Four hundred artists and 80 arts organizations received $2.7 million in total grants as part of a broad-based COVID-19 relief effort for the visual arts in the Los Angeles region, the J. Paul Getty Trust and the California Community Foundation announced Wednesday.
The emergency support was designed to reach artists throughout all areas of Los Angeles County, and arts organizations that serve the region’s culturally diverse communities.
“The arts are a source of expression, resistance, and healing,” said Joan Weinstein, director of the Getty Foundation, an operating program of the Getty Trust, which initiated the $10 million LA Arts COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund. “But our creative artists and arts organizations, who do so much to advocate for social change, will not survive this pandemic and its economic fallout if we don’t take action now to support them.”
Officials said smaller arts organizations tend to operate without any endowment funds or cash reserves, yet they provide access to the arts for underserved groups.
The money will provide support to meet urgent financial needs over the next three months, including staff salaries, rent, and emergency supplies to comply with public health measures.
“We’re going to have to become semi-experts in how to manage spaces and arts experiences through a public health lens,” said Betty Avila, executive director of the arts nonprofit Self Help Graphics & Art in East Los Angeles, which received an emergency grant.
The California Community Foundation and Getty responded to the pandemic by creating the Relief Fund for L.A. County Visual Artists. The Fund has provided emergency grants of up to $2,000 each to 400 local artists who work in all visual arts disciplines. Artists who applied for grants were asked to demonstrate their artistic practice through an online presentation of their work and to describe their financial needs.
Additional contributions came from a trio of local artist-endowed foundations: the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts, the Sam Francis Foundation, and the Shepard and Amanda Fairey Foundation. The artist relief fund is administered by the Center for Cultural Innovation.