The Pinellas Arts Community Relief Fund has reopened to accept applications this week. The fund, which has already distributed $97,800 in awards to artists and arts businesses impacted by COVID-19, was created in late March as a joint effort by Creative Pinellas, the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance, the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg and the Pinellas Community Foundation.
After receiving hundreds of applications within a week of opening the fund, the initial money raised was quickly exhausted. Due to the generosity of donors and supporters of the arts community and the hard work of the fund committee in finding creative ways to raise money, including last Sunday's virtual arts festival, awards can once again be distributed.
“This fund represents a tremendous effort and outpouring of support from the community.” said Barbara St. Clair, CEO of Creative Pinellas. “From the very beginning when we first launched, donors large and small recognized and responded to what were clearly urgent needs. And they have continued to do so, creatively, effectively and with a commitment that is truly humbling. There’s a reason we named the virtual arts festival, ‘We Are Family,’ she added. “There’s an awareness that we are all in this together, and a belief that it is important to step up and help.”
Award amounts are $500 for artists and between $500-$1500 for arts organizations and small creative businesses. To qualify for relief funds, Pinellas County artists, arts organizations and small creative businesses need to demonstrate specific and immediate financial need. For individual artists, this may include rent, utilities, food, healthcare, and other basic needs. Organization and business needs may take the form of rent, payroll, employee healthcare or other essential operating expenses.
The influence of COVID-19 has been devasting on the arts community according to a recent survey completed by Creative Pinellas. With the sudden cancellation of events and performances and closure of galleries, museums, arts organizations and creative businesses, the estimated loss of revenue and employee income over a 90-day period is a staggering $5.4M.
“Our community has been very generous in supporting relief efforts, and I’m proud that the arts are receiving much needed support, too,” said Duggan Cooley, CEO of the Pinellas Community Foundation. “Now more than ever, we need our vibrant arts community to help us better cope with this challenging time, and the arts are key to our recovery.”
The Pinellas Arts Community Relief Fund was established to help mitigate the financial suffering of Pinellas County artists, arts organizations, and creative businesses in the face of the current emergency. The goal of the fund is to ensure that the vibrant arts and cultural landscape of Pinellas County remains intact through this crisis and beyond. Donations are needed to help grow this relief fund and individual contributions of any size are appreciated.
To contribute to the Community Arts Relief Fund please visit https://pinellascf.org/pinellasartsrelief.
For other information, please visit creativepinellas.org.
George Ann Bissett, Dunedin Fine Ars Center; John Collins, St. Petersburg Arts Alliance; Duggan Cooley, Pinellas Community Foundation; Katie Deits, Florida CraftArt; Helen French, Dance/Beacon; Elizabeth Gelman, Florida Holocaust Museum; Stephanie Gularte, American Stage; Alex Harris Ph.D, Arts Conservatory for Teens; Yvonne Marrullier, The Dali; Carol Mickett, Artist/Mickett Stackhouse; Paula Parrish, Morean Arts Center; Julie Rocco, Foundation for a Healthy St. Pete; Barbara St. Clair, Creative Pinellas.