You might have plenty of ideas to stay visible to your audience while ordered to stay at home (here are some we like), but you still face a grim reality: There’s little to no revenue.
In a national survey by Americans for the Arts, 91 percent of responding arts organizations indicated that they have cancelled one or more events. Many arts organizations have closed their doors for months to come. More than one-third of respondents expect to make reductions in staff; 26 percent have already reduced their creative workforce. COVID-19 has already had a devastating economic impact on the U.S. nonprofit arts sector — financial losses to date are estimated to be $3.2 billion.
If you’re like most artists or arts organizations and institutions in the Coachella Valley, you lack the reserves necessary to weather a months-long shutdown. But you can access resources for financial relief as well as some sage advice.
For example, the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland, recommended these steps for organizations:
1. Ask donors of restricted funds to relax those restrictions, freeing capital for general operating needs
2. Develop extended payment plans with vendors; solicit payment forgiveness from vendors owed money
3. Ask ticket buyers of cancelled performances and fundraising events to forego a refund and, instead, contribute the value of their ticket, allowing artists and employees to be paid
4. For those in city-owned facilities, ask for delayed payment or payment forgiveness
5. Seek to renew external lines of credit, or begin discussions with one’s foundation supporters, loyal donors and board members about the formation of low- or no-interest loans
6. Activate the greater organizational “family” – more of whom are likely home from work – to support the organization in a volunteer function
7. If circumstances demand increased liquidity, borrow, judiciously, from endowments and restricted reserves (recognizing that many organizations will not have this option).
You can find support from the organizations and funds and funds listed below. Be sure to read eligibility guidelines prior to completing your inquiry or application.
American Guild of Musical Artists Relief Fund
Authors League Fund
CERF+ Artists Safety Net
Foundation for Contemporary Arts COVID-19 Relief Fund
PEN America Writers’ Emergency Fund
Rauschenberg Emergency Grants
Sweet Relief Musicians Fund
The Actors Fund’s Entertainment Assistance Program
The Adolph & Esther Gottlieb Emergency Grant
The Creator Fund
Additionally, you can find an aggregated list of free resources, opportunities, and financial relief options available to artists of all disciplines through the Freelance Artists Resources website. Likewise, Americans for the Arts is continually updating a list of funding resources and articles to help you navigate the COVID-19 crisis.
Nonprofits of all sizes are eligible for U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Assistance, which offers low-interest, long-repayment loans of up to $2 million to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that you can’t pay because of the impact of COVID-19. Likewise, the California Small Business Finance Center has a Disaster Relief Loan Guarantee Program.
If you are facing reduced hours or layoffs due to COVID-19 shutdowns, visit California’s Employment Development Department website for information about unemployment filings, childcare support, and other expanded resources.
The California Labor and Workforce Development Agency has published mandates and resources for employers and benefits for workers affected by COVID-19.
California Desert Arts Council — which unifies, empowers, and promotes the arts in the Coachella Valley — will continue to provide the local arts and culture community with resources and advice to navigate this emergency.