Artist Relief Tree (ART) Announces Phase II Of Global Grassroots Fundraiser For Artists Affected By COVID-19
Artist Relief Tree (ART), an online fundraiser supporting artists affected financially by COVID-19, announced today that it is beginning a second phase of fundraising toward US$1,000,000. Funds will be used to support artists of any discipline with a one-time "solidarity" donation of US$250.
Musician and writer Amanda Palmer is lending her crowdfunding experience and support to this fund which has already raised US$215,000 to support artists in need. Alongside Amanda Palmer, ART has been endorsed by a broad coalition of artistic leaders and innovators including musicians Mike Posner, Regina Spektor, Rhiannon Giddens, Missy Higgins, Brian Eno, Ben Folds and Ani diFranco; writers George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, Brené Brown, Ijeoma Oluo, and Maria Popova (founder of BrainPickings.org); opera stars Isabel Leonard, Freddie Ballentine, Ryan McKinny and John Holiday; actors and comedians Russell Brand and Sir Lenny Henry.
"Millions of artists are in a terrifying free-fall right now, including many of my own close friends. Millions of others are in the position to help." says Palmer.
"So many artists - even well-known and loved ones - live hand-to-mouth and have absolutely no financial safety nets, no insurance, no lifeline. We have to be that lifeline. Anyone right now who is in a position to help, must. Don't forget what a world without art would be like: we can't eat it, but it feeds us. Reach deep and give generously, please. And artists in need: please apply. We're here to help; we got you."
ART was launched as a Facebook fundraiser on March 11th, 2020 by artistic administrator Morgan Brophy (Wolf Trap Opera) and vocal coach and conductor Andrew Crooks (Lawrence University Conservatory of Music).
The pair has been astounded by the response, both from artists hit hard by a wave of cancelled performances, concerts, and events, and from individuals supporting the initiative.
Since launching, ART has received over 3,500 requests for assistance from artists all over the world, representing opera, theater, music, dance, the visual arts, and more. It is now accepting donations at www.artistrelieftree.com.
"The goal is to provide wide-reaching support for artists of all disciplines via a simple application process, quick and easy access to funds, and full transparency," said Brophy. We cannot hope to replace an artist's lost income entirely. Our mission is to promote sharing our collective resources to help keep the artistic community alive.
"Like the tree in our name, we want to bring each root and branch of our community together to support each other. To that end, we are offering solidarity donations for any artist who applies - as long as we have funds to give."
The support the wider community has shown to artists struggling as a result of COVID-19 has led ART to lift its sights.
"We've been so overwhelmed by the generosity of donors and the requests for help from artists that we want to expand on our current goal of raising US$250,000 so that we can help more people." said Crooks.
"We've begun distributing funding to the first artists who requested it. We're excited at the impact our efforts are having on building a sense of community and solidarity between all creative types, especially as many of us can only be together online at the moment.
"This is motivating us to launch Phase II, including raising US$1,000,000, which will allow us to give US$250 to every artist who has already applied. If we see continued momentum with fundraising, we will reopen applications to receive new requests from artists.
"If we have the money to offer, we'll give it to as many people as we can. We are moving quickly and carefully to secure fiscal sponsorship which will soon allow for tax-deductible donations. Hopefully people will understand the urgency of our cause and celebrate the fact that we are already distributing money to artists who are struggling. Helping people is our first priority."
Along with Crooks and Brophy, the founding ART team includes opera artists and administrators Tehvon Fowler-Chapman (Vocal Arts DC, National Sawdust), Marco Cammarota, Rachel Stanton (Wolf Trap Opera), and Thomas Morris (OperaSpace). ART's recent partners in the theater world include Broadway producer Rachel Sussman, Rachel Karpf (WP Theater), Rachel Silverman (New York Theatre Workshop), and freelance producer Hayley Isaacson.
In keeping with ART's values of transparency and ease of access, applicants to the fund complete a brief form indicating their artistic practice, as well as contact and payment information.
Each application is reviewed by the ART team to confirm that the applicant is a practicing artist. In order to increase reach, applicants are asked to share information about the fund on their own social media channels. A legal and financial team ensures thorough and systematic disbursement of funds.
According to Americans for the Arts, virus-related financial losses to date are estimated at $3.2 billion in the US nonprofit arts sector alone (www.artsactionfund.org/COVID19Impact). In addition to hundreds of thousands of freelance jobs being canceled, 26% of all American arts organizations have already reduced their creative workforce.
ART exists to help bridge the gap for these and thousands of other artists worldwide. Artists interested in receiving funds can join the waitlist at www.artistrelieftree.com.
"We are not here to pass judgement on people's circumstances or artistry," Brophy said. "Our philosophy is that if you are an artist in need, you will receive support, so long as we have the resources to keep giving."
You can contact the ART team at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the website at www.artistrelieftree.com.