The COVID-19 pandemic has shuttered museums and galleries, leaving artists without income and audiences without artistic inspiration. But a nonprofit in Albuquerque is finding ways around the shutdown.
Normally around this time, 516 ARTS would be taking grant applications to its Fulcrum Fund from artists with big project ideas. But now it’s giving sixty $1,000 grants to artists who have lost income because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"I know so many artists that are just freaking out right now about how they're going to pay their rent and buy food that I don't even know if they can think about project grants right now," says Suzanne Sbarge, executive director of 516 ARTS.
Sbarge says 516 ARTS is also in a position to be a clearinghouse for additional funds for artists. Thanks to its partnership with The Andy Warhol Foundation, which has funded the grants from the Fulcrum Fund, all administrative costs are covered, so 100% of the money goes directly to artists.
"So if people and other entities want to give, we have the system for it," she says.
Artists must live within 80 miles of Albuquerque to apply for the emergency grants. The application deadline is April 15.
The grants are part of a national effort by the Warhold Foundation to support artists during the pandemic.
516 has also launched “Museum at Home: The Resilience Project,” an online gallery where artists living anywhere can submit work on themes like creativity in times of crisis and social distancing. They can also submit content about their own creative processes during the pandemic and where they are finding inspiration.
"We're just trying to help people stay connected and keep sharing art that inspires people and nourishes people in this really crazy time we're living in," she says.
Sbarge says it’s all about keeping the creative juices flowing and helping people feel less alone.