New Orleans Creative Response Establishes an Emergency Relief Fund to Support Local Creators

Antenna, Ashe Cultural Arts Center, Junebug Productions, and The Weavers
Fellowship have established a collaborative emergency relief fund as part of a broader initiative called Creative Response, to support local creators impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Supported by a network of art and social justice-based organizations, Creative Response will provide emergency grants of $2,000 to local creators, distribute art and activity kits to New Orleans youth, and is currently serving as a resource hub of information, opportunities, advocacy, and professional development support for creators and organizations.

“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.”

With support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts for the Platforms Fund, a collaborative re-granting effort of Antenna and Ashé Cultural Arts Center – and pooled resources from Junebug Productions and The Weavers Fellowship, Creative Response Relief Fund will provide $2,000 in individual emergency grants to local creators that meet grant qualifications. To qualify, creators must:

● Be a practicing artist of any discipline (culture bearer, filmmaker, painter, performer, photographer, sculptor, writer, etc.) with a demonstrated body of work and creative practice.

● Have lived and worked in the greater New Orleans metro area for at least 12 months

● Have been impacted as a result of the pandemic and need funds to cover necessary living expenses such as food, housing, utilities, medical costs, or family care.

The first round of grants will be distributed mid-April 2020.

In addition to the Relief Fund, Creative Response is also distributing 800 free art and activity kits for young people every Wednesday until the New Orleans stay-at-home order is lifted. To provide opportunities for creators, Creative Response is commissioning New Orleans artists, writers, and designers to create activities, coloring pages, sticker sheets, and creative prompts for the activity kits, alongside contributions by many local arts education organizations.

“It is . . . our collective responsibility to support our region’s greatest natural resource – those who craft the sounds, smells, images, phrases, movements, and aesthetics that create meaning of our shared experiences – defining our lives in ways that make New Orleans one of the world’s most valued global communities,” said Asali DeVan Ecclesiastes, Ashé Cultural Arts Center’s CEO. “These creators, who shape every aspect of our city, are currently bearing the brunt of the grave economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. We eagerly join the efforts of our colleagues in government, philanthropy, and the private sector who are stepping up to the challenge of repairing this deep systemic inequity; one which tears at the heart, as it only deepens at a time such as this.”

To learn more, apply for a relief grant, contribute an activity, or to make a donation, visit www.creativeresponse.works.

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