How you can help artists hit by COVID-19

As we watch our beloved creative sector suffer, a number of grass roots schemes help us to support each other.
How you can help artists hit by COVID-19 There are many ways to help artists and organisations now while still practicing social distancing. Image Shutterstock.
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Gina Fairley

Monday 30 March, 2020

The Federal Government has made its priority the employment sector, with packages rolled out to employees who have lost their jobs, and business owners who have been forced to close their doors.

In many cases, artists and arts organisations can apply for relief under these schemes, the Federal Government has not rolled out a stimulus package directly to the Arts and Culture Sector.

Read: Dear Prime Minister: Creative industries unite to secure Australia's cultural future 

It is a curious twist of fate, given that it was artists and performers who were the first to step up and offer support in the wake of the devastating bushfires, drought and floods earlier in the year.

This time the sector is standing up for its own. We have gathered a list of 10 call-outs for help in this one resource, to make it easier for our readers to spread the word.

HOW YOU CAN GIVE:

Adopt an Artist Fund

Oranisers have described Adopt an Artist as ‘a triage organisation for creatives in immediate need.’  An initiative created by Melbourne artist team Francesca Gonzales and Anita Lester, it helps in three ways:  by recruiting philanthropists and financially able individuals in order to pair them with an artist in need; to asses the urgency of the artists and prioritise their requirements, matching them with a donor; and to provide a one-stop donation jar where the organisers of Adopt an Artist will distribute the funds to people in immediate need.  They state: ‘We give the donors options with small profiles, with hopes they build a relationship with the artists through these events and beyond.’ 

Arts Wellbeing Collective

The Arts Wellbeing Collective provides mental health and wellbeing resources and helps deliver the Support Act Wellbeing Helpline, a 24/7 phone line available to anyone in the performing arts. In light of the unprecedented closures and cancellations as a result of COVID-19, now, more than ever, the performing arts industry needs help. It is a simple click-to-donate resource.

Support Act

Support Act deliver crisis relief services to thousands of artists, roadies and other music industry professionals who are unable to work in the music industry or festival circuit. They are urgently fundraising to meet a target in excess of $20m  to begin providing even a modest level of crisis relief to people who have been impacted. Their site offers bank details to manage a simple transaction. They are also using the hashtag #soundofsilence to drive support.

Artists’ Benevolent Fund

The Artists’ Benevolent Fund has recently been reinvigorated to make funds available for disaster and emergency visual arts practice recovery at this difficult time. They are currently seeking donations to ensure that Australia’s visual artists survive and thrive in their artistic practices, as they seek to deal with experiences beyond their control that can so tragically end careers.

With One Voice

For some, weekly choir rehearsals are their only other human interaction. Creativity Australia and our With One Voice Choir Programs, are working to keep With One Voice choirs running, members feeling connected and our specialist conductors in jobs by moving online. They have put together a timetable where 25+ Conductors across Australia can lead 30 minute sessions that our our entire member base can access from home - every evening. But they need support to pull it off. 


Go Fund Me

Many artists and performers are turning to the funding site Go Fund Me in the plea for help. Scroll and find the right fit / arts project for you.

Victorian Actors' Benevolent Trust

The VABT provides emergency financial assistance to those in the entertainment industry who, in times of crisis or hardship, find themselves with nowhere else to turn.

Actors' & Entertainers' Benevolent Fund QLD

Where Queensland performing arts professionals turn when they are in crisis or need.

OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO

Retain your concert and festival tickets: Help shoulder the cancellations and not ask for a refund on tickets. By keeping your ticket, you keep funds in the industry when it is most needed.  #KeepYourTicket

Watch a livestream: Many arts companies and individual artists are turning to social media and live channels such as YouTube or Together at Home (a new virtual concert series launched by Global Citizen in partnership with the World Health Organisation) to continue to perform. Watch, like and support – as much for mental health and moral support.

Become a member or subscribe: Support not only content and community, but also help build financial stability for arts organisations, art magazines and online sites by signing up for a membership. It is the gift that keeps on giving.

Pledge Now, Play Later: An idea that has been around for a while but makes extra sense now. Get behind the businesses who have been hit hardest by COVID-19, by pledging money now for future events, services and products that will be promised after restrictions are lifted. Essentially it is about throwing a lifeline to your local arts companies.

Pay It Forward: Keep streaming and buying Australian music and merchandise – directly from artist websites, through galleries and even consider handing it on to someone to boost morale and support others.

About the author

Gina Fairley is ArtsHub's National Visual Arts Editor. For a decade she worked as a freelance writer and curator across Southeast Asia and was previously the Regional Contributing Editor for Hong Kong based magazines Asian Art News and World Sculpture News. Prior to writing she worked as an arts manager in America and Australia for 14 years, including the regional gallery, biennale and commercial sectors. She is based in Mittagong, regional NSW.

Twitter: @ginafairley
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