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Art Institute of Chicago Mutual Aid

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Who are we? 
AIC Mutual Aid (AMA) is an independent, community-based effort created by and for employees of the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) to support colleagues affected by the museum’s pandemic-related closure. We aim to collect and share resources among the members of our community impacted by furloughs, layoffs, and other economic factors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are first and foremost a network of colleagues helping colleagues. We believe that we have a collective duty to take care of one another and that mutual aid offers an alternative to traditional donation models by prioritizing equity, empowerment, and solidarity within our network.

In addition to financial support, this effort aims to connect staff members to share non-financial resources. We’ll have more information about this soon.

This fund is independent of the Art Institute of Chicago.

How can you help?
Donate to this Go Fund Me campaign. While contributions are not tax-deductible, recipients will not be taxed on the gifts they receive.

The AMA effort is collecting financial and non-financial resources to respond to requests for assistance from laid off and furloughed staff to help meet immediate needs during this crisis.

Non-financial assistance includes food and medicine delivery, assistance applying for unemployment, emotional support, and other needs.

Offer non-financial assistance by signing up to Volunteer here.

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Why is this effort necessary? 
On November 17, 2020, Governor Pritzker issued a closure order for all Illinois museums to curb the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and reinforce the state's stay-at-home advisory. In December 2020, facing a consequential revenue impact created by the closure, AIC announced full-time furloughs for 109 employees, indicating that staff are unlikely to be recalled before March 4, 2021 (nine weeks).

This followed two previous rounds of staff layoffs during the museum's initial COVID-19 related closure (March-July 2020), including 51 layoffs in June 2020.

These numbers do not include other eliminated positions, or staff and contractors impacted at the School of the Art Institute, or AIC’s catering and security contractors.

Additionally, this is an economically challenging time for many colleagues who are dealing with traumatic national events, ongoing mental and physical health challenges, isolation, childcare challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and loss of other financial resources.

What are we doing? 
We have started accepting requests for aid as of January 18, 2021, with funds distributed as quickly as possible thereafter–we anticipate within one week. Please use this form to request aid. 

Financial assistance will be distributed weekly by a small sub-committee of the AMA. Catherine Rutledge, a current staff member at AIC is acting on this distribution committee and has volunteered to act as our public beneficiary.  Financial assistance will be paid out of an account dedicated to this purpose, managed by individuals who have signed confidentiality agreements. We are committed to keeping the confidentiality of the information we receive.

Please email [email redacted] [dot] com with immediate or pressing questions.

Organizer and beneficiary

AIC Mutual Aid
Chicago, IL
Catherine Rutledge

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