Hello Artists:

I’m sure we are all reeling from the effects of this Pandemic Crisis.  It’s rough but we’ll get through it.  In my position as President of the African American Arts Alliance I have put together this list of resources.  This is a long list and some of them I’m sure the deadlines have passed – but not all.  There is funding for artists of all types and there are also a few resources for small businesses outside of the arts.  Also there is information on the Paycheck Protection Program and the Disaster Loan Program.  If you are looking for a bank that will allow you to apply for the PPP - Wintrust is accepting applications.  If you are applying for the PPP and Disaster Loan Program please do it right away.  This money will run out again quickly.  This is a tedious search but if you put in the work and the time – there is monies available.  I hope you’re all staying safe and sound and please fill free to past this information on to whomever you think may need it.




Jackie Taylor

President of the African American Arts Alliance of Chicago


For Freelance Artists
COVID-19 & Freelance Artists

Association of Performing Arts Professionals
Emergency Reposnse Page

Grantmakers in the Arts
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and Arts Funding

Lifetime Arts
Supporting Creative Aging Programming during COVID-19 Crisis

Emergency Resources

  • Actors Fund: national human services organization (with a Chicago office) that provides emergency financial assistance, affordable housing, health care and insurance counseling, senior care, secondary career development. These services are designed for performing arts and entertainment professionals.

  • Adolph & Esther Gottlieb Emergency Grant: intended to provide interim financial assistance to qualified artists whose needs are the result of an unforeseen, catastrophic incident, and who lack the resources to meet that situation.




  • Arts for Illinois Relief Fund: a statewide effort in Illinois that provides financial relief to artists and arts organizations with urgent need due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 


  • Arts Leaders of Color Emergency Fund: this fund supports BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) artists and administrators (consultants, facilitators, box office staff, seasonal/temporary employees, etc.) who have been financially strained due to COVID-19. 


  • Blues Foundation: special fund provides immediate resources to full-time blues musicians whose revenue streams have been severely diminished by the current coronavirus pandemic. 


  • Chicago Federation of Musicians: emergency financial relief for members in good standing of the Chicago Federation of Musicians, Local 10-208. Specifically, the fund will supply financial relief to those members affected by the loss of work and wages as of 03/12/20 – 05/17/20 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • Chicago Theatre Workers Relief Fund: developed by the League of Chicago Theatres and The Saints, this fund is intended to help Chicago area theater professionals replace lost income due to theater closures.



  • Creative Capital: offers a list of resources for artists and arts organizations affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.


  • Creator Fund: organized by ConvertKit, this fund helps creators in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.



  • Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant: provides grants to visual or performing artists who have unanticipated, sudden opportunities to present their work to the public when there is insufficient time to seek other sources of funding, or incur unexpected or unbudgeted expenses for projects close to completion with committed exhibition or performance dates.


  • For the People Artists Collective: offering emergency microgrants of up to $500 to Illinois-based artists and freelancers of color whose income has been affected during the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • Freelance Artist Resources: an aggregated list of free resources, opportunities, and financial relief options available to artists of all disciplines.


  • Jazz Foundation of America: a musician's emergency fund provides housing assistance, pro bono medical care, disaster relief, and direct financial support in times of crisis.


  • Joan Mitchell Foundation: provides emergency support to US-based visual artists working in the mediums of painting, sculpture, and/or drawing, who have suffered significant losses after natural or man-made disasters that have affected their community. 


  • Musicians Foundation: provides one-time assistance to professional musicians in the US for periods of acute need (e.g. medical crisis, crime victimization, catastrophic events, etc.)


  • National Coalition for Arts' Preparedness & Emergency Response (NCAPER): a voluntary task force of national, regional, state, and local arts organizations, public agencies, and foundations, NCAPER helps ensure that artists, arts/cultural organizations, cultural funders, and arts businesses have the capacity and ability to respond effectively to disasters and emergencies affecting the arts and culture sector.


  • Rauschenberg Emergency Grants: beginning in May 2020, in partnership with New York Foundation for the Arts, this national program will provide visual and media artists and choreographers with one-time grants of up to $5,000 for medical emergencies. 


  • Statera: offers an Emergency Response Directory for artists during COVID-19 that covers topics such as advocacy, social justice action, travel/visa information, funding, best practices for online teaching/learning/gathering, etc.


  • Sweet Relief: created a donor-directed fund with a limited amount of support to be used specifically for musicians and music industry workers affected by the coronavirus.


  • The Dancers Fund: provides financial assistance to dance professionals dealing with critical health issues creating a significant financial, emergency, or catastrophic hardship. 


  • The Haven Foundation: provides financial assistance to artists who have a health crisis; grants are one-year, and the financial amount provided is to the discretion of the Foundation.


  • WomenArts: offers a list of emergency funding for artists working in all art forms.



We continue to be focused on supporting the community through the Chicago Theatre Workers Relief Fund. To date 220 local theatre workers have been given a grant from the fund. The outpouring of generosity towards our community has been truly amazing as we’ve received donations from 315 individuals and organizations towards the fund in the last month. Please help us spread the word about the fund to any of your theatre workers who have been laid off during this time. A reminder that it is focused on helping those who have difficulty accessing unemployment. More Information.


The Illinois Department of Employment Security just announced that it is encouraging applications now from independent contractors, sole proprietors, and freelance workers for standard unemployment benefits. LCA's FAQ explains how this change may affect your ability to obtain unemployment benefits.


The recording of LCA’s webinar, “Business Interruption Insurance for Cancelled Events,” is now available for free viewing. Our panelists analyze the potential that your property damage policy may cover lost revenues from ordered shutdowns of your business.


LCA’s Brief Service Response Center is open to advise on both unemployment issues and insurance coverage issues, as well as the other business and legal challenges resulting from the Coronavirus crisis.

For nonprofit colleagues - 

In light of yesterday’s news on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), we want to reinforce that FMA continues to be here for the nonprofit sector every step of the way. 

On Thursday, the Small Business Administration announced that the PPP’s original $349 billion had been exhausted. This was a devastating blow to the many nonprofits who have not yet submitted PPP applications but were hoping to access cash under the program, either to maintain or bring back staff in the months ahead.  

We too are greatly disappointed that Congress has yet to allocate more funding for this critical Program. We understand Congress is expected to return next week to debate adding in significantly more funding, and we are cautiously optimistic about this rapidly evolving Program. 

So, what should you do now?   

We recognize some of you have received funding through the Program already, some of you are in the middle of applying, and some are learning about the details of the Program. 

If you have not yet applied or have an application in progress:  

We continue to encourage nonprofits to prepare to submit their applications.  We do not know how the next week will unfold, but we want to ensure nonprofits are ready to apply for the Program if further funds are allocated over the next several days. Having materials ready could help ensure you get a place in line. Please check with your lender for further clarity on whether you can start or keep working on your application. We will continue to keep the Paycheck Protection Toolbox updated with resources and make daily updates. For those who have applied or were approved and are waiting to hear back, your lender may have more information on next steps.  

If your application has been approved or funded: 

Even if additional funds are not added, FMA will continue to provide support for those who have been approved to ensure you can properly manage the PPP loan on the pathway to loan forgiveness. We have been stunned by the response from nonprofits who are willing to take time out of their schedules to learn more about the Program on top of everything else you are managing. We will continue to stand by the thousands of nonprofits actively trying to access cash to manage through this crisis around the country. 

As you continue to engage with the Paycheck Protection Program and other provisions of the CARES Act, please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions. Our consultants are monitoring this email address and responding to inquiries with our latest guidance: fmacares@fmaonline.net  

Thank you, 
The FMA team 


Arts for Illinois Relief Fund for arts organizations and individual artists (applications re-open May 4th)


A Better Chicago Emergency Relief Fund supports local nonprofits as they continue to provide essential support to low-income communities during the current pandemic. Local nonprofits can request relief funding for projects and initiatives providing immediate assistance to low-income youth and families hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.


The Joyce Awards is one of the only program supporting artists of color in major Great Lakes cities, aimed to strengthen cross-cultural understanding by bringing diverse audiences together. In recognition of the disruptive impact the COVID-19 crisis has had on artists and arts organizations across our region, The Joyce Foundation is extending the timeline for applications for the 2021 Joyce Awards. The new deadline for submission of Letters of Intent (LOI) is September 14, 2020, with awardees selected in April 2021.


The Artist Relief Fund is a $10 million national emergency relief fund for artists and creative workers that will provide $5,000 no-strings-attached grants. It is intended for anyone who earns income from their creative or artistic practice and who has also been affected by COVID-19.


U.S Small Business Administration: Disaster Loan Assistance will provide federal disaster loans for businesses, private non-profits, homeowners and renters

Supported in part by Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, the Illinois Arts Council Agency, The MacArthur Funds for Arts & Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation


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© 2014 African American Arts Alliance of Chicago