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Seattle Artist Relief Fund Amid COVID-19

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The Seattle arts community has held and nurtured me for years. Those of us in the arts community and those of us who are close to the arts community know the financial pressures that have long been increasing for those in the arts - especially for artists of color.  

Seattle has so far been the city hardest hit by the COVID-19 coronavirus. This scary and tragic  time has a lot of people staying close to home in order to try to help prevent the spread of this virus that can be devastating to our elderly, disabled, and medically compromised friends and neighbors.  

The widespread cancellation of group events has had a disproportionate impact on the Seattle arts community - especially those who rely on gigs to pay their bills. Creatives are people whose very existence relies on what they create and people being able to access their work. Musicians, DJ’s, independent chefs, caterers, actors, directors, writers, spoken word artists, teaching artists, all of these peoples jobs rely on people showing up for events but events are being canceled. 

I know that so far every speaking engagement I had for the next month has been cancelled or postponed, and I’m in the very rare and privileged position to be able to weather this financially. Many are not.  We’re seeing canceled events through the end of this month and it's probably going to continue to grow. A large percentage of artists supplement their incomes with part time jobs often in the service industry which is another industry that is being hit hard. 

So if you love Seattle art and the Seattle arts community, and you have the resources to, please consider pitching in to our relief fund. If you are familiar with similar fundraisers I’ve done in the past (like for last year’s snowpocalypse), you know that this money goes directly to people in the Seattle area in need.

This fund is aimed at helping those in the greater Seattle arts community who have been financially impacted by cancellations due to COVID-19. Depending on funding levels and amount of requests, priority may given to artists from communities that have been historically and systemically economically disadvanted in the Seattle Area: BIPOC artists, transgender & nonbinary artists, and disabled artists - but we will try to help as many artists with need in Seattle as we can as long as we have funds and are not currently turning away any Seattle Area artists who meet the simple criteria (living in the Seattle area, have gig/event/work cancellation in the arts, have fully completed the application). We will basically keep going until we run out of money or this crisis ends - whichever comes sooner.

Where your funds go: 100% of these funds will go to artists who have lost income due to cancellations and work stoppage due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is emergency funding to help artists in need with rent, food, utilities, and medical needs. The amount given to each artist is determined based on how many funds we receive, how much artists have lost due to cancellations, and how many artists apply. We use these factors to calculate what percentage of each individual request we can pay each artist. We are currently giving a minimum of $100 and a maximum of $1000 to each individual artist. 

How Funds will get to Artists: We will send funds to the mailing address, PayPal or Zelle indicated in the application. We've partnered with LANGSTON Seattle ( )  to send out payments in a timely and organized matter and to serve as an accountability and oversight partner. Langston is a 501c3 organizaton, and if you are interested in making a larger, tax-deductable donation to our fund, please use this link ( ) to donate directly to LANGSTON and put "Seattle Artists Relief Fund" or "SARF" in the notes. You can also mail a paper check directly to LANGSTON at (104 17th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144). Checks should be made out to "LANGSTON" with "Seattle Artists Relief Fund" or "SARF" in the memo line. 

We have suspended applications for funds as of now, in order to make sure we can meet the needs of the 1,700 people who have already applied for assistance. We are actively working to be able to meet these needs and raise enough to be able to open applications again. 

If you are an artist in need of funds, we have a waiting list you can join here .

We can get through this together.

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  • Anne Drury
    • $20 
    • 4 yrs

Fundraising team (4)

Ijeoma Oluo
Seattle, WA
Ijeoma Oluo
Team member
Gabriel Teodros
Team member

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