is a snapshot of our preliminary data:

  • As of April 24, the total amount lost for all artists responding (about 978 of 1014 total responses) is between  $5.1 and $6.9 million.
  • Initial lost income estimates (per artist) – As of April 24, it is estimated that the average about of income lost is between  $5,230 – $7,092 per artist and could be even higher since some artists reported losing $20,000+.

 

Who responded: 1014 individuals

    • Gender:  66% women, 32% men, 2% nonbinary
    • Ethnicity: 62% White, 23% Black, remaining 15% Asian, Latinx, and other races or declined to answer
    • Disciplines: From all sorts of disciplines but the largest sectors represented were 28% theatre or acting, 23% film production, 14% visual, 12% music, with other disciplines represented in smaller percentages.
    • Percentage of overall income derived from art making or arts industry work: 50% get most or all of their income from their art practice. 65% get at least half.

 

What has been lost (as of April 24, 2020):

 

 A graph showing "To Date, How many jobs/gigis have you lost due to COVID-19 cancellations/closures/precautions? (It is okay to estimate.)

  • Amount of Gigs/Jobs lost: 66% have lost 3 or more paying gigs; 34% have lost 6 or more

 

    • A graph showing "To date, what are your estimated lost wages/earnings due to temporary closures/cancellations related to COVID-19? (It is okay to estimate.)
      • 75% of responding artists have lost more than $1000 so far;  40% have lost more than $5000 so far. Some have already lost more than $20k.
      • Overall 83% have lost enough to impact their livelihood
      • If they earn income from outside of the arts, 72% have lost or partially lost that income.

What does that mean for them?

a graph showing "Please finish this sentence: Right now I feel confident I can meet my basic financial obligations until _______."

      • For April 2020, 25% are NOT confident they can meet their financial obligations
      • By August that number rises to 75%
      • If they were to have to rely just on savings, 40% could make it three months or longer. 15% could make it six months.
    • A graph showing "how has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your creative output?"
      • 64% report that their creative output has decreased. (Only 17% report their creative output has increased.)

What do they need? 

 

A graph showing "How has COVID-19 impacted your livelibood as an artist to date? (check all that apply.)"

 

  • 44% reported that their mental health was impacted.

 

A graph showing " What typses of support do you need right now? (check all that apply.)"

  • Top Three Biggest Needs:
      • Salary and wages – either gigs, if feasible, or replacement (63%)
      • Mortgage or rent relief (40%)
      • Communication tools/resources (19%)
  • A graph showing " have you applied or do you plan to apply for any form of emergency relief funding?"
  • 58% of responding artists intended to apply for some form of emergency relief funding.

We’ll release more findings shortly!

Special thanks to our partners Shelbia Jackson at Dekalb Entertainment Commission, Josh Phillipson and Maria Sotnikova at the Atlanta Regional Commission! Thanks also to the many other artists, artists groups and arts organizations who shared this survey.

 

Dekalbe Entertainment Commission logo and C4 Atlanta logo.

 

COVID-19 Concerned: Insurance Edition – Recap and Recording

C4 Atlanta has recently shared some Pop-Up Classes for COVID-19 related issues. In an effort to make the content of these programs more accessible, we have recorded them so that artists may share the content with others or refer back to it.

On April 22, 2020, C4 Atlanta welcomed Renata Marinaro, of Actors Fund, and Amir Jones, of The Health Initiative, as facilitators for COVID-19 Concerned: Insurance Edition. 

This post contains the recording of this session. All information was current as of April 22, 2020 to the best of knowledge of our facilitators.

Please note: Content in this workshop is provided for educational and informational purposes only, and should not be construed as an alternative to working with a social worker, health insurance navigator or other insurance professional.

Facilitators shared information not only on Insurance Basics (common terms, what is usually covered, etc.) but also covered a ton of COVID-19 related information for arts workers who may be looking for new coverage, can’t afford their current coverage due to lost income, or who may have lost coverage from an employer. Renata and Amir also covered some options such as short term plans and health share plans that some folks may be considering if they are unable to apply for coverage on the Marketplace outside of open enrollment. These kinds of options differ greatly from Marketplace insurance plans, and the facilitators covered the key differences of which artists should be aware of. Also, for those currently uninsured who did not have previous coverage, the facilitators mentioned low-cost and free healthcare services options that are accessible to low-income and uninsured peoples.

For those who have coverage, but are finding it difficult to afford it, Renata mentioned special income considerations for artists to know about that could help them save money through higher subsidies on their marketplace plans. For those that have had their coverage dropped, they would likely qualify for special enrollment on the marketplace due to losing coverage. They may also qualify for COBRA, but the facilitators mentioned that there may be both financial and coverage considerations for artists to think about before deciding which is best for themselves and their families.

Links Shared by Facilitators During this Session:

The Actors Fund: (917)281-5975 actorsfund.org

The Health Initiative: (404) 688-2524 thehealthinitiative.org/

C4 Atlanta: 1-800-WOW-ARTS c4atlanta.org

Actors Fund Emergency Fund for (crisis fund for artists in any area of entertainment): actorsfund.org/am-i-eligible-help

Medicare Information at Actors Fund: actorsfund.org/basics-medicare

C4 Atlanta Lost Gig Fund: c4atlanta.org/covid19apply

Health Insurance Marketplace: healthcare.gov

C4 Atlanta Local Resources for Uninsured and Low-Income Artists: c4atlanta.org/health-resources/

Kaiser Permanente Bridge Program: Available to C4 member artists who meet all program eligibility requirements (see the webpage for all eligibility requirements): c4atlanta.org/bridge

Grady Financial Assistance Program (for uninsured, low-income folks in Fulton and Dekalb Counties): gradyhealth.org/financial-assistance-program/

Georgia Gateway (for understanding Georgia Medicaid eligibility – also includes information for other government programs such as SNAP, TANF, and WIC): gateway.ga.gov/access

Federally Qualified Health Center (A list of low cost and free clinics for the uninsured): findahealthcarecenter.hrsa.gov

National Association of Insurance Commissioners (to verify whether you plan is an ACA regulate plan or not): naic.org

To find lower cost and county hospitals: essentialhospitals.org (click on “our members”)

Needy Meds (lists free drug access assistance programs for help getting prescription medication, especially for high-cost medications) – needymeds.org

GoodRX.com (to compare drug prices and receive medication discounts) – goodrx.com

More resources for Georgia Based Health Insurance Enrollment help: 

Out2Enroll: out2enroll.org

Georgians for a Healthy Future: healthyfuturega.org

The Health Initiative: thehealthinitiative.org/

 

We Raised Over $37,000 For Artists In Need: Meet the #C4Funded

“I am grateful for the organization swiftly coming to the aid of many artists suffering during this time.

From seeing one gig to the next being cancelled I really had no idea how all this was going to play out or how long.

I am very thankful I was awarded the fund.”

 

Of the 78 applicants who applied for the fund, all 78 were awarded.

65 of those 78 awardees were non-members (~83%).

To date, we have raised $37,015. All funds dispersed directly to artists in need.

We are still accepting donations for the fund!

Donate Here: https://c4atlanta.org/project/covid19donate/

 

***Photo above features #funded artists who consented to share their photos and testimonials.