By Jim Speirs, Executive Director, Arts South Dakota
South Dakota’s working artists have been among the groups hardest hit by the economic realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the best of times, artists must struggle to weave together a livelihood, and now this group is particularly vulnerable as their work relies on public gatherings and communal spaces. 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. The first priority for Arts South Dakota in these past months has been to collect, categorize and share resources that can help our state’s cultural organizations and artists stay strong while continuing to create under these difficult conditions.
Now we’ve added a much-needed resource—the Arts South Dakota Artist Emergency Relief Fund. This fund provides rapid response grants of $500 to $1,000 to South Dakota resident individual artists making a significant portion of their 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 financial assistance in the next two months because their creative work has been interrupted due to the health crisis. Funding is provided through the generous support of the Bush Foundation and grants from the Artist Emergency Relief Fund do NOT need to be repaid.
Artist Emergency Relief Fund applications begin June 10 and close on June 25, 2020. Artists should follow the links at www.ArtsSouthDakota.org to apply. As funding and needs develop, Arts South Dakota will work to open up additional applications in the future.
Think about the impact artists have had on your life. Think about a South Dakota without the creative spark of these individuals and think about all they have done to make our communities truly feel like home. It’s our turn to lift them up and we couldn’t be more excited to provide this support to our treasured creators.