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Updated General and Specific Funding Sources; Financial Literacy Webinars & Workshops

Blog Author: Simone Cottrell | Cover Artwork by Hannah Newsom Doyle

Skip the Intro, Take Me to the Resources
Artist: Hannah L. Newsom Doyle

It’s not polite to talk about money.

But when we don’t talk about money, we don’t even out the playing field.

Or smash the glass ceiling.

Or in some cases the bamboo ceiling and the concrete ceiling.

My first introduction to having a meaningful conversation about arts and money happened when I was in the fifth grade, obsessed with Cecil B. DeMille’s Cleopatra, and in a gifted program called VIVA ARTS. Mrs. Fox was my arts instructor and after maybe day four of listening to the O.J. Simpson case on the radio, she suggested that we go for a walk.

On this brief excursion, I would ask Mrs. Fox one of the toughest questions a woman could ask another woman. She was progressive, being a fifth-grade art teacher letting us listen to the most famous murder trial ever in American history and all. I directed my eyes to the sidewalk and asked in a voice that elongated the vowels and teetered somewhere between fake British aristocracy and playful sing-song:

“Mrs. Fox? What iiiiiiii-s your saaaa-lary?”

She sighed and said, “Simone. That’s not a polite question. Have you thought about joining VIVA DRAMA?”

Skip to 2018.

Artist: Hannah L. Newsom Doyle
Artist: Hannah L. Newsom Doyle

On this brief excursion, I would ask Mrs. Fox one of the toughest questions a woman could ask another woman. She was progressive, being a fifth-grade art teacher letting us listen to the most famous murder trial ever in American history and all. I directed my eyes to the sidewalk and asked in a voice that elongated the vowels and teetered somewhere between fake British aristocracy and playful sing-song:

“Mrs. Fox? What iiiiiiii-s your saaaa-lary?”

She sighed and said, “Simone. That’s not a polite question. Have you thought about joining VIVA DRAMA?”

Skip to 2018.

Artist: Hannah L. Newsom Doyle

I’m in my dream job doing theatre and spent a solid week creating three different budgets according to what I knew the potential partner asked for in previous discussions. We scheduled a phone call once they reviewed the budgets and on that phone call, the first question yelled at me (and I do mean YELLED) was,

“Why do YOU cost SO much?!”

“You know, it’s not polite to talk about salary,” is what I could’ve said.

But I didn’t. I had done my research. I knew how much I was worth, and I was fully prepared to break down those numbers in a way that educated but also restored my dignity as an artist.

I explained all the things we as artists and creatives already know. I cost “so much” because of:

Rent/mortgage, health insurance, food, utilities, car payments, emergency savings, student loans, vacation and spending money (gasp!), taxes, may not get another contract for six months, purchasing of materials and use of equipment, my knowledge, research, skill level, and emotional Labor as a non-black woman of color (yes, you read that correctly.)

She exhaled. “I understand now.”

Artist: Hannah L. Newsom Doyle
Artist: Hannah L. Newsom Doyle

I explained all the things we as artists and creatives already know. I cost “so much” because of:

Rent/mortgage, health insurance, food, utilities, car payments, emergency savings, student loans, vacation and spending money (gasp!), taxes, may not get another contract for six months, purchasing of materials and use of equipment, my knowledge, research, skill level, and emotional Labor as a non-black woman of color (yes, you read that correctly.)

She exhaled. “I understand now.”

I’ve had the opportunity to talk about an artist’s worth to high schoolers, college students, and individual artists and peers, and the general community that wants to appreciate art, but cannot understand why it would cost so much. Normally, I start with the sticker shock of a piece of art and have an open discussion. And to be clear, I’m not talking about Comedian (AKA Banana Duct Tape to Wall) ridiculous sticker shock. I’m talking about everyday, working artists in our area who depend on a living income.

Then I take that sticker shock price, apply all the essential items that I mentioned above, and ask, “What if that’s the only piece of art that you sell all year? Now what do you do?”

This question is where I find that the conversation gets interesting.

For the general community, they begin to recognize that an artist’s portfolio is vast and takes a certain type of grit to stay in the business. The work a professional artist or creative does is hard, demanding and usually takes two other sustainable jobs to produce what we can for the public. We have no safety net, and we depend on our business know-how to make sure that we can still create despite the expenses.

When I present this conversation to young artists and creatives, or those who need a check-in, I mostly see artists of all disciplines have trouble understanding their financial worth. “It seemed like a good price for what I was giving them,” is an answer that clues me in that the artist had not broken down their expenses, and it’s an answer I’m all too familiar with. Even now, students graduating with BFAs and MFAs may have taken one or two classes about financial literacy and mostly no grant proposal training in their toolbox. If artists and creatives never had formal business training in college, they tend to rely on second-hand information, or they create an inaccurate formula based on what the contractor is offering.

When Phase III passed for the CARES Act, it allowed for artists, creatives, the gig economy and freelancers to access support that we have never had before, such as unemployment and certain loans.

Unfortunately, because we never had it before there is no system federally or in our state of Arkansas that existed prior to March 2020 that could tell us how to navigate through these waters. Bureaucracies are trying to figure it out as quickly as possible, but it’s like asking Godzilla to quietly knit a sweater while balancing on a tightrope between the Eiffel Tower and Big Ben. Godzilla wasn’t created for that sort of niche performing arts career.

How do we determine our financial worth? How do we start leveraging the conversations away from “exposure” to “expect an invoice”? And now with our voices as a collective gig economy, how can we get legislators to start taking our needs seriously so we don’t find ourselves in this situation again?

Let’s just start by talking.

A is for Ambiguity.
B is for Building.
C is for Conversation.

And L-O-V-E is all that I can give to you,

S.

Specific Funding Opportunities

NALAC

ALAC has created the Actos de Confianza micro-grant initiative to support [Latinx] artists and arts administrators whose work has been adversely impacted by COVID-19. ALAC will be making $500 micro-grants to provide individuals with short-term emergency financial assistance to compensate for loss of income due to the cancellation of an event, engagement, project or employment. Undocumented Latinx artists in the United States, and Latinx artists who have been deported from the United States are also encouraged to apply. All disciplines welcomed. Applicants should be 18 years or older.

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Queer Writers of Color Relief Fund

This fund is for queer writers of color only who have been financially impacted by the current COVID-19, not organizations or nonprofits. Priority will be given to queer trans women of color and queer disabled writers of color.

The goal is to make disbursements once per day after $5,000 is funding has been raised. The total goal is $100,000 to help at least 100 writers.

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Kinkade Family Foundation

The Kinkade Family Foundation is proud to administer a new Emergency Grant for curators who are developing projects that promote artwork of contemporary and experimental nature. The Emergency Grant provides funding for a curatorial project that sheds light on the world during this time of darkness. Priority will be given to curators who have a venue secured for their project and are greatly impacted by the challenges we are facing due to COVID-19.

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General Funding Opportunities

National Endowment for the Arts

This program will be carried out through one-time grants to eligible nonprofit organizations including arts organizations, local arts agencies, statewide assemblies of local arts agencies, arts service organizations, units of state or local government, federally recognized tribal communities or tribes and a wide range of other organizations that can help advance the goals of the Arts Endowment and this program. Grants will be made either to organizations for their own operations, or to designated local arts agencies, eligible to subgrant, for subgranting programs to eligible nonprofit organizations.

All applicants must be previous National Endowment for the Arts award recipients from the past four years.

Submit to grants.gov (April 22, 2020)
Submit to portal (April 27, 2020 – May 4, 2020)

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Artist Relief

To be eligible for a relief grant, applicants must be:

Practicing artists able to demonstrate a sustained commitment to their work, careers, and a public audience; experiencing dire financial emergencies due to the COVID-19 pandemic; 21 years of age or older; able to receive taxable income in the U.S. (e.g. citizen, green card holder, and/or permanent resident who can provide a W9 and SSN or ITIN); residing and working in the U.S. for the last two years; not a full-time employee, board member, director, officer, or immediate family member of any of the coalition partners; not previously awarded a relief grant from this fund.

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Resources (ALL FREE & Registration Highly Encouraged)

Forecast

Pro Bono Consulting:

Forecast Public Art will immediately begin to offer pro bono consultations and technical support to any public artist or public art administrator based in the U.S. and the Native nations that share the same geography from now until May 31, 2020, as a response to the mounting effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

They are acutely aware that — due to the shelter in place orders, protections in place for social distancing, and a wave of closures and cancellations nationwide — public art program administrators and artists are navigating unprecedented circumstances. Their team is ready and well-positioned to help public artists, administrators and programs respond to these difficult circumstances.

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Artist INC Cares

Finding Financial Help (recorded and upcoming webinars)

What’s Working / What’s Not (April 15, 2020 at 10 am CST)

  • Artists share their personal experience going through the loan process.
  • Actions to take this week.

What’s Next? Creating a Strategy to Move Forward (April 22, 2020 at 10 a.m. CST)

  • Reviewing the Portfolio Career, how to truly diversify your income.
  • What parts of the portfolio career are durable and can be emphasized during this time?
  • Actions to take this week.
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Creative Capital

Online workshops:

Coping with COVID: Time Management for Artists during Challenging Times (April 14, 2020)

Coping with COVID: Centering Wellness and Self-Care for Creatives (April 21, 2020)

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Howlround Theatre Commons

Livestreaming the Arts Equity Summit 2020: Creating Culture Shifts (April 24, 2020 – April 26, 2020)

A Summit for arts & culture leaders committed to building equity

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Artwork Archive

Webinar: Strategies for Running an Art Business During COVID-19 (includes option to download presentation slides)

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