COVID-19-Related Resources for Artists

Helpful Resources for Artists Amid COVID-19

HB Studio has compiled a list of helpful information, resources, and emergency funding for artists, independent freelancers, nonprofits and small businesses amid the novel coronavirus epidemic. We will continue to update the following resources as more information becomes available (last updated January 28, 2021).

Find out how you can help New Yorkers affected by COVID-19 and how you can receive COVID-19-related assistance:

The Save Our Stages Act passed as part of the third federal stimulus package. For complete requirements see Section 324 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. The National Independent Venue Association also has posted a helpful plain language FAQ.

In accordance with Int. 2068 of 2020, legislation enacted in December 2020, New York City is establishing an Open Culture program, which will allow eligible art and cultural institutions and venues to apply for expedited Street Activity Permit Office (SAPO) permits to host artistic and cultural events in approved open spaces. Additional information and FAQs on Open Culture are available in this document.

Resources and Funding for Artists

Artists, Freelancers & Arts Non-Profits

Browse the resource list from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

ArtsReady, an online emergency preparedness service by and for artists and arts/cultural nonprofits, provides daily resources that include informational webinars and emergency funding for artists.

The Actors Fund will be administering resources and services on the ground. Artists can determine their eligibility for the Actors Fund Emergency Assistance through their online request form

CERF+ COVID-19 Relief Grant is offering $1,000 grants for artists working in craft disciplines who are facing dire circumstances due to food, housing, and/or medical insecurities as a result of the ongoing pandemic. The deadline to apply is February 3.

The Freelance Relief Fund offers financial assistance of up to $1,000 per freelance household to cover lost income and essential expenses not covered by government relief programs. This includes: food/food supplies, utility payments, cash assistance to cover income loss.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, NYFA and the Pro Bono Steering Committee of New York State Bar Association’s Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Section (EASL) are collaborating to offer a series of free online workshops to support creative communities. 

The Foundation for Contemporary Arts is creating a temporary fund to meet the needs of experimental artists who have been impacted by the economic fallout from postponed or canceled performances and exhibitions. The Foundation will disburse one-time $1,500 grants to artists who have had performances or exhibitions canceled or postponed because of the pandemic.

This list is designed to serve freelance artists, and those interested in supporting the independent artist community, with general resources, advocacy links, and a growing list of funding opportunities.

Artist Relief will serve as an ongoing informational resource and co-launch the COVID-19 Impact Survey for Artists and Creative Workers, designed by Americans for the Arts, to better identify and address the needs of artists.

The waitlist is now open for micro-grants for NYC-based freelance theater designers or dramaturges through Wingspace Theatrical Design

The Mayer Foundation makes economic relief grants to needy individuals who are distressed or suffering as a result of poverty, low income or lack of financial resources, including as a result of natural or civil disasters, or from temporary impoverishment, loss of employment, death or incapacity of a family wage earner or damage to home and property.

American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA) offers its current and previous members emergency aid through the AGVA Sick & Relief Fund.

Dramatists Guild Fund awards one-time emergency grants to individual playwrights, lyricists and composers in need of temporary financial assistance due to unexpected illness or extreme hardship. To be considered for personal grant, you must have had a play or musical either presented for a paying audience anywhere in the United States or Canada, and/or published by a legitimate publishing/licensing company; or be an active member of The Dramatists Guild.

Episcopal Actors Guild of America Emergency Aid & Relief Program, which offers grants for financial need, with the primary determining criterion for eligibility is that the applicant be a professional performing artist who is pursuing an established and ongoing career in the performing arts. Theatre performers who perform live onstage before a live audience are the primary focus of the program.

HOWL Emergency Life Project (HELP) was created to provide emergency financial assistance and social service support to artists who have participated in the annual Howl Festival or who make their careers in New York City’s East Village and Lower East Side arts community and whose work challenges the traditional boundaries of dance, theatre, music, multimedia and the spoken word. Eligibility for the financial assistance program requires an application, documentation of professional earnings and an interview.

Artist + Activist Relief Fund – This fund, created by The Soze Foundation, TaskForce and Invisible Hand, will support artists and activists whose work has been impacted by COVID-19. The New York Foundation for the Arts will be making $250 grants to selected applicants on an on-going basis. The waitlist is now open. 

Behind the Scenes Grant – Behind the Scenes will accept applications from anyone who has been hospitalized with Covid-19 and is in financial need. You may be eligible for a grant if you currently reside in the United States or Canada and have earned your living for at least five years in the entertainment technology industry. This means that your major source of income is from your work in this industry, which includes being directly involved with production: behind the scenes in any type of performance venue, or behind the camera, or on the road. It also includes working companies who are directly involved in supplying entertainment technology products and services such as dealers, manufacturers, production companies, consultants, and design firms. Performing artists are not eligible.

Americans for the Arts is sharing helpful information on COVID-19, as well as asking arts organizations and creatives to provide data and stories for an impact survey.

Arts and Culture Leaders of Color Emergency Fund – The Arts and Culture Leaders of Color Emergency Fund is intended to help those pursuing careers as artists or arts administrators whose income has been directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This fund is for those who self-identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color).

The SAG-AFTRA Foundation, along with the Motion Picture Players Welfare Fund, have created the COVID-19 Disaster Fund to aid SAG-AFTRA members impacted by COVID-19. SAG-AFTRA members seeking to apply, and interested donors who want to give, please go to website for more information.

The Indie Theater Fund is launching a fundraising campaign to provide direct support and emergency relief to independent theaters and artists in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Rauschenberg Emergency Grant will provide one-time grants of up to $5,000 for unexpected medical emergencies. The grants are available to visual and media artists and choreographers who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents in the United States, District of Columbia, or U.S. Territories.

The Max’s Kansas City Project provides emergency funding & resources to professionals in the creative arts. Individuals who have made their living through their art form either professionally or personally and demonstrate a financial need for medical aid, legal aid or housing.


The NYC Civic Corps is looking to engage more cultural and arts based nonprofits. More information can be here.

All not for profit community-based organizations that wish to apply for City Council discretionary funding for FY2022 must submit a Council Application. The FY2022 application is available here and the submission deadline is Tuesday, February 16, 2021.

This loan initiative from the Fund for the City of New York provides bridge financing to assist small to mid-sized non-profit cultural arts organizations with their capital project expenses, with a priority to groups that have capital grants from the Borough President, City of New York and the Department of Cultural Affairs. BIPOC-led organizations are strongly encouraged to apply.

The National Council of Non-Profits has compiled a helpful guide to loans available as part of the CARES Act.

The NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund was created to aid nonprofit service providers struggling with the health and economic effects of the coronavirus. It will give grants and loans to NYC-based nonprofits that are trying to meet the new and urgent needs that are hitting the city. Priority will be given to nonprofits addressing essential healthcare and food insecurity as well as arts and culture, because New York is the cultural capital of the nation.

The NYC Small Business Continuity Fund will offer loans up to $75,000 for companies who have seen sales decreases of 25% or more and have less than 100 employees. Complete online form to get notification of when the loan application becomes available.

NYCON has gathered local and national resources that your nonprofit may find helpful in light of the COVID-19/Coronovirus Pandemic. Included are some important links to resources, guides, and policy updates to services and knowledge we think you’ll find helpful.

TCG is closely tracking the coronavirus to ensure the theatre field has access to the resources needed to navigate the immediate and longer-term impacts of an outbreak. Their Coronavirus Preparedness Webinar provides a holistic take on preparedness for theaters.

Chronicle of Philanthropy, Nonprofit Quarterly, and Candid are reputable resources for fundraising information for nonprofits during the pandemic.

Small Businesses

The COVID-19 Pro Bono Collaborative, a growing network of trusted top-tier law firms, corporations and other legal service providers across the country, is providing a highly coordinated, emergency response to help small businesses and nonprofit organizations survive the economic impact of COVID-19. Complete this form to request a COVID-19 Consultation with a volunteer attorney or financial professional.

The City’s Dept. of Small Business Services offers guidance for businesses impacted due to the novel coronavirus. 

The U.S. Small Business Administration is working with the Governor’s Office to make loans available for COVID-19 related situations. Nonprofits will be eligible and the interest rate is 2.75%.

Mayor de Blasio and the NYC Department of Small Business Services launched Fair Share NYC, a targeted campaign to connect small business owners to federal relief funds. The city is offering daily webinars to assist groups in applying. Visit for additional information and resources.

COVID-19 Resources

You can text “COVID” to 692-692 to stay informed with official health information.

Cultural Affairs has published a guide intended to help arts education organizations and individual arts educators navigate the support available to them during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.

New Yorkers who tested positive for and recovered from COVID can donate convalescent plasma at Mount Sinai. Fill out the eligibility questionnaire.

Tuesdays from 10am-4pm, free COVID testing is available in the community room of Dr. Muriel Petioni Plaza (203 w. 146th st.)

COVID-19 Vaccine

Figure out if you’re eligible to receive the COVID vaccine here or here. If you’re eligible for the vaccine, make your appointment here. Complete the online form and bring your submission ID and proof of employment to your appointment.

New York City vaccine fact sheet.

Racial and Social Justice Resources

Asian Americans Advancing Justice is collecting stories of people who have been harassed based on their race or appearance during the recent weeks as the epidemic has escalated.

Centering the Picture: The Role of Race & Ethnicity in Cultural Engagement: A national, BIPOC-focused analysis of survey data from Wave 1 of Culture + Community in a Time of Crisis: A Special Edition of Culture Track.