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Playwrights Horizons' Artists' Relief Fund Awards $1,000 Grants to 182 Artists

The fund addresses the loss of income suffered by theater-makers who have kept the ecology of New York City’s non-profit new play landscape thriving.

Playwrights Horizons' Artists' Relief Fund Awards $1,000 Grants to 182 Artists

Playwrights Horizons today announced that it has awarded Artists' Relief Fund grants of $1,000 to 182 theater artists navigating financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Fund, established with the goal of benefitting 135 artists, grew substantially thanks to a lead gift from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF); generous support from the 21st Century ILGWU Heritage Fund, the JKW Foundation, and the Tiger Baron Foundation; and contributions from nearly 500 individual donors in the Playwrights community. As previously announced, initial funding came from proceeds from Jeremy O. Harris' hit digital presentation of the acclaimed Playwrights Horizons production of Will Arbery's Heroes of the Fourth Turning, directed and produced by Danya Taymor.

Playwrights Horizons' Artists' Relief Fund addresses the loss of income suffered by theater-makers who have kept the ecology of New York City's non-profit new play landscape thriving. With the grants just awarded, the organization supports playwrights, directors, choreographers, actors, dramaturgs, designers, stage managers, crew, and technicians as they navigate a prolonged period of uncertainty.

Playwrights Horizons received applications from 600 artists, having encouraged people of all races, sexual orientations, gender identities, ages, classes, and religions, and people with disabilities to apply. The grantees were selected by a committee that included a scenic designer, a stage manager, an actor, a playwright, a director, and two members of Playwrights Horizons' staff.

Playwrights Horizons Managing Director Leslie Marcus says, "Playwrights Horizons' chief concern throughout the COVID-19 crisis has been the well-being and continued compensation of the writers and artists whose innovative work we, in normal times, share on our stages. We are proud to have found ways throughout the pandemic to provide meaningful, paid opportunities for artists to continue creating-to keep them working and our audiences engaged. We are deeply grateful to the foundations, individual donors, and artists who have contributed to our Artists' Relief Fund; they have made it possible for us to give theater-makers under duress what they need most urgently: money to get through this time."

Playwrights Horizons Artistic Director Adam Greenfield says, "The Artists' Relief Fund was launched from an imperative to sustain our community of theater-makers in as wide-reaching a way as possible, as soon as possible. That New York has continued to be a vibrant center for the cultivation and production of new plays is thanks to the care, perseverance and artistry of the practitioners who've dedicated their labor to non-profit theater: a community in peril from the vast, swift toll of the pandemic. Initially, we had hoped to offer these grants as support to 135 artists, and because of generous contributions from these four foundations, and from individual donors, this endeavor has grown well beyond our expectations. Whatever 'emerging' from this moment looks like, artists' imagination, world-building, and social incisiveness will crucially illuminate what needs changing and offer visions of what the future can hold. It is our turn, in the meantime, to expand what we can offer them."

The Artists' Relief Fund is part of a multi-pronged approach Playwrights Horizons has taken to sustaining their artistic community since the pandemic brought in-person theater-making to a halt and further exposed the glaring inequities and missing support systems within American society, including our artistic institutions. Playwrights also just released the full inaugural edition of Almanac, a new literary magazine in which the theater and the artists who comprise it come together to take stock of contemporary American politics, culture, and playwriting. Since last March, the institution has also launched Soundstage, an acclaimed anthological scripted audio fiction series that offers "world premieres from world-class playwrights without having to leave your home" (The New York Times); and a series of virtual Master Classes by celebrated playwrights and artists. Additionally, Playwrights has undertaken several other initiatives aimed at supporting theater-makers, including a free, financial literacy program with a professional financial planner; and information about remote freelance work opportunities and emergency grants.


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