Relief Fund to support artists, artisans and cultural organizations impacted by COVID-19

Published: Apr. 1, 2020 at 6:21 PM CDT
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Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot joined Governor JB Pritzker Wednesday to announce a new ‘Arts for Illinois Relief Fund’ to provide financial assistance to artists, artisans and cultural organizations impacted by COVID-19.

The fund is a partnership between the City of Chicago, the State of Illinois and the broader philanthropic community. Arts for Illinois Relief Fund is administered by Arts Alliance Illinois in partnership with 3Arts and Arts Work Fund.

To date, more than $4 million has been committed from public and private sources to seed an upcoming statewide campaign that will provide additional funding to meet the growing and critical needs of the state’s creative sector.

This statewide initiative comes at a time of unprecedented strain on the arts and cultural community. In a statewide survey by Arts Alliance Illinois assessing the financial impact of COVID-related closures, 320 respondents estimated that their organizations will lose more than $84 million in revenue due to a suspension of public-facing programs or exhibitions until the end of April.

This closure impacts 24,124 individual events or performances, 3,563 full-time jobs, 13,144 part-time/contract jobs, and nearly 2.5 million audience members or participants including young people and children.

Realizing the immediate and critical need, a group of funders came together to offer support, including leadership gifts by the City of Chicago, Walder Foundation, and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, as well as funding contributions by The Albert Pick, Jr. Fund, The Chicago Community Trust, The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust, Exelon, The Field Foundation, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Irving Harris Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, Kassie Davis, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, State of Illinois, and Terra Foundation for American Art.

“The arts and cultural community have proven that despite devastation caused by COVID- 19, we can all come together to support each other and provide Illinoisans this incredible resource to experience so many different forms of art while at home,” said Governor JB Pritzker and First Lady MK Pritzker. “When the time comes for us to once again gather in person – and that time will come – we must remember this amazing community of creative individuals who have graciously made available their work to entertain us. Until then, we encourage everyone to support this incredible community by appreciating their art in new ways.”