COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus pandemic, has caused an economic fallout that some say rivals the Great Depression with a record number of people filing for unemployment due to hundreds of thousands of jobs being lost as a result. The public health crisis has been particularly difficult for those working in the arts industry who are prohibited from holding public gatherings larger than 10 people under federal and state bans. Cities like New Orleans are fighting to save its arts community under the pandemic and now local arts organizations are coming forward.
Antenna, Ashe Cultural Arts Center, Junebug Productions, and The Weavers Fellowship have come together to create an emergency relief fund to help local artists in the city who have been impacted by the coronavirus. The move is a part of a larger initiative called the Creative Response to support creators impacted by the public health crisis. The fund will offer emergency grants of $2,000 to local creators as well as distribute art and activity kits to New Orleans youth.
“While there would never be a welcome moment for such a crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the city of New Orleans during the busiest time of the year for local economic activity in the arts—during festival season—and thus has hit local creators at a particularly vulnerable moment,” said Bob Snead, Antenna executive director. “As a result, this rapid response initiative is designed to provide direct economic support and opportunities to creators including grants and gig-work, alongside the distribution of art and activity kits for young people to do while they are at home in the midst of the crisis, all while aiming to be an outlet and source of inspiration —reminding us all of the resiliency of the creative spirit.”