Northampton Arts Council will offer new round of COVID-19 relief grants for local artists

  • NORTHAMPTON ARTS COUNCIL NORTHAMPTON ARTS COUNCIL

Staff Writer
Published: 4/16/2021 3:59:32 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Last April, as the pandemic shuttered music clubs, art galleries, and other venues, depriving myriad local artists of vital income, the city’s Arts Council opened a grant program to try and provide at least a temporary lifeline to them.

A year later, as the pandemic lingers and lost income among artists and others in the arts community is tallied, the council is opening a second round of the Artist Relief Grant program, which the group hopes to supplement with community donations.

Last spring, Arts Council funding, coupled with support by community members, put $42,570 in the hands of 129 local artists, according to Brian Foote, the council’s executive director. In a statement, Foote said he was grateful for that support and hoped people would also be able to help out in this new round of funding.

“Artists and arts producers play a vital role in making Northampton a great place to live and work,” he said. “We want to ensure that members of our artistic community have the support they need to make it through this crisis and create beauty on the other side of it.”

Applications for the renewed grant funding are due by May 15. According to the Arts Council, all artists and art producers “who have been financially impacted by COVID-19 and contribute to the artistic vibrancy of Northampton, Florence, and Leeds” are eligible to apply online at northamptonartscouncil.org.

The Arts Council typically administers what’s known as the ArtsEZ grant round at this time of year to support local arts projects centered in Northampton, Florence, and Leeds. But with public gatherings still on hold, and the economic impact of COVID-19 undiminshed, the council has opted to administer funding — the total amount is yet to be determined — for artist relief instead.

Arts Council staff say they are driven in particular by a report released last month by the Massachusetts Cultural Council that says “working creatives” in Massachusetts — individual artists, teaching artists, and scientists/humanists — reported over $30 million in lost personal income during the past year. In western Massachusetts alone, the Arts Council says, 558 artists reported lost income of nearly $5 million.

Anyone looking to make a contribution to this renewed round of artist relief can visit MightyCause (mightycause.com/story/Artistrelief) or the Arts Council website. All are also invited to join the Northampton Arts Council Facebook Group, which aims to create an online community for artists and arts producers. Additional information is available on the council’s COVID-19 Resource page.

Steve Pfarrer can be reached at spfarrer@gazettenet.com.


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