COVID-19-Related Resources for Artists

Helpful Resources for Artists Amid COVID-19

HB Studio has compiled a list of helpful information, resources, and emergency funding for artists, independent freelancers, nonprofits and small businesses amid the novel coronavirus epidemic. We will continue to update the following resources as more information becomes available (last updated October 26, 2020).

Find out how you can help New Yorkers affected by COVID-19 and how you can receive COVID-19-related assistance:

Petitions and Reforms

During the month of July, Senate leadership released relief proposals through the HEALS Act, which is under consideration, along with the HEROES Act that passed the House in May. Congress continues to shape the next relief package.  Ask Congress to Fund All Arts and Nonprofit Organizations and the Arts Sector Workforce.

Artists, Freelancers & Arts Non-Profits

Browse the resource list from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

ArtsReady, an online emergency preparedness service by and for artists and arts/cultural nonprofits, provides daily resources that include informational webinars and emergency funding for artists.

The Actors Fund will be administering resources and services on the ground. Artists can determine their eligibility for the Actors Fund Emergency Assistance through their online request form

The Freelance Relief Fund offers financial assistance of up to $1,000 per freelance household to cover lost income and essential expenses not covered by government relief programs. This includes: food/food supplies, utility payments, cash assistance to cover income loss.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, NYFA and the Pro Bono Steering Committee of New York State Bar Association’s Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Section (EASL) are collaborating to offer a series of free online workshops to support creative communities.

The Foundation for Contemporary Arts is creating a temporary fund to meet the needs of experimental artists who have been impacted by the economic fallout from postponed or canceled performances and exhibitions. The Foundation will disburse one-time $1,500 grants to artists who have had performances or exhibitions canceled or postponed because of the pandemic.

This list is designed to serve freelance artists, and those interested in supporting the independent artist community, with general resources, advocacy links, and a growing list of funding opportunities.

Artist Relief will distribute $5,000 grants to artists facing dire financial emergencies due to COVID-19; serve as an ongoing informational resource; and co-launch the COVID-19 Impact Survey for Artists and Creative Workers, designed by Americans for the Arts, to better identify and address the needs of artists.

The waitlist is now open for micro-grants for NYC-based freelance theater designers or dramaturges through Wingspace Theatrical Design

The Mayer Foundation makes economic relief grants to needy individuals who are distressed or suffering as a result of poverty, low income or lack of financial resources, including as a result of natural or civil disasters, or from temporary impoverishment, loss of employment, death or incapacity of a family wage earner or damage to home and property.

American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA) offers its current and previous members emergency aid through the AGVA Sick & Relief Fund. 

Dramatists Guild Fund awards one-time emergency grants to individual playwrights, lyricists and composers in need of temporary financial assistance due to unexpected illness or extreme hardship. To be considered for personal grant, you must have had a play or musical either presented for a paying audience anywhere in the United States or Canada, and/or published by a legitimate publishing/licensing company; or be an active member of The Dramatists Guild.

Episcopal Actors Guild of America Emergency Aid & Relief Program, which offers grants for financial need, with the primary determining criterion for eligibility is that the applicant be a professional performing artist who is pursuing an established and ongoing career in the performing arts. Theatre performers who perform live onstage before a live audience are the primary focus of the program.

HOWL Emergency Life Project (HELP) was created to provide emergency financial assistance and social service support to artists who have participated in the annual Howl Festival or who make their careers in New York City’s East Village and Lower East Side arts community and whose work challenges the traditional boundaries of dance, theatre, music, multimedia and the spoken word. Eligibility for the financial assistance program requires an application, documentation of professional earnings and an interview.

Artist + Activist Relief Fund – This fund, created by The Soze Foundation, TaskForce and Invisible Hand, will support artists and activists whose work has been impacted by COVID-19. The New York Foundation for the Arts will be making $250 grants to selected applicants on an on-going basis. The waitlist is now open. 

Behind the Scenes Grant – Behind the Scenes will accept applications from anyone who has been hospitalized with Covid-19 and is in financial need. You may be eligible for a grant if you currently reside in the United States or Canada and have earned your living for at least five years in the entertainment technology industry. This means that your major source of income is from your work in this industry, which includes being directly involved with production: behind the scenes in any type of performance venue, or behind the camera, or on the road. It also includes working companies who are directly involved in supplying entertainment technology products and services such as dealers, manufacturers, production companies, consultants, and design firms. Performing artists are not eligible.

The Creator Fund – Providing financial assistance to active creators who are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. If you have medical, childcare, housing, or grocery needs, please apply for assistance.

Americans for the Arts is sharing helpful information on COVID-19, as well as asking arts organizations and creatives to provide data and stories for an impact survey.

Arts and Culture Leaders of Color Emergency Fund – The Arts and Culture Leaders of Color Emergency Fund is intended to help those pursuing careers as artists or arts administrators whose income has been directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This fund is for those who self-identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color).

The SAG-AFTRA Foundation, along with the Motion Picture Players Welfare Fund, have created the COVID-19 Disaster Fund to aid SAG-AFTRA members impacted by COVID-19. SAG-AFTRA members seeking to apply, and interested donors who want to give, please go to our website for more information:

The Indie Theater Fund is launching a fundraising campaign to provide direct support and emergency relief to independent theaters and artists in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Foundation for Contemporary Arts is creating a temporary fund to meet the needs of experimental artists who have been impacted by the economic fallout from postponed or canceled performances and exhibitions.

The Rauschenberg Emergency Grant will provide one-time grants of up to $5,000 for unexpected medical emergencies. The grants are available to visual and media artists and choreographers who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents in the United States, District of Columbia, or U.S. Territories. 

The Max’s Kansas City Project provides emergency funding & resources to professionals in the creative arts. Individuals who have made their living through their art form either professionally or personally and demonstrate a financial need for medical aid, legal aid or housing.


The National Council of Non-Profits has compiled a helpful guide to loans available as part of the CARES Act.

The NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund was created to aid nonprofit service providers struggling with the health and economic effects of the coronavirus. It will give grants and loans to NYC-based nonprofits that are trying to meet the new and urgent needs that are hitting the city. Priority will be given to nonprofits addressing essential healthcare and food insecurity as well as arts and culture, because New York is the cultural capital of the nation.

The NYC Small Business Continuity Fund will offer loans up to $75,000 for companies who have seen sales decreases of 25% or more and have less than 100 employees. Complete online form to get notification of when the loan application becomes available.

NYCON has gathered local and national resources that your nonprofit may find helpful in light of the COVID-19/Coronovirus Pandemic. Included are some important links to resources, guides, and policy updates to services and knowledge we think you’ll find helpful.

TCG is closely tracking the coronavirus to ensure the theatre field has access to the resources needed to navigate the immediate and longer-term impacts of an outbreak. Their Coronavirus Preparedness Webinar provides a holistic take on preparedness for theaters.

Chronicle of Philanthropy, Nonprofit Quarterly, and Candid are reputable resources for fundraising information for nonprofits during the pandemic.

Small Businesses

To help small businesses deal with the impact of COVID-19, the City has launched the Employee Retention Grant Program to help retain employees as businesses face decreased revenue. This program is available to New York City businesses with one to four employees that can demonstrate at least a 25% decrease in revenue as a result of COVID-19. Eligible businesses will receive a grant covering up to 40% of their payroll for two months. Businesses can access up to $27,000.

The City’s Dept. of Small Business Services offers guidance for businesses impacted due to the novel coronavirus. More information for all businesses here.

The U.S. Small Business Administration is working with the Governor’s Office to make loans available for COVID-19 related situations. Nonprofits will be eligible and the interest rate is 2.75%. Read more:

Staying Informed

You can text “COVID” to 692-692 to stay informed with official health information.

2020 Census

Everyone should have received by snail mail an invitation to fill out the Census form. You can fill it out online here.

Fighting Discrimination

Asian Americans Advancing Justice is collecting stories of people who have been harassed based on their race or appearance during the recent weeks as the epidemic has escalated. Here is a list of resources specifically for artists and cultural workers who feel they have been targeted, resources for marginalized populations that are feeling strained and under-supported, as well as ways that people with privilege can upstand/bystand/intervene when they see or experience a bias incident.