This time in our world is uncertain, but what we do know with certainty is that there are many efforts going on to help those in need in many capacities, including artists. To help with this creative effort is the Artist Relief Tree, who recently announced phase two of their mission to help fund artists of any discipline with a one-time “solidarity” donation of $250. To achieve this goal, the Fund is looking to raise upwards of $1,000,000.
According to the release, musician and writer Amanda Palmer is lending her crowdfunding experience and support to this fund, which has already raised $215,000 to support artists in need. Alongside Amanda Palmer, ART has been endorsed by a broad coalition of artistic leaders and innovators including musicians Mike Posner, Regina Spektor, Rhiannon Giddens, Missy Higgins, Brian Eno, Ben Folds and Ani diFranco; writers George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, Brené Brown, Ijeoma Oluo and Maria Popova (founder of); opera stars Isabel Leonard, Freddie Ballentine, Ryan McKinny and John Holiday; actors and comedians Russell Brand and Sir Lenny Henry.
“Millions of artists are in a terrifying free-fall right now, including many of my own close friends. Millions of others are in the position to help,” said Palmer in the release. “So many artists — even well-known and loved ones — live hand-to-mouth and have absolutely no financial safety nets, no insurance, no lifeline. We have to be that lifeline. Anyone right now who is in a position to help, must. Don’t forget what a world without art would be like: we can’t eat it, but it feeds us. Reach deep and give generously, please. And artists in need: please apply. We’re here to help, we got you.”
ART first began its mission through Facebook earlier this month by artistic administrator Morgan Brophy from Wolf Trap Opera and vocal coach and conductor Andrew Crooks from the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music. Already, ART has made a huge impact, but the fight is far from over. Over 3,500 requests for assistance from artists all over the world, representing opera, theater, music, dance, the visual arts and much more has made its way to the cause, and donations are needed to help fuel this artistic hunger.
“The goal is to provide wide-reaching support for artists of all disciplines via a simple application process, quick and easy access to funds, and full transparency,” said Brophy in the release. “We cannot hope to replace an artist’s lost income entirely. Our mission is to promote sharing our collective resources to help keep the artistic community alive. Like the tree in our name, we want to bring each root and branch of our community together to support each other. To that end, we are offering solidarity donations for any artist who applies – as long as we have funds to give.”
The support so far has been impactful, which is why phase two has been implemented. The slightest bit of donations can make a difference in lives. Not everyone has the resources to give right now, but there is still a way to spread the word and try to help those in need if that is the case. The term ‘starving artist’ has never resonated more in recent times than now.
“If we have the money to offer, we’ll give it to as many people as we can. We are moving quickly and carefully to secure fiscal sponsorship, which will soon allow for tax-deductible donations. Hopefully, people will understand the urgency of our cause and celebrate the fact that we are already distributing money to artists who are struggling. Helping people is our first priority,” added Crooks in the release.
The founding ART team along with Crooks and Brophy includes opera artists and administrators Tehvon Fowler-Chapman, Marco Cammarota, Rachel Stanton and Thomas Morris along with ART’s partners in the theater world, Broadway producer Rachel Sussman, Rachel Karpf, Rachel Silverman and freelance producer Hayley Isaacson.
If you are an artist who is interested in receiving help from ART, you can fill out a form stating your artistic practice, contact and payment information. According to the release, each application is reviewed by the ART team to confirm that the applicant is a practicing artist. In order to increase reach, applicants are asked to share information about the fund on their own social media channels, and then a legal and financial team ensures thorough and systematic disbursement of funds.
The hit to the artistic community around the world will be immense (as intense as an estimated $3.2 billion loss according to Americans for the Arts), but of course, there is hope.
“We are not here to pass judgment on people’s circumstances or artistry,” Brophy said in the release. “Our philosophy is that if you are an artist in need, you will receive support, so long as we have the resources to keep giving.”