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Hello/Hola/Iokwe/and សួស្តី!

Blog Author: Simone Cottrell | Cover Artwork: Whirlwind by Melissa Milton

Simone Cottrell // Multidisciplinary Theatre-Maker // she | her | hers

If you’ve lost a contract, raise your hand.

If you’ve lost a contract, and you’re an artist living in Northwest Arkansas, put that hand down, give it a good wash and get your thrive mask on. I’ve got resources to share with you!

Finding NWA is giving me a platform to channel all of my anxiety and need to organize chaos into a blog series. A blog series that will hopefully be your go-to for artist-specific resources.

Some questions you might be asking:

Will this be a good place to get information about my arts institution?

Maybe!

This blog is dedicated to identifying funding resources for creatives in Northwest Arkansas during this COVID-19 pandemic. Most of these resources are just good to have in your toolbox whether you are an individual artist on contract, an arts administrator in a nonprofit, a stage manager, a drag queen, a world-class coffee barista, an arts activist, a tattoo artist, a pro-wrestler who makes their own costumes — you get the idea.

Each blog entry will have resources made specifically for different groups of folks in the creative fields, as well as identifying resources for significant minorities who also work in the arts.

We want to make this as easy as possible for you to find your funding and resources.

But what if I don’t know if I’m an artist that needs this help?

Normally I would say in my social practice voice, “Everyone is an artist.” Truly, you are. That’s a blog for another day (year?).

However, this blog is for any individual whose yearly income depends on their involvement in the NWA arts and creative economy. Our artistic and creative skills and talents are our bread and butter, or at least the popcorn that ties us over between meals.

A Soft Landing by Melissa Milton
Artist Melissa Milton
Some questions you might be asking:

Will this be a good place to get information about my arts institution?

Maybe!

This blog is dedicated to identifying funding resources for creatives in Northwest Arkansas during this COVID-19 pandemic. Most of these resources are just good to have in your toolbox whether you are an individual artist on contract, an arts administrator in a nonprofit, a stage manager, a drag queen, a world-class coffee barista, an arts activist, a tattoo artist, a pro-wrestler who makes their own costumes — you get the idea.

Each blog entry will have resources made specifically for different groups of folks in the creative fields, as well as identifying resources for significant minorities who also work in the arts.

We want to make this as easy as possible for you to find your funding and resources.

But what if I don’t know if I’m an artist that needs this help?

Normally I would say in my social practice voice, “Everyone is an artist.” Truly, you are. That’s a blog for another day (year?).

However, this blog is for any individual whose yearly income depends on their involvement in the NWA arts and creative economy. Our artistic and creative skills and talents are our bread and butter, or at least the popcorn that ties us over between meals.

Downward Glide by Melissa Milton

Does my field count as an “art” and what are the chances of me getting funding resources?

There are four major disciplines in the arts — literature, performing, visual, multidisciplinary — and the subcategories are almost endless.

Then there’s the arts that have carved out their own identities in our culture — culinary, fashion, landscape architecture, tattooing, circus arts and cabaret, just to name a few.

Read, read, read the resource entry guidelines and the funder’s mission and values carefully. If it fits your artistic and creative fields, go for it. The chances of you receiving grant funding first depends on how well you followed the guidelines. For some emergency funding resources at this time, they are working at a first come, first served and that depends on the funding available.

If you’re unsure, shoot me an email with your questions at simone@findingnwa.com, and I’ll be in touch to help soundboard.

Can you help me with understanding artist unemployment?

Independent and freelance artists rely on contracts for income.

If you are an artist who was on a W-9 contract, unfortunately, you do not qualify for unemployment. It’s part of the risk we take as freelancers.

If you were doing your art on the side and/or you were laid off from your 9 to 5 (no matter the industry), then yes. You would qualify for unemployment.

File For Unemployment

I’m not a legal expert, but check your contracts for a “force majeure:”

Force Majeure is a clause that normally states that the contract can be canceled at no fault to the employer due scenarios that cannot be controlled by the employer. Example scenarios are “acts of God” — i.e., flood, earthquake, tornado, fire, war and revolutions, epidemics and pandemics.

If any contract does, try negotiating with the employer if this work can be done at a later date within the fiscal year. If it can’t, try negotiating for it to be in the employer’s budget for the fiscal year 2021.

Even if it doesn’t have a force majeure, negotiate for a rescheduling anyway. Chances are you already have a personal relationship with the person who hired you. Present two to three options of what could happen in the future and keep an internal “Ain’t No Way This Is Happening in 2020” deadline. Prepare yourself as best as possible for financial loss should none of those options work.

Hope Grows by Melissa Milton
Hope Grows by Melissa Milton

I’m not a legal expert, but check your contracts for a “force majeure:”

Force Majeure is a clause that normally states that the contract can be canceled at no fault to the employer due scenarios that cannot be controlled by the employer. Example scenarios are “acts of God” — i.e., flood, earthquake, tornado, fire, war and revolutions, epidemics and pandemics.

If any contract does, try negotiating with the employer if this work can be done at a later date within the fiscal year. If it can’t, try negotiating for it to be in the employer’s budget for the fiscal year 2021.

Even if it doesn’t have a force majeure, negotiate for a rescheduling anyway. Chances are you already have a personal relationship with the person who hired you. Present two to three options of what could happen in the future and keep an internal “Ain’t No Way This Is Happening in 2020” deadline. Prepare yourself as best as possible for financial loss should none of those options work.

The Swimming Veil by Melissa Milton

Can you help me find a job?

Can I personally help you find a job? No.

Will I post as many relevant items as possible to the arts to help you find funding? Yes.

But what do I do with my hands in the meantime?!?!?

Baby, you keep creating because your light is needed!

I’ve been hearing a lot of metaphorical comparisons of this pandemic to war. The best thing artists can do right now is to pick up the Bob Hope USO torch and walk us through this dark tunnel with moments of beauty.

Think of this moment as a time to figure out what brings you joy and most likely it’ll brighten someone else’s day.

Make JOY contagious.

But if you’re not Team Joy, that’s cool. Artists also have a way of flipping the script to issues that can be examined in a new way. Oversaturation of noise (particularly on social media) can be canceled out with striking images, a well-timed song, poetry…you choose and your choice.

Please do take care of your mental and emotional health. Artists don’t just feel. THEY FEEEEEEEL. It is not a personal failure if you are unable to cope during this time. You are not required to create. You are not required to display your vulnerabilities.

You are being asked to stay home as much as possible because that in itself is productive at this moment.

Artists, creatives, innovators and agents of change, you are loved. You are needed. And Finding NWA is here to help.

Collision by Melissa Milton
Collision by Melissa Milton

Please do take care of your mental and emotional health. Artists don’t just feel. THEY FEEEEEEEL. It is not a personal failure if you are unable to cope during this time. You are not required to create. You are not required to display your vulnerabilities.

You are being asked to stay home as much as possible because that in itself is productive at this moment.

Artists, creatives, innovators and agents of change, you are loved. You are needed. And Finding NWA is here to help.

Stay Blessed & Stop Touching Your Face,

S.

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