Most artists make a living performing in front of a live audience. They perform at bars, pubs, discos, and other party places and entertainment venues, bringing fun and a memorable experience to their audience. Unfortunately, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has brought the arts and entertainment industry to its knees, along with other industries.
The cancellation of events and the closure of venues have made the times more challenging to ordinary artists. Thankfully, artists in Texas can always find relief in organizations that provide financial grants. Here are 25 of them.
Struggling artists in Austin can seek financial assistance from the Austin Creative Arts Alliance. The organization has set up the Artists Emergency Relief Fund to help the creatives of Greater Austin to weather the global COVID-19 storm. The group aids of up to $500 to artists who are suffering from financial difficulties as the result of cancelled gigs and event closures secondary to the ongoing pandemic. The fund is a short-term relief for artists who are facing housing or food insecurity or both. Any artist can apply. However, the priority will be those who are members of the Alliance.
Country musicians in Texas affected by the COVID-19 pandemic can seek assistance from the Lifting Lives Relief Fund of the Academy of Country Music. The organization has already accumulated more than $1.4 million in donations, which it makes available to eligible applicants. The fund should provide temporary relief to musicians, budding artists, songwriters, touring personnel, and other members of the country music industry. The ACM matches the donations it receives up to $250,000 to help build a fund that should be useful in alleviating some of the burden of artists, not only in Texas, but the rest of the country.
Artists in Texas who are members of the American Guild of Musical Artists can avail of the Relief Fund of the organization. Any member who is in good standing can apply for financial assistance. Former AGMA members can also apply for assistance, provided they withdrew from the organization in an honorable manner. Recipients can use the funds to pay off rent, seek medical and mental health care, and pay for basic living expenses. The organization studies each application and grants applicants on a case-to-case basis. One needs to provide proof of the need for economic or financial assistance to qualify.
Grantmakers from all over the US came together to jumpstart an emergency initiative to support artists who are struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Artist Relief Grant provides as much as $5,000 in assistance to qualified artists. The requirements are simple. However, the coalition partners will have the final say as to who is qualified for a grant and how much that grant will be. Some of the documentary requirements include SSN, ITIN, and W9. The artist should be at least 21 years old and be able to show proof of economic difficulties as a result of the pandemic.
The city government of Austin decided to reopen the Music Disaster Relief Fund on the 10th of August 2020. The first MDRF application was on June 8, where the city provided $1.5 million worth of financial assistance to the city’s local musicians. The Economic Development Department has earmarked another substantial budget to provide deserving local artists up to $1,000 in cash aid. Applicants should be able to demonstrate loss of income because of the global pandemic. The disaster relief measure will run until the earmarked funds have been used up. The Music Disaster Relief Fund observes a first-come, first-served philosophy.
While the city government of Austin already provides COVID-19 relief measures, private organizations are also stepping up to answer the call. One of these is the Red River Cultural District. The organization created the Banding Together ATX Fund to aid local artists in downtown Austin who are at least 18 years old. It is crucial to provide proof of loss of income because of the pandemic. Musicians, live performers, music marketers, and other workers in the music and arts scene of Austin are qualified to apply. The application process takes about 7-10 days to complete.
Blues musicians and artists who are facing an uphill battle against the economic repercussions of COVID-19 can find some form of relief from the Handy Artists Relief Trust (HART) Fund of the Blues Foundation. The HART Fund was not designed specifically for COVID-19. However, it provides another option for local Blues artists in Texas to find help. The organization observes that many Blues artists are either under-insured or uninsured. Donors to the foundation can rest assured that 100 percent of their donations will go to the welfare of Blues musicians, including medical and mental health care needs and end-of-life matters.
If you are a freelance Dallas artist who is already struggling to make ends meet even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the shores of the US, then the Dallas Artist Relief Fund is for you. This is a crisis relief fund organized by the group Creating Our Future, sourcing their funds from a GoFundMe campaign. The priority of the program are artists who are poor or are classified as low-income earners. The program also prioritizes Blacks, people of color, indigenous people, persons with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ community for as long as they are artists living in Dallas.
They may not be artists themselves, but music crews are very important part of entertainers and live performers. They are the ones who make things happen for stage performers. They prepare the stage, set up the sound system, and perform many things that can guarantee a spectacular live performance for many adoring fans. Unfortunately, music crews are also affected by the pandemic. That is why having a relief fund specifically for them is admirable. The Crew Nation Global Relief Fund does just that. Music Forward Foundation oversees the management and administration of the relief fund, making sure that qualified music crews get the help they need.
If you are an artist with a small business in Dallas County, you can apply for financial assistance with the Emergency Business Assistance Program or EBAP. Small businesses can avail of up to $50,000 in forgivable loan. You have 1 year to repay the loan at a modest rate of 1% annual interest. Another big perk is that you can start repaying your loan only on the 5th month of the term. The program is now in its 3rd round. The EBAP pre-application process will commence on the 10th of August and closes on the 23rd of the same month.
The social media giant is extending its global reach to assist small businesses weather the storm created by the COVID-19 pandemic. While it is not specific to artists, the tech giant has pledged $100 million worth of grants to small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and creators, especially those in Black communities. The assistance can help small businesses to keep their workforce as they face the challenges brought by the pandemic. The grant can also be helpful in mitigating operational costs as well as the payment of commercial lease. And since it’s Facebook, small businesses can get better connection with their customers.
Herman Harper founded the Gospel Music Trust Fund in 1983 as a means of assisting Gospel musicians and artists during times of need. Since the COVID-19 is described as a major catastrophe that affects the whole world, artists who are engaged in Gospel music can request for financial assistance from the Trust Fund. One important requirement for qualification is that the applicant should have at least 10 years of experience working in the field of Christian or Gospel music. It is important to know that the Trust Fund will pay the approved amount directly to the creditors of the applicant.
In 4 months, the Artists and Arts Workers’ Relief Fund of the Greater Houston Area Arts Community generated more than $325,000 in donations from its initial goal of $250,000. The focus of the fund is the group of artists and workers in the field of arts in Greater Houston. Artists can apply for up to $1,000 in financial assistance, which they can use to cover rent, medical expenses, and food. The fund is not meant to supplant lost wages brought about by the pandemic. It is a relief for Houston artists until they can get back on their feet again.
Musicians living in Harris County can avail of a one-time cash assistance worth $500 from the Crisis Relief Fund of the Houston Music Foundation. The fund was set up specifically in response to the growing COVID-19 crisis. The first round of the relief fund application and distribution was in April. The Foundation says that it is already in the process of opening the second round of applications for the Crisis Relief Fund. The Houston Music Foundation promises to give the funds to shortlisted beneficiaries in the shortest amount of time possible. This allows recipients to buoy themselves through the crisis.
While Bluegrass music has its origins from the Appalachian, there are many artists in Texas who love the off-beat emphasis and the unique sound of acoustic string instruments of the genre. If you are one of these artists and are currently having a difficult time weathering the COVID-19 pandemic, then you can apply for financial assistance from the International Bluegrass Music Association. The organization has the BlueGrass Trust Fund that can provide Bluegrass musicians and artists with $500 in grant or up to $5,000 in loans. Former bluegrass musicians can also apply for assistance if they are truly in need.
The focus of the Musician’s Emergency Fund of the Jazz Foundation of America is the growing incidence of food and home insecurity. The organization recognizes that no musician should have to put up with homelessness or hunger. While the organization provides financial assistance to jazz, roots, and blues musicians, it is the provision of compassionate counseling that is felt the most by struggling artists. The organization set up the COVID-19 Musicians’ Emergency Fund to help musicians with their essential living expenses. This is in addition to the pro bono medical care and housing assistance that the organization is known for.
Musicians, artists, and other workers in the entertainment industry who are currently suffering from COVID-19 can request for assistance from Music Health Alliance. This is an organization that provides both health guidance and medical bills assistance to recipients. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the MHA created a special relief fund that will serve as a resource pool for assisting artists in dire need of financial help. One of Music Health Alliance’s most significant partner in this endeavor is Spotify. The leading music streaming platform matches whatever amount MHA and other partner organizations can generate for COVID-19 relief.
MusiCares COVID-19 Relief
To date, the Recording Academy’s MusiCares has already extended assistance to more than 16,000 artists and professionals of the music industry. Qualified fund applicants can get as much as $1,000 in assistance. They can use this fund to pay for their mortgage or rent. The fund is open to artists who may have had their events cancelled. The fund prioritizes artists who may already be suffering from an active COVID-19 infection. Dental and mental health complications are also priorities. Artists who are facing eviction crises, such as the result of mortgage or lease nonpayment, can also avail of MusiCares funding.
Texas artists who specialize in folk music and jazz can ask for help from the Newport Festivals Foundation if the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are already becoming unbearable. The foundation is based in Rhode Island. However, Texans can still apply for relief to help them get through the global health crisis. The Foundation reviews all applications every week. Once selected, approved recipients will be notified of the release of their funds. The Newport Festivals Foundation strives to release the funds as fast as possible. This allows the recipients to use the fund to pay for their basic living expenses.
Recording artists, musicians, voice actors, singers, and other radio and television artists living in Texas can apply for assistance from the COVID-19 Disaster Fund of SAG-AFTRA. The group has streamlined the different emergency assistance programs of SAG-AFTRA to concentrate more on COVID-19. The process is simple. However, the overwhelming number of applications has pushed the application review process to as long as 5 to 7 days. The organization’s priority recipients are those who require assistance in the payment of basic living expenses. This can include mortgage, rent, medical bills, utility bills, and other needs that are essential to everyday life.
Service industry workers, artists, and creatives living in Near Southside of Fort Worth can avail of $250 relief grants from Southside C.A.R.E.S. Fund. Several generous Near Southsiders matched the initial funds of the endeavor, including Marty and Marilyn Englander, Vandervoorts Dairy, DuBose Family Foundation, and the First Financial Bank. The target beneficiaries of the grant are employees of the entertainment, culinary, retail, art, and service industries, among others. Everyone is encouraged to donate to the cause to help make life a bit easier for hundreds of eligible recipients in the Near Southside community who are adversely impacted by the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic can really have a negative impact on modern life. Since musicians and artists cannot perform, they cannot make a living. Unfortunately, they will still have to continue using the different appliances in their home. In that case, they will still have to pay their electric bills. Artists in Central Texas no longer must worry about their electric bills. The Sun Radio Recharge is a very special relief program that helps affected musicians take care of their power bills. The relief grant is only available to music industry workers in both the San Antonio and Austin areas.
Lone Star State artists who are having issues with their vital living expenses as a direct consequence of the global pandemic can apply for assistance with Sweet Relief. This organization is well-known for the different types of assistance it provides to career musicians and other workers in the music industry. The COVID-19 Fund is just one of the organization’s latest undertakings, created to pool resources and help struggling artists amidst the pandemic. There is one important reminder for fund applicants. Only artists who derive at least 50% of their income from the music industry are qualified to apply for the fund.
Empowering communities, families, and children, Artly World set up the Artist Relief Project to support artists amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. While the $200 emergency cash relief may seem small, applicants can also apply for a long-term assistance if they choose. The fund is available to artists who are committed in their pursuit of the arts. You will also need to show that you are in dire straits because of the pandemic. The program is good enough for artists, performers, musicians, and other workers in the music industry who have suffered economic losses because of booking cancellations secondary to event closures.
The Corona Relief Fund of Equal Sound provides as much as $500 for every gig that was cancelled because of event and venue closures secondary to the COVID-19 crisis. As such, if you have two COVID-19-related cancelled gigs, then you can receive as much as $1,000 for both gigs. The organization has a very simple application process. You will need to submit your W9 as well as proof of the cancelled event. Equal Sound takes out 1 percent from donations to help defray administrative costs. The simplicity of the application process makes this relief fund a good option for artists.
No one knows until when the pandemic will continue upsetting the balance of modern life. Nevertheless, it is comforting to know that artists in Texas have organizations they can turn to for help in the darkest of days.
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