This is as a critical moment for the arts and for our nation. As artists and organizations respond to the COVID crisis and work to dismantle racism in our country, we see some artists and organizations working diligently simply to survive and resume their practice; we see others engaged in reinventing and restructuring the ways they think and operate; we see still others in the very earliest stages of organizing to create entirely new pathways that will expand how, for whom and with whom the arts community as a whole will operate.
These efforts and the challenges that inspire them are likely to consume the arts for the greater part of a decade—or longer. We worry that, just as many special recession-linked initiatives and extraordinary giving in 2008 disappeared before that crisis was fully over, many of today’s extraordinary relief programs may end before the arts sector has fully recovered. As a result, we have been spending time in conversations with artists, arts organizations, our Board and grantmaking colleagues about the role we should play both in the immediate crises and for the long term.
Today, we are making a commitment to “the long game.”
To date, we have repurposed more than $4.15 million of committed grants to general operating purposes and extended the period of grant commitments in our Organizational program, provided more than $125,000 in emergency grant funding to funded first round Fellows and Film, Video and Digital Production grantees, increased direct payment awards to first round Fellows by more than $470,000 and awarded $150,000 to four consortia offering emergency support to artists and organizations in Minnesota and New York City—a strong response for us as a Foundation whose annual giving budget is less than $4M. We are especially grateful to our Board and to the organizers of those relief efforts for their speed of responsiveness and thoughtfulness of approach.