Emergency Resources
for Artists & Freelancers


San Francisco Arts & Artists Relief Fund

Administered by CCI, this emergency fund was launched March 25, 2020, by San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) and Grants for the Arts (GFTA) to mitigate COVID-19 related financial losses that artists and small to mid-size arts and culture organizations have suffered. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

San Francisco arts organizations are also invited to apply for the Arts Loan Fund 's COVID-19 Emergency Loan at

COVID-19 & Freelance Artists


This excellent community-sourced list is designed to serve freelance artists, and those interested in supporting the independent artist community. On behalf of the freelance artist community, we thank those who created and contributed to this project!

CERF+ The Artists Safety Net coronavirus (COVID-19) info page

Freelancers Union’s Guide to Life During COVID-19

COVID-19 shutdowns mean lost income and uncertainty for thousands of freelancers. While we work on securing immediate relief (more to come soon!), we're collecting everything you need to know about getting through this frightening time — from tax and health insurance updates to staying sane — updated daily.

Theatre Bay Area

COVID-19 Resources for Teaching Artists

Compiled by the Teaching Artists Guild. Resources include: Labor Laws / Sick Leave; Webinars; Self-Care & Mental Health; Online/Distance Learning Activities & Exercises; and more.

Dance Resource Center LA Dance Emergency Fund

Dance Resource Center has created the LA Dance Emergency Fund to help support the LA Dance Community during this public health emergency. LA Dance Emergency Fund provides emergency relief to LA dancers and dance companies facing financial hardship caused by LA County performances cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Applicants can receive up to $500 with submission of appropriate application materials for as long as the funds are available. Applications for relief will be accepted via the DRC website until March 31, 2020. 

US Federation of Worker Cooperatives COVID-19 Resources

For worker cooperatives, small businesses, and individuals.

Sweet Relief COVID-19 Fund for Musicians

Sweet Relief created this DONOR-DIRECTED FUND with a limited amount of funds available to be used specifically for musicians and music industry workers affected by the Coronavirus. Funds raised will go towards medical expenses, lodging, clothing, food and other vital living expenses to those impacted due to sickness or loss of work.

San Francisco Fund Rapid Response for Movement Building:

Small, one-time grants in the range of $3,000–$15,000 for a grant period of up to six months. “To build the political power and voice of low-income and people of color by providing resources to respond in a timely manner to unanticipated, but critical opportunities or challenges to advance racial and economic equity in the Bay Area.” 

The Creator Fund

Medical, Groceries, Childcare, or Rent/Mortgage funds for creators experiencing financial hardship due to circumstances related to COVID-19.

COVID-19 Resources for Undocumented Californians

Resource guide created by California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance.

Collective Care Is Our Best Weapon against COVID-19

A list of Mutual Aid resources, for general knowledge and locally by region (US and international). 

VIDEO: “Artists in a Time of Global Pandemic” Panel for US-Based Freelance Artists and Cultural Workers in all Disciplines

ASL & Captioned webinar recording, courtesy of HowlRound.

Small Business Administration (SBA) COVID-19 and Disaster Loans

The SBA is now offering low-interest federal loans to small businesses in designated states and territories impacted by COVID-19. The loan offers up to $2 million in assistance, with interest rates of 3.75% and repayment terms up to 30 years. Freelancers without formal businesses can also apply!

California Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response

A new comprehensive, consumer-friendly website from the Governor’s Office highlighting critical steps to stay healthy and resources available to Californians, including paid sick leave and unemployment assistance.

List of Banks Offering Relief to Customers Affected by COVID-19

“I just spent an hour on the phone with my student loan provider. Freelancers - listen up.”

By Lisa Husseini, Coach for Creatives and Entrepreneurs


(Mostly California, as that is where Center for Cultural Innovation is based.)

California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development

Helpful information for employers, employees and all Californians as it relates to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

California Employment Development Department (EDD)

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) provides a variety of services to individuals and businesses impacted by disasters in California. These range from assistance for those who may have lost a job due to the disaster, to employers who are forced to shut down operations. EDD staff located throughout the state are often called upon to lend a hand at Local Assistance Centers (LACs) established by the California Office of Emergency Services (OES). They provide assistance with filing claims for UI benefits, as well as job search assistance and other more general support and referrals to resources.

  • For statewide wildfire recovery resources, visit the CalOES Wildfire Recovery website.
  • For information about any LACs established in a disaster area and their hours of operation, visit CalOES.
  • For California’s online job exchange system, visit CalJOBS.

For the latest news and announcements, including news releases, visit the EDD News page.


The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) is our state's go-to resource for up-to-date wildfire information and resources. or @CAL_FIRE on Twitter.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Federal Individual Disaster Assistance Program

Who it serves: Home/Primary Residence assistance is available for individuals and families who have lost their homes as a result of a presidentially-declared disaster. If you are a renter or homeowner you may qualify for assistance. By law, FEMA assistance cannot duplicate the assistance you receive from your insurance company, but you may receive assistance for items not covered by insurance. FEMA does not offer assistance for small businesses impacted by a presidentially-declared disaster, however, they partner with the Small Business Administration (SBA), which offers low interest loans for business damages. Additional assistance is available for other disaster-caused expenses including medical and dental, child care, funeral and burial, essential household items, moving and storage, vehicle, and some clean-up items.

When to apply: ongoing

Where to apply:

Apply for disaster assistance and find local resources for your immediate needs.

A newly launched website that combines emergency response, recovery and resilience information into a single place for easy access by users. It is a one-stop portal that includes local and state resources, health services, shelters and housing, preparedness information, and more. 

The U.S. Small Business Administration

Who it serves: The SBA offers disaster assistance in the form of low-interest loans to businesses, renters, and homeowners located in regions affected by declared disasters.

Where to apply: 


Listed alphabetically.

Actors Fund Entertainment Assistance Program

Who it serves: Any performing arts or entertainment professional may call on the Entertainment Assistance Program for support, information or referrals to community agencies. Eligibility for financial assistance requires either a minimum of five years of industry paid employment (earnings of at least $6,500 for three out of the last five years), or 20 years of industry paid employment (minimum of ten years of earnings of at least $5,000 for each of those years), and demonstrated financial need.

When to apply: Any time.

How much they give: Amounts are determined on a case-by-case basis.

Where to apply: 

Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Emergency Grant

Who it serves: Artists working in the disciplines of painting, sculpture or printmaking, who can demonstrate a minimum involvement of ten years in a mature phase of his or her work, whose needs are the result of an unforeseen, catastrophic incident, and who lack the resources to meet that situation.

When to apply: Applications accepted all year, with no deadlines.

How much they give: The maximum amount of this grant is $15,000; an award of $5,000 is typical.

Where to apply: 

Alliance of Artists Communities Emergency Relief Programs

Who it serves: In the event of an emergency, the Alliance can offer support for artists by connecting them with a diverse network of residency programs across the country. By providing the time, space, and support that residencies offer, artists can focus on their work, reflect, and renew their creative practice during an especially challenging time. Their Emergency Funds for Individual Artists Participating in Residencies supports painters and sculptors to participate in artists’ residencies for which they have already been accepted and scheduled, but who would not otherwise be able to participate due to a sudden change in circumstances.

When to apply: See website for info on the different programs.

How much they give: Up to $1,000.

Where to apply: 

American Institute for Conservation for Historic and Artistic Works

Who it serves: The Institute’s National Heritage Responders respond to the needs of cultural institutions during emergencies and disasters through coordinated efforts with first responders, state agencies, vendors and the public.The group provides assistance by phone and email to collecting institutions affected by everything from leaking pipes to roof damage. NHR has deployed experts to assist with major floods in the Midwest and Hurricane Ike, both in 2008, and to other events.
When to apply: Ongoing
Where to  apply: 

American Society of Journalists and Authors Emergency Assistance Fund

Who it serves: The Writers Emergency Assistance Fund helps established freelance writers who, because of illness, disability, a natural disaster, or an extraordinary professional crisis are unable to work. A writer need not be a member of ASJA to qualify for a grant. Application should demonstrate a record of past professional nonfiction writing over a sustained period of years. Applicants do not have to live in the United States but must submit books or articles written in English.

When to apply: Ongoing.

Where to apply: 

Artists At Risk Connection (ARC)

A global directory of resources to help artists. ARC's definition of "artist" is inclusive. They serve visual artists, musicians, filmmakers, performance artists, writers, and other individuals who produce significant creative output in any medium. 

Artists Charitable Fund

Who it serves:  Assists American artists living anywhere in the United States by providing financial support for artists struck by medical, fire or other disaster, with funds raised in part through an annual art auction.

When to apply: Ongoing

How much they give: Unspecified

Where to apply: 

Artists Fellowship Financial Assistance

Who it serves: Provides emergency aid to professional fine (visual) artists and their families in times of sickness, natural disaster, bereavement or unexpected extreme hardship. “Professional” is defined as those who make the creative arts as their livelihood as painters, sculptors, or art photographers through sales as reported on a Schedule C with Federal tax returns.

When to apply: The Board of Trustees meets monthly year round to review all applications properly submitted and eligible. Applicants are encouraged to make their submission early in the month.

How much they give: varies

Where to apply: 

Authors League Fund

Who it serves: Assists book authors, dramatists, poets, and freelance writers and journalists, whose main professional pursuit is writing, in times of emergency. The Fund exists to help professional writers continue their careers, even their lives, with dignity by providing open-ended, interest-free, no-strings-attached loans to pay for pressing expenses.

When to apply: Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, as they come in.

How much they give: Loan amounts are determined based on the applicant’s professional credentials, the severity of his or her emergency, and the Fund’s annual budget.

Where to apply: 

California Jazz Foundation

Who it serves: Financial assistance and emergency medical referrals are offered to to jazz musicians and others who have made substantial contributions to the art form.

When to apply: Any time
How much they give: Unspecified
Where to apply: 

Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF+) Emergency Assistance

Who it serves: CERF+ emergency assistance includes grants and/or brokered assistance, such as booth fee waivers and discounts or donations on supplies and equipment. Artists interested in CERF+ emergency assistance must first complete an inquiry form. If it is determined that you may be eligible for assistance, you will be invited to apply for assistance. Before filling out an emergency assistance inquiry form, carefully read through the eligibility criteria and supporting documentation requirements.

When to apply: Any time.

Where to apply:

CERF+ Artist “Get Ready” Grants

Who it serves: Provides funding for artists working in craft disciplines to conduct activities that will help safeguard their studios, protect their careers and implement other safety measures to help artists build and sustain strong and resilient careers. Applicant must be an artist or a group of artists with an ongoing history of producing a body of work in a craft discipline or disciplines (such as woodworkers, fiber artists, metalsmiths, glass potters, furniture makers, cultural-based craft, or alternative craft),and be a legal U.S. resident.

When to apply: Check website for next deadline.

How much they give: Up to $500 to individual artists and up to $1,500 to groups of artists.

Where to apply: 

Equal Sound Corona Relief Fund

If you are a musician who has lost income due to a cancelled gig as a result of the Coronavirus / Covid-19 outbreak, you can apply to receive some money from Equal Sound's new program.

The Haven Foundation 
Who it serves:
 Gives financial assistance to established freelance artists, writers and other members of the arts and art production communities who have suffered disabilities or experienced a career-threatening illness, accident, natural disaster or personal catastrophe.
When to apply: No later than November 4, 2017. All applications received after that date will be held for the next round of grants
How much they give: Varies. Grants are for one year and may be renewed for up to four more years, provided that the recipient submits a supplemental application annually.
Where to apply: Guidelines and mailing address available at 

Jazz Foundation of America

Who it serves: Jazz and blues musicians requiring emergency assistance and social services.

Learn more:  or email 

Joan Mitchell Foundation Emergency Grant Program

Who it serves: 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.

When to apply: Applications are accepted throughout the year, and reviewed monthly based on volume.

How much they give: Up to $6000.

Where to apply:


Who it serves: Provides assistance to musicians including musical instrument replacement for musicians affected by disasters.

Learn more: 

PEN Writer’s Emergency Fund

Who it serves: The PEN America Writers’ Emergency Fund is an emergency fund for professional—published or produced—writers in acute, emergency financial crisis. The Writers’ Emergency Fund is for writers whose primary professional occupation is writing. Self-published authors or those published by vanity presses are not eligible. Writers do not have to be Members of PEN America to receive a grant.

When to apply: Next deadline: November 15, 2017.

How much they give: Up to $2,000.

Where to apply: 

Pittsburgh Arts Council Emergency Fund for Artists

The Emergency Fund for Artists will now provide up to $500 in assistance to Pittsburgh-area artists experiencing loss of income due to the coronavirus outbreak. Artists living in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Washington, Lawrence, Indiana, Greene, Fayette, Washington, and Westmoreland counties are eligible. The fund will be open, but not limited to, the following uses:

  • Financial losses due to cancelled events, including performances in all performing arts, disciplines, readings, and speaking opportunities
  • Offsetting loss of income for teaching artists who could not teach during this time because of cancelled classes and school closures

Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant

Who it serves: Painters, artists and sculptors who work on paper, including printmakers, with demonstrable financial need.

When to apply: All year.

How much they give: The size of the grant is determined by the individual circumstances of the artist.

Where to apply: 

Rauschenberg Emergency Grants Program

New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) is proud to partner with the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation to administer a new emergency grant program that will provide visual and media artists and choreographers with one-time grants of up to $5,000 for medical emergencies including but not limited to: hospital and doctor bills (including insurance co-pays), tests, physical/occupational therapy, prescription drugs specifically for the emergency medical condition, and emergency dental work. There is no deadline; applications will be accepted and reviewed by the panel on a monthly basis beginning in late May/early June 2020.

Springboard for the Arts Personal Emergency Relief Fund

Springboard for the Arts' Personal Emergency Relief Fund is a resource dedicated to supporting artists in Minnesota who experience career-threatening emergencies. We have expanded the guidelines to include lost income due to the cancellation of a specific, scheduled gig or opportunity (i.e. commissions, performances, contracts) due to Coronavirus/COVID-19 precautionary measures. Artists can request up to $500 to compensate for cancelled work that was scheduled and lost.


Americans for the Arts

Links, tips, and tools for artists and arts organizations to be prepared on the front end of an emergency. 

American Red Cross

Becoming “Red Cross Ready” for an emergency means following our simple steps in advance to ensure you can weather a crisis safely and comfortably. Being prepared may not prevent a disaster, but it will give you confidence to meet the challenge. Get tips here:

Prepare SoCal is an American Red Cross campaign created to address the needs of neighborhoods and encourage community resiliency in the most vulnerable communities in Southern California. The campaign aims to achieve this through working towards four goals: community preparedness, volunteer engagement, response capacity and communications.

The Red Cross also offers free Disaster Training to communities. These training courses, accessible both online and in person, include the Pillowcase Project Presenter Fundamentals, Shelter Fundamentals, Casework and Recovery Planning Fundamentals, Basic InstructorFundamentals and Public Affair Essentials.


An online emergency preparedness service by and for arts/cultural nonprofits, provides arts organizations with customized business continuity plans for post-crisis sustainability. 


Studio Protector

An artists guide to emergencies. A wealth of information on emergency readiness for all artists can be found at

Cultural Placekeeping Guide

How to create a network for local emergency action —for arts agencies, arts and culture organizations, and artists. 

Disaster Resilience for Artists & Non-Profits

A resource for artists and organizations created by Houston Arts Alliance, this site serves as a portal to strategies and resources for preparing for and overcoming damage in the wake of a disaster.

Performing Arts Readiness

The Performing Arts Readiness project was formed in the recognition that performing arts organizations are especially vulnerable to disasters and emergencies which can halt performances, sometimes indefinitely, and can put an organization out of business overnight. The Performing Arts Readiness project offers free webinars, on-site training, and presentations at professional conferences on various topics related to emergency preparedness, as well as online toolkits and more. 

  • (Download their Sample Emergency Plans here.)

Public Safety Power Shutoff

Your local energy company may need to turn off power during extreme weather or wildfire conditions. Find preparedness information at

Team Rubicon

Team Rubicon capitalizes on the skills and experience of military veterans by pairing them with medical professionale and first responders. The organization offers incident management, damage assessments, disaster mapping, home repair, and more to affected communities.


211 LA County

211 LA County partners with the Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management to provide timely and accurate disaster information services before, during and after a disaster hits. 211 LA County is also partnered with the L.A. County Department of Public Health to provide Public Health issued warnings and advisories.

Emergency Network of Los Angeles (ENLA)

The ENLA is a coalition of nonprofit organizations that share their knowledge and needed resources throughout the disaster cycle. With the support and resources of all these organizations, communities and the individuals they home can feel more equipped and confident when a disaster strikes. 

Los Angeles Fire Department’s Community Emergency Response Team

Community residents are trained to become disaster first responders to ensure neighborhoods survive and thrive after disaster strikes. 

RYLAN (Ready Your L.A. Neighborhood)

RYLAN is a free service offered by the City of Los Angeles Emergency Management Department meant to encourage, empower, and prepare Los Angeles neighborhoods for the next big disaster. The program increases neighborhood readiness by offering ways for communities to organize, practice, connect, communicate, and train.

Los Angeles County Food Bank/Pantry Locator



Call 2-1-1 to be connected with community services in your area, providing services like food banks, clothing closets, shelters, rent assistance, utility assistance and physical and mental health resources. 

California Lawyers for the Arts

Provides free and low-cost legal services to artists including processing claims with FEMA, SBA and other disaster relief agencies.

E-book: The Response: Building Collective Resilience in the Wake of Disasters

Published by Shareable.

So You Want to Start an Emergency Relief Fund! 

Published by Springboard for the Arts.

Since the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic broke and Springboard launched the Coronavirus Response Personal Emergency Relief Fund, we've been heartened by both the number of people who want to give and the number of emergency funds popping up. We've fielded a lot of inquiries about our program and how we've managed it, and so we've put together a quick overview resource, "So You Want to Start an Emergency Relief Fund." We're sharing our program structure and big picture thoughts about running an emergency relief fund since 2001. We hope it's useful to you as you plan your response for your community. 

Special thanks to The Actors Fund, Arts Council Napa Valley, California Arts Council, CERF+, Creative Sonoma, The Hell Yeah Group, and L.A. 2050 for sharing resources with the public.