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NEWS | COVID-19 Relief Resources for Artists and Independents of All Kinds

NEWS | COVID-19 Relief Resources for Artists and Independents of All Kinds


In this unprecedented time of global hardship, freelancers and artists are finding themselves hit especially hard by COVID-19 in the form of lost work, wages, and sales. 

Luckily, there are many organizations and groups on the ground that are pulling together to form a safety net for vulnerable professionals. The sheer number of different options for aid can be overwhelming so we have put together as comprehensive a list as we are able of support resources for artists and makers affected physically and/or financially by the widespread effects of the novel coronavirus. Please read through the information below carefully as you may be eligible for multiple relief options in the different headers.


In terms of federal aid, the CARES act was signed into law March 27, 2020. The Act provides enhanced Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) for New Yorkers. You may qualify to receive 39 weeks of UI benefits and an additional $600/week until 7/31/2020. Find an overview of the program and instructions on how to apply here. The application for PUA has been updated and streamlined (although please anticipate a waiting period as the State is inundated with and catching up on applications.) Click here for more instruction and to access this completely separate UI system. 


The U.S. Small Business Administration is providing disaster assistance loans to small businesses impacted by COVID-19. As of May 1, 2020, the second round of funds related to the Paycheck Protection Program (meant to help small businesses keep their workers employed during the COVID-19 crisis) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance (can provide up to $10,000 of economic relief to businesses currently experiencing temporary difficulties) are now available and applications are continuing. Other currently available forms of assistance include SBA Express Bridge Loans for businesses who currently have a relationship with an SBA Express Lender may access up to $25,000 quickly and SBA Debt Relief provides a financial reprieve to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic associated with paying the principal, interest, and fees of current 7(a), 504, and microloans for a period of 6 months. It’s important to note in some cases, these “loans” but will be forgiven provided certain criteria is met. We suggest subscribing to the SBA news by signing up for email updates at the bottom of their website.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce appears to be aggregating federal resource information but it does not hurt to subscribe to their email newsletter too at the bottom of their website page.

GoFundMe announced their Small Business Relief Initiative last month to help small businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses need to raise at least $500 via GoFundMe to be eligible for a $500 matching grant. GoFundMe has begun releasing grants.

Kickstarter has launched Inside Voices which promotes your at-home projects, ideas, inventions, and other creative work to a backer-based online community (think zines, digital performances, tutorials, etc). Send your live project to insidevoices@kickstarter.com

Facebook is opening grant applications for cash grants and ad credits to for-profit businesses in specific regions. Applications for businesses based in the NYC area only are now open. Learn more here.

Vogue and CFDA founded "A Common Thread" grant fund initiative to help designers and small retailers through this difficult time. Applications are still open. Click here.


The best, most comprehensive existing list we have been able to find has been curated by Billboard. While the title indicates that the resources are targeted towards music professionals, it seems to be an even split among artistic disciplines. Access the list here

This comprehensive spreadsheet resource compiles artist relief funds with information about deadlines, location, and grant amounts. Many of the aid options here are national or specific to New York. 

MusiCares, overseen by the Grammys organization, is offering assistance and grants to eligible musicians. Learn more here.

Relief for disabled musicians through the Petrillo Memorial Fund.

Assistance for actors through the Actor’s Fund and through AGMA relief.

New York State Council on the Arts is constantly updating their list of COVID-19 relief resources. Visit that list here. This is a great page to sort through.

Aid for creative professionals through the Artist Relief Fund and the Artist Relief Project.

Emergency Grants for visual artists through the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. Access the application here

Artist’s Safety Net is administered by Cerf+ to aid artists who work in craft disciplines. Current aid is focused on assisting artists who are experiencing a health emergency due to infection from COVID-19.

Assistance for authors

Grants for visual artists 


Assistance for restaurant workers

Assistance for bartenders

We wish you all good health and good spirits. Hopefully, some of these resources will be of help to you. Art sustains us during times of unease and we need makers more than ever in these unusual times. Stay strong, stay safe, and remember: your work is valuable to the world! 

If you know of additional resources not listed above, please email us at info@newyorkmakers.com.

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