See Lighting Foundation Created to Help Immigrant Theatre Artists Financially Impacted By The Health Crisis
The See Lighting Foundation, an organization committed to supporting immigrant artists during the global pandemic, kicks off a Monthly Donation Campaign on July 1, 2020. The newly launched campaign aims to distribute $500 monthly grants to all 60 immigrant artists registered in the foundation for the next six months.
With no concrete plans for theaters reopening, this artistic community is in dire need of financial support due to theater closures and cancellations. The donated money from the Monthly Donation Campaign will be divided among the immigrant designers and artists, including scenic, prop, and costume designers, wig and make-up artists, lighting designers, sound designers, and projection designers.
"There is a lack of resources for low-income immigrant freelance artists in NYC," said Lighting Designer Cha See and Scenic Designer Kimie Nishikawa. "Applying for unemployment benefits is a huge risk for them, and many times they are not even eligible to receive benefits. Visa holders are issued their visas to allow them to do specific work in the U.S. so they cannot even seek work outside of theatre design legally."
"When in darkness one must find their own light and gather the courage and strength to be heard and seen," continued See. "The freelance immigrant theatre artists have been battling with this since the COVID-19 pandemic started. Our goal is to lessen the anxiety and find comfort in one another. When the theatre doors re-open we want to make sure we are there-- standing in solidarity."
The See Lighting Foundation was started by Filipino lighting designer Cha See (one in two, What to Send Up When It Goes Down). After experiencing a loss of work for the foreseeable future and frustrated with the lack of government resources available because of her visa status as an immigrant, See sparked the idea to make it easy and accessible for other artists like her to receive funds. In early May, See launched a GoFundMe Campaign to raise $20,000 to go directly to immigrant artists in the theater community. Many still do not have access to unemployment benefits due to their visa status. See then joined forces with colleague and friend, Kimie Nishikawa (Scenic Designer from Tokyo, Japan; The Headlands and Ain't No Mo) and Rodrigo Muñoz (Costume Designer from Mexico City) to develop the See Lighting Foundation. The campaign had instant support. As of today, the campaign has raised over $32,000 and has distributed funds to 60 immigrant theater artists.
To donate and learn more about the See Lighting Foundation, please visit www.seelightingfoundation.com. And check out the See Lighting Foundation's Instagram (@seelightingfoundation) to learn more about the artists that are being helped and the work that they do.