Letter from the President

Mar 16, 2020


In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, Jerome Foundation is aware of the impact on organizations who are shuttering their doors and cancelling events and individual artists who are facing enormous loss of income not only as they lose professional commitments and opportunities but as their “day jobs” suspend activities as well.

As we consider our response, we are mindful of the need to be thoughtful both about the immediate needs artists and organizations are facing, and the possibility of unforeseen needs arising if the pandemic stretches over a long time frame.

We are currently engaged in conversation with several organizations who are organizing emergency relief funds efforts for artists and organizations in Minnesota and New York City, and expect to join those efforts in the near future.

To date, we have signaled the following to our current grantees:

  • Arts organizations grantees have been authorized to use our funds to compensate artists for any cancelled Jerome-supported event.
  • Jerome Hill Artist Fellows (those grantees in the 2-year fellowship program that receive funds directly from the Foundation) and 2019 Film, Video and Digital Production grantees have been given access to up to $2,000 each towards emergency needs.
  • Organizations have been invited to approach us to restructure or redefine their grant—a process that we will approach with “radical trust” in our grantees.
  • We have confirmed that all grant commitments already contracted for 2020 and 2021 will be honored, without reduction in grants amounts or revocation of any grant.
  • We are working to alleviate any administrative burdens caused by our grants. Reporting deadlines and requirements have been extended, and paperwork for revision of grants or accessing emergency funds will be nominal. 
  • In the wake of cancelled travel and community meetings, we have added additional online webinar and interactive Q&A sessions for those artists interested in the Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship Program and are currently in discussion about whether that deadline in early May should be extended. 

Though our staff will be working remotely, we are committed to being available to our community and do not expect major disruptions in our operations or availability. While Jerome staff will be working from home through April 3, we will be available through the Jerome phone numbers and email as usual.

We maintain an unwavering commitment to serving early career artists, to learning from artists and arts organizations, and to channeling our resources to the needs those artists and organizations define as most urgent. I am grateful to our Board of Directors and its Executive Committee, who have given us extraordinary time and counsel even while managing their own organizations and careers. And as always I am eternally grateful to the staff here—Eleanor, Lann, Andrea, Lori and Coretta—whose care for artists and organizations is profound, and whose dedication to our work astounding.

All of us sending all of you our best wishes and our hopes that you, your families and loved ones find strength with one another.