Mayor London Breed Announces Arts Relief Program
$2.5 million in support will go to working artists and arts and cultural organizations financially impacted by COVID-19
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today announced an Arts Relief Program to invest directly in working artists and arts and cultural organizations financially impacted by COVID-19. The investment is a combination of funding strategies designed to help the arts and culture community through grants and low-interest loans to organizations and working artists most impacted by this crisis. The Arts Relief Program will be funded by an initial $2.5 million from the City.
“Our artists and cultural institutions are at the heart of who we are as a City and a community,” said Mayor Breed. “This community is also getting hit hard right now as people are suffering from job loss, business closures, and economic disruption during the COVID-19 outbreak. We need to do everything we can to stabilize our arts community now. I hope our public investment will encourage private donors to join us in supporting our vulnerable artists during this challenging time.”
“San Francisco is defined by our vibrant arts and culture and we need to support this sector now more than ever,” said City Administrator Naomi M. Kelly, who administers Grants for the Arts. “Although this emergency has paused many live performances, we will do all we can to provide support to the artists and organizations who make them possible during this trying time.”
The program will consist of two options, a grants program and low-interest loans, that will allow artists and organizations to choose what best meets their needs. The philanthropic community will be allowed to donate to these programs to expand impact.
$1.5 million will go towards grants to individual artists, teaching artists, and small- to mid- budget sized arts and cultural organizations administered by the Center for Cultural Innovation. The Fund will prioritize the needs of those serving cultural populations that are the most vulnerable—black, indigenous, immigrant, trans, and people with disabilities. Individuals may apply for up to $2,000. Organization awards will range from $5,000 to $25,000 and will be scaled based on budget size. The general operating grants may be used to pay rent and salaries, to retain employees, and help keep artists and organizations in San Francisco.
$1 million will go towards low-interest loans to small- to mid-budget sized arts and cultural organizations administered by the Arts Loan Fund (ALF) of Northern California Grantmakers. ALF is a revolving loan program, which already makes low-interest loans to support arts and cultural organizations.
Roberto Ordeñana, San Francisco Arts Commission President:
“We appreciate the Mayor’s leadership in recognizing the urgent need and acting quickly to provide financial assistance to the artists and cultural nonprofits who need our City’s support.”
Deborah Cullinan, Co-Chair, SF Arts Alliance and CEO, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts:
“In this unprecedented moment, we salute Mayor Breed’s expedient and decisive actions in support of the health and wellbeing of the people of San Francisco. Our city’s artists, art workers and arts organizations are deeply impacted along with our colleagues across the nonprofit sector. We stand in solidarity with our Mayor in prioritizing those who are most vulnerable and we are buoyed by her commitment to the essential role of art and culture in defining and inspiring our city. We hope that those who are able will match this vision.”
Laura Poppiti, Bay Area Grants Program Director with the Center for Cultural Innovation:
“We’re honored to partner with the City on this important initiative. We know this investment in our arts and culture community comes at a critical time, and these funds will make a meaningful impact.”
Adriana Griñó, Co-Chair, Arts Loan Fund Steering Committee; Arts Program Officer, Kenneth Rainin Foundation:
“This contribution from the City of San Francisco is vital to ensuring that arts and culture organizations have the resources they need to continue their work during this challenging time. The Arts Loan Fund remains dedicated to supporting these organizations and the critical role they play in their communities.”
Frances Phillips, Co-Chair, Arts Loan Fund Steering Committee; Program Director, Walter & Elise Haas Fund:
“Daily we hear from arts and cultural organizations that are struggling to cover basic expenses and pay their staffs and artists when they cannot be open to the public. The COVID-19 Emergency Loan is meant to help them meet those essential costs as our community adapts to life-saving shelter in place practices. The Arts Loan Fund’s steering committee pledges to move quickly with requests.”
In addition to the Arts Relief Fund, San Francisco has also launched the Give2SF Fund at www.give2sf.org, which allows the City to accept tax-deductible monetary contributions. These contributions can be spent on various City efforts to respond to the novel coronavirus outbreak and support residents. In addition to monetary donations, the City is requesting sealed personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline health workers, cleaning supplies, and technology equipment for essential employees to telecommute.