San Francisco to offer financial aid to local artists and arts organizations

Terry Gross, Trans Am Phil Manley, Film School, Donny Newenhouse, Triclops!, Phil Becker

San Francisco band Terry Gross performs at The Ivy Room in Albany, Calf. on Feb. 7, 2020.

San Francisco will offer financial assistance to local artists and artists organizations who have lost earnings and business from the COVID-19 event cancelations and gathering bans, Mayor London Breed announced this week.

The $2.5 million investment is meant to help the arts and culture community through grants and low-interest loans to organizations and working artists most impacted by this crisis.

Breed said its her and the city’s goal that other private donors will step up and help artists and organizations in need.

The program will allow applicants to choose between grants and low-interest loans, based on what best meets their needs. San Francisco opened the application process on Wednesday. To apply, visit the SF Arts Commission website.

The grants program will begin with $1.5 million that will go to individual artists, teaching artists and small- to mid-budget-sized arts and cultural organizations. Money will be prioritized to serve cultural populations that are the most vulnerable—black, indigenous, immigrant, trans, and people with disabilities. Artists may apply for up to $2,000. Organization awards will range from $5,000 to $25,000 and will be scaled based on budget size. The money may be used to pay rent and salaries, to retain employees, and help keep artists and organizations in San Francisco.

“Our artists and cultural institutions are at the heart of who we are as a city and a community,” Breed said in a prepared statement. “This community is also getting hit hard right now as people are suffering from job loss, business closures, and economic disruption during the COVID-19 outbreak. We need to do everything we can to stabilize our arts community now.”

The low-interest loan program includes $1 million for small- to mid-budget-sized arts and cultural organizations. It will be administered by the Arts Loan Fund (ALF) of Northern California Grantmakers. ALF is a revolving loan program, which already makes low-interest loans to support arts and cultural organizations.

“Although this emergency has paused many live performances, we will do all we can to provide support to the artists and organizations who make them possible during this trying time,” added City Administrator Naomi M. Kelly, who administers the city’s arts grants.

Here are some other ways to help local arts organizations.

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