Artwork detail: Patti Bowman, 2015 GAP recipient
This week Artist Trust’s support of Washington State artists reached a new milestone; since March 20, we have distributed a half-million dollars in COVID-19 Artist Relief Funds to a total of 288 artists of all disciplines statewide. This is the largest amount Artist Trust has distributed to artists in any single year of our 34-year history of artist support. Thanks to the support of our community, this work will be able to continue during this time of unprecedented financial crisis for artists. Our community has rallied a total of $620,000 in support for The COVID-19 Artist Trust Relief Fund, and enough remains to maintain rapid relief funding for several more weeks. For a full list of the donors who have made this possible, visit us here.
While we celebrate this milestone for artist funding in our region, it is important to acknowledge that we are still not coming close to meeting the total need for financial relief. In the past nine weeks we have received over 2,400 applications totaling almost $5.4 million in requested funds. According to a recent survey conducted by the Americans for the Arts, artists and creative workers are among the most severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis, with 95% reporting income loss, and 80% experiencing a decrease in the creative work their livelihood depends on. “Seattle’s arts community has been disproportionately impacted by the cancellation of events due to the coronavirus,” notes this recent Seattle Times article, and many of these artists are not able to access government safety nets.
While Artist Trust’s COVID-19 Relief Fund is an essential safety net for artists in crisis, we know we can’t meet this staggering need through funding alone. Artist Trust is also working to extend our reach to as many artists as possible through support beyond relief funding. We’re developing new resources focused on critical needs & building audience, we’re deepening community with artists in digital space, we’re amplifying artist’s stories of coping, resilience, pain, and hope, and we’re advocating for artist support now and in the future. We are forever changed as a society, and Artist Trust is working towards a future where the artist’s role in our culture is elevated. We’re honored to be doing this work in community with you.