CONTACT: Shari Kosel, Program & Communications Director
605-252-5979 ext. 1

June 10, 2020

Artist Emergency Relief Fund created by Arts South Dakota

Short-term, immediate financial support for individual artists, culture bearers and creative workers within South Dakota who have been impacted by the Coronavirus-COVID-19 health crisis is now available through the Arts South Dakota Artist Emergency Relief Fund.

This group is particularly vulnerable to the current crisis. Their work relies on public gatherings and communal spaces, and they often lack employee protections like paid leave or healthcare. The CARES Act has provided important support, but it has gone largely to organizations, and other relief for individuals is taking months to be distributed. This crisis has hit South Dakota creatives hard.

To address these stopgap funding needs, this fund will provide rapid response grants of $500 to $1,000 to South Dakota resident individual artists, making an important portion of income from arts activities or creative work, including performing, selling work or educating in any creative discipline. Applicants must be older than 18, not currently enrolled as full-time students and must show need of short-term assistance in the next two months because their creative work has been interrupted due to the COVID-19 health crisis. Grants from the Artist Emergency Relief Fund do NOT need to be repaid.

“Through the past few months, artists have been there for us—performing virtually to keep us entertained and educating us through workshops and webinars,” said Arts South Dakota director Jim Speirs. “Now it’s time for us to help them and we couldn’t be more excited to provide this support to our treasured creators.” 

Applications for the first round begin today, June 10, and close on June 25, 2020. Notice of awards will be sent July 2, and payments mailed July 9. Anyone meeting the criteria is eligible for funding, with special consideration given to artists in rural communities with populations less than 20,000 and artists living within or current citizens of one of the nine Native nations with lands in South Dakota.

Funding for the Arts South Dakota Artist Emergency Relief Fund is provided through the generous support of the Bush Foundation, with administration and disbursement by Arts South Dakota. As funding and needs develop, Arts South Dakota will work to open up additional applications in the future.

For more information, criteria and to apply for the Arts South Dakota Artist Emergency Relief Fund, visit

Arts South Dakota, funded entirely by donor contributions and grants, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization whose primary purpose is to enrich the lives of South Dakotans and their visitors, by advancing the arts through service, education and advocacy.