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Tri-State Relief Fund to Support Non-Salaried Workers in the Visual Arts

Home > Awards and Grants > Tri-State Relief Fund to Support Non-Salaried Workers in the Visual Arts

Emergency relief grant program will provide $1,250,000 in aid to Tri-State non-salaried workers in the visual arts who have experienced financial hardship from lack of income or opportunity as a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis.

The Willem de Kooning Foundation, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Teiger Foundation, and the Cy Twombly Foundation have partnered to establish an emergency relief grant program, administered by New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), that will provide $1,250,000 in aid to Tri-State non-salaried workers in the visual arts who have experienced financial hardship from lack of income or opportunity as a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis. NYFA wishes to thank the Jean and Louis Dreyfus Foundation for being the first funder to contribute to the Tri-State Fund, following the announcement of the Fund. Those interested in donating to the fund may do so here.

The Tri-State Relief Fund to Support Non-Salaried Workers in the Visual Arts will distribute one-time unrestricted cash grants of $2,000 each to freelance, contract, or non-salaried archivists, art handlers, artist/fine art photographer’s assistants, cataloguers, database specialists, digital assets specialists, image scanners/digitizers, and registrars.

Applications will be accepted over three cycles starting Tuesday, May 5, 2020. After reviewing for completeness and documented losses of income, qualifying applicants will be selected for funding each cycle via a lottery process. Applicants who do not receive funding are invited to re-apply during future cycles.


GRANT TIMELINE

Grant Launch: Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Cycle I

Application Opens: Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at 10:00 AM EDT

Application Closes: Wednesday, May 6, 2020 at 11:59 PM EDT

Applicants Notified: Monday, May 18, 2020

Cycle II

Application Opens: Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 10:00 AM EDT

Application Closes: Wednesday, May 20, 2020 at 11:59 PM EDT

Applicants Notified: Monday, June 1, 2020

Cycle III

Application Opens: Tuesday, June 2, 2020 at 10:00 AM EDT

Application Closes: Tuesday, June 9, 2020 at 11:59 PM EDT*

Applicants Notified: End of June 2020

*In light of recent events, we want to allow our community enough time to gather their thoughts and materials to apply and have extended the deadline from Wednesday, June 3 to Tuesday, June 9.


WHO CAN APPLY?

Applicants must meet all of the following requirements:

  • They are a behind-the-scenes freelance, contract, or non-salaried cultural worker in the visual arts, who are able to demonstrate a sustained commitment for the past three years (2017-2020) work in one or more of the following roles:
  • Archivist
  • Art Handler
  • Artist/Fine Art Photographer's Assistant
  • Cataloguer
  • Database Specialist
  • Digital Assets Specialist
  • Image Scanner/Digitizer
  • Registrar
  • They can provide documented loss of income for the period of March 1, 2020 to August 1, 2020.
  • They have experienced dire financial emergencies due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • They have been living and working in the Tri-State area (New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut) for a minimum of two years (from 2018).
  • They are 21 years of age or older on or before the first cycle opens on May 5, 2020.
  • They can provide a W9 and Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
  • They are not a full-time employee, board member, director, officer, or immediate family member of NYFA, nor are they currently connected to The Willem de Kooning Foundation, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Teiger Foundation, or the Cy Twombly Foundation (by employment or freelance work).
  • They have not previously been awarded a relief grant from this fund.


APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS

Please click here for a list of application questions and requirements for completing the application form.

  • Description of scheduled work activity (March 1 – August 1, 2020) along with documentation in the form of signed contracts, email confirmations, letters of agreement or materials describing the confirmed date of activity and fee to be paid. Applicants can also apply with a letter directly from their employer. In addition to outlining the scheduled work and confirmation of the dates, the letter should include contact information from the employer. Screenshots of text-messages along with a time and date stamp are also accepted.
  • Proof of cancellation of work activity in the form of email or personal communication, including date/time stamped text messages, about closure/job loss/opportunity postponement, state-based shutdown communication, etc.
  • Short narrative, up to 300 words, outlining your current financial emergency from loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Evidence of a minimum of three years (2017 to 2020) working as a freelance, contract or non-salaried cultural worker in one of the following roles in the visual arts field: Archivist, Art handler, Artist/fine art photographer's assistant, Cataloguer, Database specialist, Digital assets specialist, Image scanner/digitizer, Registrar.
    • Applicants will need to provide an up-to-date work specific CV/resume, plus two of the following forms of evidence from different years: Letters of agreement from past employers, copies of 1099 listing relevant employer, IRS Schedule-C, or letters of recommendation/confirmation of past freelance/contract employment
  • Evidence of living and working in the Tri-State area (NY, NJ & CT) for at least the last two consecutive years (min. from 2018 to-date).
    • Evidence submitted must be on an official company document/letterhead, stating your name, date and Tri-state address (the address does not need to be the same for each document).
    • This evidence can be utility bill, bank statement or bill, valid government ID issued in January 2019 to date or before, and or residential or studio lease.
    • Applicants will need to provide two documents.
  • Proof of age: Upload passport or state-issued ID.


FAQs

REQUIREMENTS AND ELIGIBILITY

Q: What types of behind-the-scenes work in the visual arts is considered?

A: Applicant needs to have a sustained career in one or more of the following roles:

  • Archivist
  • Art Handler
  • Artist/Fine Art Photographer's Assistant
  • Cataloguer
  • Database Specialist
  • Digital Assets Specialist
  • Image Scanner/Digitizer
  • Registrar

All eligible behind-the-scenes work needs to occur in the visual arts. Therefore, the scope for most eligible work will happen in a gallery/museum/visual arts exhibition setting; within an artist’s studio; as part of a visual arts collection; in conjunction with an artist.

The "Artist/Photographer's Assistant" category has been clarified to read "Artist/Fine Art Photographer's Assistant" for Cycles II and III of this Fund.

Q: Are other types of freelance/contract/non-salaried work in the visual arts considered?

A: No. All applicants must have undertaken previous work in one or more of the above types of behind-the-scenes positions.

Q: Does the Art Handlers category include those who make art frames and/or crates and/or pedestals?

A: Yes, carpentry that is directly associated withthe display or shipping of visual art objects, such as speciality frames, pedestals, or crates is eligible work under this category. Note: The Art Handlers category has been qualified to include this group of workers for Cycles II and III of this Fund.

Q: Is work as an arts educator covered?

A: No. Applicants applying with freelance, contract, or non-salaried work as an art educator are not eligible.

Q: Are videographers who film or edit behind-the-scenes footage of art exhibitions and other multimedia documentation eligible for this grant?

A: No. This grant covers only those whose employment falls within the eight job functions detailed in the application’s eligibility requirements. Arts workers who work on movies (feature or independent), theatrical cinema motion pictures, or documentaries are not eligible for this fund.

Q. Does most of my regular income need to come from my nominated behind-the-scenes role in the visual arts?

A: Although we understand that many freelancers/non-salaried/contract workers wear many hats, applicants must be able to demonstrate a continual commitment and sustained career in their nominated area of work in the visual arts field. This needs to be demonstrated through continuous engagement of the past three years.

It is fine to have temporary or casual work in other areas, as long as your main income is from your nominated freelance/contract/non-salaried work in the visual arts.

Q: What kinds of income losses should I mention in my application?

A: You will need to provide documented lost income opportunities occurring as a result of COVID-19 pandemic. These may include, but are not limited to: cancelled freelance projects or consulting assignments in the visual arts, lost contract work, lost temp work; as a result of business closures, etc.

Loss of income must relate to your nominated freelance/contracted/non-salaried work.

Q: What kinds of losses are NOT covered?

A: More speculative, less quantifiable losses such as a potential project that was cancelled or postponed, or a fee-for-service engagement that was in the discussion phase, but for which no agreement was reached or contract signed, no matter how promising the conversations had been.

In addition, you can not apply with lost income that is not related to your nominated behind-the-scenes role in the visual arts.

There needs to be a clear agreement between you and another stakeholder where a specific payment was agreed upon. Each agreement needs a date of activity, scope of services, and fee to be paid.

Q: What constitutes clear documentation?

A: A contract, letter of agreement, email, or other communication from another party committing to and confirming the date of activity, scope of services, and fee to be paid.

If submitting a contract or long email communication, we also recommend highlighting relevant fields or passages to help panelists when reviewing information.

Q: If no official contract was issued for my canceled employment, will other forms of documentation be accepted?

A: Yes. In the absence of an employment contract, support materials for confirmed jobs/cancellations can include testimony from an employer, via email or other correspondence. These should be on letterhead, or clearly state the email address of the employer, and include the date(s) of expected employment.

Q: How do you define “dire financial emergencies”?

A: We understand that each applicant’s situation is different, so please ensure that you clearly outline how you are experiencing financial hardship from lack of income or opportunity as a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis and how you are in dire financial need. If your circumstances threaten or have cut you off from accessing essentials like food, medicine, housing, and caretaking services, we consider this a "dire financial emergency."

Q: If I do not demonstrate dire financial need, will I still be considered?

A: No. Priority will be given to applicants who can clearly demonstrate how they are experiencing financial hardship from lack of income or opportunity as a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis.

Due to the high volume of applications, you are unlikely to be considered if you do not articulate how you're cut off from accessing essentials such as food, medicine, housing, and caretaking services.

Q: May I include more than one activity in my application?

A: Yes, we understand freelancers/contract/non-salaried workers frequently have a variety of things going on at once. You may apply for as many activities as meet the criteria, and clearly demonstrate your loss of income and support your dire need for support.

Although applicants may outline losses greater than $2,000, grants will not exceed $2,000.

Q: I meet all the eligibility criteria, but I have previously received a grant from NYFA, am I still eligible?

A: Yes, all past recipients of NYFA grants or NYSCA/NYFA fellowships are welcome to apply. Anyone currently connected to The Willem de Kooning Foundation, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Teiger Foundation, or the Cy Twombly Foundation (by employment or freelance work) are not eligible.

In addition, NYFA employees, members of the NYFA Board of Trustees or Artists' Advisory Committee, and/or an immediate family member of any of the previous are not eligible to apply.

Q: Am I eligible if I have already received funds from another relief effort?

A: Yes, you are eligible. We do not disqualify anyone based on other sources of relief.

APPLICATION INFORMATION

Q: How can I apply?

A: If eligible, please apply via the Submittable platform. A link to the application will appear on this page beginning Tuesday, May 19 at 10:00 AM EDT.

If you have a Submittable account, you can use these credentials to login and complete an application form. If you’re new to Submittable, you will need to create an account, which we recommend doing before applications open. Visit www.submittable.com to start a free account.

Q: Can I submit a hardcopy application or submit an application via email?

A: No. All applications must be submitted online via the Submittable platform. The application can be completed by someone other than the applicant.

Q: What file types can I upload to my application form?

A: The application form accepts the following file types: PDF, JPG, DOC, DOCX, and web links.

Q: Will the application be open continuously for the duration of the fund?

A: No. Application will be open in three cycles:

Cycle I: Tuesday, May 5 - Wednesday, May 6 (closes 11:59 PM EDT)

Cycle II: Tuesday, May 19 - Wednesday, May 20 (closes 11:59 PM EDT)

Cycle III: Tuesday, June 2 - Wednesday June 3 (closes 11:59 PM EDT)

Please keep an eye on the NYFA website as all dates are subject to change.

After each cycle, all non-funded applicants will have the opportunity to re-apply. Applicants will need to complete a new application, as their past application will be deleted.

We highly recommend saving all application materials and support statements in a separate word processing document, to assist with resubmission.

A full list of application questions and requirements can be downloaded here.

Q: Why are you collecting demographic data from applicants and who has access?

A: NYFA is committed to supporting the arts community from all backgrounds and will continue to work towards inclusivity and accessibility for all applicants. The information is requested so that the New York Foundation for the Arts may properly assess their effectiveness in serving its constituents. Individual applicant data (including name) will not be shared, duplicated, or distributed publicly. Additionally, aggregated applicant data will be collected, summarized, and shared in reports to funders and/or the public, without disclosing any personal information.

Q: Can I apply on behalf of someone else with their consent?

A: Yes, you may submit an application on behalf of another person with their consent. Ensure that you are creating a Submittable account, and submitting the application under that person’s name, with their contact information.

REVIEW, RECEIVING FUNDS, AND REPORTING

Q: How will applications be selected for funding?

A: Once each cycle closes, all applications will be reviewed for completeness and documented loss of income. Qualifying applicants will be selected by a lottery system.

Applicants who do not receive funding are invited to re-apply in future cycles.

Q: Why are qualifying applications being selected by a lottery system?

A: The lottery system allows us to give equal consideration to every qualifying application received during the application cycle. The random selection of the lottery system ensures that early submissions are not given undue advantage over those submitting materials towards the end of the cycle, and avoids any disparity among applicants of different geographic location, physical ability, cultural background, or economic circumstance.

Q: Once I apply, when will I hear back?

A: Given our review cycles, we expect it may take two weeks to hear back from us, though all dates are subject to change. Please do not email us regarding the status of your application.

Q: What is the timeline for fund distribution?

A: Funds will be distributed within four weeks of an approved application. We encourage applicants to apply as soon as possible.

Q: How will funds be distributed?

A: All funding will be distributed via electronic transfer at no expense to the recipient.

Q: What will you require to issue my grant?

A: All recipients must complete a W-9 for NYFA’s internal processing purposes, but 1099s will not be issued. In addition, applicants will need to provide bank account details for wire transfer.

Q: Am I guaranteed to receive funds?

A: No. Unfortunately, due to limited funds and volume of applications, not every applicant will be funded.

Q: Can I apply more than once?

A: Once you submit an application, you will not be able to re-submit during that cycle. However, if your application is not selected, you may reapply during future cycles.

Q: If I don’t receive the grant in one cycle, do I have to submit another application?

A: Yes. non-funded applications will not be carried over to the next cycle. Applicants will need to reapply during each cycle if you have not been funded already. We highly recommend saving a copy of your application in the event that you need to reapply.

Q: Am I able to get this grant more than once?

A: No. Due to the magnitude of this crisis, we expect more requests for funding than available funds. Therefore, we are only providing one-time relief to as many applicants as possible.

Q: If I’m awarded a grant, will my name be made public?

A: No. Personal information will never be disclosed or publicized without prior consent.

Q: If I receive a grant, will there be reporting requirements?

A: No grant reporting will be necessary.

Q: What can I use the funding for?

A: This fund is intended to help non-salaried workers in the visual arts experiencing dire financial emergencies due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So, all grants are unrestricted and can be used for any kind of emergency relief. You do not need to reveal how you spend the money.

Q: Is the grant taxable?

A: All recipients will be asked to complete a W-9 for NYFA’s internal processing purposes, but 1099s will not be issued.

Though NYFA will not be issuing a 1099 on this COVID-19 related grant, we cannot advise on individual tax matters. Please consult your personal financial manager or tax accountant.


QUESTIONS?

Email [email protected].


Image Credit: NYFA.

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