This Earth Day, we’re thinking about the many artists and other workers who have lost their livelihoods, or seen them greatly depleted, as speaking, teaching, and performance engagements are cancelled around the country. Delayed projects, layoffs, furloughs, and unpaid leave are affecting our peers in the arts community and beyond. When it’s hard to meet basic needs, it can be even harder to advocate for environmental and social justice.
If you’re in a situation where you can and would like to help those who have been affected in this way, here are some organizations to consider. These are also, of course, excellent resources for those who wish to apply for support. Though this list is by no means comprehensive, we hope it offers some places to begin.
The National Endowment for the Arts, a longtime supporter of Ecotone, Lookout Books, and so many other arts organizations, has made CARES Act grants available for organizations affected during this time. The initial deadline is April 22(!), and application and details can be found at arts.gov. State and local arts councils are offering support as well—the North Carolina Arts Council, for example, has a thoughtful statement and this excellent list of resources.
Through the Arts Leaders of Color Emergency Fund, set up by the Arts Administrators of Color Network, folks can donate directly in support of BIPOC artists and administrators (consultants, facilitators, box office staff, seasonal and temporary employees, etc.) who have been financially impacted due to COVID-19.
Creative Capital has joined forces with several national arts grantmakers to form Artist Relief—an initiative that includes immediate, unrestricted emergency funding of $5,000 for individual artists of all disciplines, and resources to help those in need due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Learn more at artistrelief.org.
The NC Artists Relief Fund was created to support creative individuals who have been financially impacted by gig cancellations due to the outbreak of COVID-19. One hundred percent of donated funds will go directly to artists in North Carolina. Musicians, visual artists, actors, DJ’s, dancers, teaching artists, filmmakers, comedians, and other creative individuals and arts presenters are experiencing widespread cancellations due to this global pandemic. Given the overwhelming amount of need, this fund will also prioritize the most vulnerable artists among us: artists of color, queer artists, and artists with disabilities.
The Coffee House Writers Project, inspired by the WPA Federal Writers Project of the 1930s, is an initiative from Coffee House Press to commission new, short digital-only literary works from writers whose ability to support themselves has been affected by the COVID-19 health crisis. They’ll soon begin sharing new writing twice a month.
Feeding America is a nationwide network of food banks that secures and distributes 4.3 billion meals each year through food pantries and meal programs throughout the United States and leads the nation to engage in the fight against hunger. If you’d like to make sure your donation supports your local community, you can use this site to locate your closest food bank and make a direct donation.
350.org has a special place in our hearts because our local chapter is led by students in the UNCW’s MFA program—one of whom is Ecotone’s poetry editor. 350.org is an international movement that works to mitigate the climate crisis, and to build a world of community-led renewable energy for all. The organization argues that we cannot deal with the COVID-19 crisis by making the climate crisis and global inequality worse—and that a just recovery will acknowledge these interwoven crises.
The National Bail Out Collective is a Black-led and Black-centered collective to end systems of mass incarceration. Because people who are incarcerated cannot practice social distancing, the collective is accelerating its efforts to free people from jails, prisons, and detention centers. Donations help to bail out marginalized folks, with a focus on Black caregivers.
And finally, a shout-out to one of our favorite entities: the US Post Office. While many people in the United States and around the world are staying home, postal workers are delivering people’s prescriptions, keeping small and local enterprises in business, and connecting families—not to mention delivering reading material from literary magazines and independent presses! The COVID-19 shutdown is causing postal revenues to plummet even as costs increase, and the US postal service could run out of money as early as June. Some ways to support this vital service can be found at savethepostoffice.com. You can also, as always, buy postage and send packages to family and friends—and you can do all that no contact, online and, from many addresses, using USPS’s package pickup service.
Happy Earth Day, everyone!
This post was compiled by Ecotone managing editor Rachel Taube.