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 loss of income or opportunity due to canceled work as a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis.

Final Cycle announced. More details on dates and changes below.

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. 

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.

In addition, this final cycle will also accept applications from freelance, contract, or non-salaried:

  • Arts Educators
  • Arts Publication Editors
  • Arts Curators

More information on these areas of work are listed in the FAQs.

Applications will open on November 18 and close on December 14, 2020. After reviewing for completeness and documented losses of income, qualifying applicants will be selected for funding via a lottery process.

GRANT TIMELINE

Application Opens: Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 10:00 AM EDT

Application Closes: Monday, December 14, 2020 at 11:59 PM EDT

Applicants Notified: Friday, January 15, 2021

APPLY NOW

WHO CAN APPLY?

Applicants must meet all of the following requirements:

  • They are a 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
    • Arts Educators
    • Arts Publication Editors
    • Arts Curators
  • They can provide documented loss of income, from canceled work or opportunities for the period of March 1, 2020 to December 14, 2020.
  • They have experienced dire financial emergencies due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • They must be a current resident in the Tri-State area (New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut).
  • They are 21 years of age or older on or before the first cycle opens on November 18, 2020.
  • They can provide a W9 and Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
  • They are not an 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, the Cy Twombly Foundation, or the Jean and Louis Dreyfus 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.

  • Documentation of scheduled work that was canceled as a direct result of COVID-19 Pandemic from (March 1 – December 14, 2020). Canceled communication should state that it was canceled due to COVID-19. Applicants can apply with:
    • Signed and cancelled contracts between you and the hiring organization
    • Email communication that clearly outlines the type of work and date of employment (please include email address and email signatures – do not crop communication)
    • A letter directly from the employer outlining your loss of work. This letter should be signed and dated by the employer.
    • Screenshots of text-message along with a time and date stamp
    • Personal communication of closures / postponement, or state-based shutdown communication
  • Short narrative, up to 100 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, Arts Educators, Arts Publication Editor, or Arts Curator.
    • Applicants will need to provide an up-to-date work specific CV/resume, plus one of the following forms of evidence from either 2017, 2018, or 2019 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 currently living and working in the Tri-State area (NY, NJ & CT) and must be able to provide 1 document as evidence of residency from any period between March 2020 to-November 2020.
    • Evidence submitted must be on an official company document/letterhead, stating your name, date and Tri-state address.
    • This evidence can be, but not limited to: utility bill, bank statement or bill, valid government ID issued in January 2019 to date or before, and or residential or studio lease.
  • Proof of age: Upload passport or state-issued ID.

FAQs

REQUIREMENTS AND ELIGIBILITY

What has changed since the previous cycle of the Tri-State Relief Fund?

Additional eligible categories:

  • Arts Educators: within the fine art and art history fields, specifically non-tenured, adjunct professors and lecturers in colleges, universities, as well as art educators within museums, art foundations and other cultural organizations.
  • Arts Publication Editors: who have a clear track record of contributing to arts publications.
  • Arts Curators: who have a clear track record of making regular, curatorial contributions.

All applicants need to show a sustained commitment to their relevant field for a minimum of three years, from 2017 to 2020.

Residency requirements:

  • Applicants must be current residents of the Tri-State area and must be able to provide one document as evidence of residency from any period between March 2020 to November 2020.
What types of behind-the-scenes work in the visual arts is considered?

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
  • Arts Educators
  • Arts Publication Editors
  • Arts Curators

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. However, Arts Educators – visual art and art history instructors – may also be from colleges/universities

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

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

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

Yes, carpentry that is directly associated with the display or shipping of visual art objects, such as specialty frames, pedestals, or crates is eligible work under this category.

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

No. This grant covers only those whose employment falls within the 11 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.

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

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.

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

You will need to provide documented lost income opportunities occurring as a result of COVID-19 pandemic. Submitted communication documentation should clearly state that the cancellation, postponement, or non-renewal is a direct result of COVID-19 Pandemic.

These may include, but are not limited to: cancelled freelance projects, classes, programs, workshops 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. What kinds of losses are NOT covered?

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. Each agreement needs a date of activity, scope of services and location of activity.

I received / I am currently receiving unemployment benefits, am I eligible to apply?

Yes. Even if you are receiving or did receive unemployment during the time of your canceled work you are still eligible to apply for this fund.

What constitutes clear documentation?

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.

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

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 embedded in an email clearly stating the email address of the employer, and include the date(s) of scheduled employment.

How do you define “dire financial emergencies”?

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.”

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

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 are cut off from accessing essentials such as food, medicine, housing, and caretaking services.

May I include more than one activity in my application?

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.

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

Yes, all past recipients of NYFA grants or NYSCA/NYFA fellowships are welcome to apply.

If you received a Tri-State Relief Fund in cycle 1, 2 or 3 you are no longer eligible for this grant.

Anyone currently connected to The Willem de Kooning Foundation, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Teiger Foundation, the Cy Twombly Foundation, or the Jean and Louis Dreyfus 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.

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

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


APPLICATION INFORMATION

How can I apply?

If eligible, please apply via the Submittable platform. A link to the application will appear on this page on Wednesday, November 18 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.

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

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

What file types can I upload to my application form?

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

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

The application will close on Monday, December 14, 2020 at 11:59PM ET
All applicants who have started an application and saved a draft application will be notified 24hrs before the application closes.

The application will not reopen once closed.

A full list of application questions and requirements can be downloaded here. [ADD LINK]

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

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.

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

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

How will applications be selected for funding?

Once closed, all applications will be reviewed for completeness and documented loss of income. Qualifying applicants will be selected by a lottery system.

Why are qualifying applications being selected by a lottery system?

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.

Once I apply, when will I hear back?

All applicants will receive notification on the outcome of their application by January 15, 2021. Please do not email us regarding the status of your application.

What is the timeline for fund distribution?

Funds will be distributed by the end of February 2021.

How will funds be distributed?

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

What will you require to issue my grant?

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.

Am I guaranteed to receive funds?

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

Can I apply more than once?

No, applicants can only submit one application. If you applied in previous cycles of this grant (from May to July) and were not awarded funding, you may reapply. Please ensure your freelance, contract or non-salaried visual arts work is acceptable and you meet all the eligibility criteria.

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

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.

Am I able to get this grant more than once?

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.

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

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

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

No grant reporting will be necessary.

What can I use the funding for?

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.

Is the grant taxable?

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.