San Francisco Gives $2.5 Million to Artists Impacted by Coronavirus

The money will be divided between grants and loans.

Mayor London Breed’s office announced a $2.5 million artist relief fund for San Francisco’s working artists and arts and cultural groups Monday morning. 

It comes right as artists, gig workers and those who share both titles need it the most, as the coronavirus pandemic forces entertainers to cancel events and close shop amid an unprecedented city-wide lockdown. Arts groups are collectively facing a $48 million loss, according to a study done by the San Francisco Arts Alliance.

“We need to do everything we can to stabilize our arts community now,” Breed said in the press release. “I hope our public investment will encourage private donors to join us in supporting our vulnerable artists during this challenging time.”

Over half of the artist relief fund — $1.5 million — will go towards grants for individual artists and small or mid-sized arts organizations. The city will prioritize the needs of “the most vulnerable — black, indigenous, immigrant, trans and people with disabilities,” according to the release. 

Individuals can apply for grants up to $2,000, while organizations can apply for grants from $5,000 to $25,000.

The rest of the artist relief fund will go towards low-interest loans made by the Arts Loan Fund (ALF) of Northern California Grantmakers.

The city’s artist relief fund isn’t the only one out there. 

Other organizations have taken it upon themselves to start Gofundmes or other fundraisers to mitigate the financial impact, including live music promoter Noise Pop and performing arts organization Theater Bay Area

Bay Area Safety Net — a nonprofit for Bay Area artists impacted by COVID-19 — has raised almost $200,000 of their $250,000 goal so far.

UPDATE (3/25/20): Applications for the arts relief fund are now online. Find them at the San Francisco Arts Commission website.

Grace Li covers arts, culture, and food for SF Weekly. You can reach her at gli@sfweekly.com.

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