What will probably be the most significant event of our lives has just been thrust upon the world. And while we don't yet know when things will return to some form of normality, there will no doubt come a time when future generations will ask “What did you do to help?”
Right now, countless creatives are facing a titanic struggle to survive, with some in dire need of funds to meet their basic human needs. Yet at the same time, many are actually doing all right. In fact, some whose jobs or freelance contracts remain in place will probably be financially better off, due to the lack of spending opportunities during lockdown.
To help those who have lost out during lockdown, a number of creatives have set up crowdfunding campaigns over the last few weeks, many of which we've listed here. If you’re in dire need yourself, we also explain how to apply for help through these funds, where direct approaches are encouraged.
These campaigns have largely sprung up spontaneously, and this by no means a comprehensive list. All the ones we have found are in the US and UK, but if you’ve started a crowdfunding campaign that’s not been featured, please let us know on Twitter via @creativebloq and the #crowdfunding hashtag, and we’ll do what we can to help you amplify your campaign.
Britain and Ireland
01. Manchester Artists Coronavirus Hardship Fund
This fund (opens in new tab) has been set up by Laurence Young, a freelance theatre director and maker. It is providing £200 hardship funds for artists, practitioners and creative freelancers who cannot work during this time or who have been affected by cancellations or other impacts. These will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Those in need can apply via email, and Laurence says: “No questions asked, no proof needed. If this fund speaks to you, we want to help.”
02. London Artist & Creatives Coronavirus Fund
Set up by agency co-founder Josh Akapo and illustrator and designer Denzel Kessie, this campaign (opens in new tab) aims to raise £200 hardship funds for London's struggling creatives. These are being distributed on a first-come, first-served basis and those in need can apply via a Google Form.
At time of press, applications were currently closed, but the more money they raise, the faster they’ll be able to reopen applications. “ We will get past this,” says Josh, “but let's try and do so with as little bad as possible.”
03. Wales Artists and Freelancers Coronavirus Fund
Wales Arts Review has launched this crowdfunder (opens in new tab) to help people struggling to make ends meet due to the cancellation or postponement of project. It has been handing out £300 hardship funds, on a first-come-first-serve basis to freelancers in Wales. Editor Gary Raymond says: "Now, in these difficult times, it would make for a powerful gesture to just alleviate some of the pressures many now face paying bills and putting food on the table."
04. Northern Ireland: Bread and butter fund Coronavirus NI artists
The work of Abbie Spallen, this fund (opens in new tab) has been sharing sums of £200 with out-of-work Northern Irish freelancers. “No big forms to fill in,” she says. “None of that malarky. It's not a huge amount. But it will buy bread and butter. Well, maybe Flora.” At time of press, applications were currently closed, but there will be a second round as soon as possible.
05. Ireland Artist Emergency Relief Fund
Set up by Niamh Ferry, this crowdfunding campaign (opens in new tab) has been providing financial relief to Irish artists experiencing lost income related to COVID-19. Small grants of up to €500 are being paid on a first-come, first-served basis to affected artists and groups.
06. Scotland: Wan Mair Tune Fund
Meghan Tyler is organising this fundraiser (opens in new tab) for Scottish arts practitioners and creatives affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. It has been distributing £200 to up to freelance artists and creatives on a first-come, first-served basis; those in need can apply by email. “For those of you who had a good year, or have a sexy salary and a bit to spare, please give what ye can,” she says. “And for those of you riddled with anxiety, hang tight. We can do this together.”
07. South West Creatives Corona Virus Impact Fund
Launched by theatre director Jay Crutchley, this fund (opens in new tab) aims to provide £200 hardship funds to artists, practitioners and creative freelancers who cannot work during this time or who have been affected by cancellations or other impacts. These will be distributed on a first-come, first served basis: details of how to apply will be published soon.
08. East Midlands Artists Corona Virus Impact Fund
Founded by Rafia, a freelance producer based in the East Midlands, this emergency fund (opens in new tab) exists to support the artists/freelancers/self employed workers who work in arts and culture through sums of £200 distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. If you’re in need, you can DM Rafia on Twitter, who says: “It can be for rent, childcare, groceries etc - there will be no questions asked.”
09. West Midlands Artists Coronavirus Emergency Fund
This campaign (opens in new tab) is being organised by Amahra Spence, who’s worked as an artist and in the creative industries for 12+ years. The idea is to provide £200 hardship funds for any artists, cultural workers, practitioners and creative freelancers who cannot work during this time or who have been affected by cancellations or other impacts. Those in need can apply via email or Twitter or Instagram DM.
10. South Yorkshire Creatives Covid-19 Hardship Fund
Created by Linda Bloomfield is organising this fundraiser (opens in new tab) for creatives who “fall through the cracks” during the current turmoil. The idea is to supply amounts of between £50 and £200, “very quickly for rent, bills, a food shop, transport or petrol, access support, childcare or anything else,” she says. “Please get in touch, and don't be shy. First come, first served - let's look after each other.” Those in need can apply by email: “You don't need to tell us much - just what's happened and how much you need to get you through in the immediate term.”
11. Hull Artists Coronavirus Fund by Middle Child
Jamie Potter, Emily Anderton, Matthew May and Rozzy Knox are organising this campaign (opens in new tab), which aims to provide £200 hardship funds for any artists that cannot work during this time. These will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, with no questions asked.
12. Norwich and Norfolk Artists’ Hardship Fund
Jack Lowe is organising this fundraising appeal (opens in new tab) on behalf of Curious Directive, a small theatre company in Norwich that manages a social enterprise co-working space for freelancers. It aims to provide £100 donations to those in need, which will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, with no questions asked
13. Coronavirus North East Creatives' Hardship Fund
Set up by Daneka Etchells and David Loumgair, this fund (opens in new tab) aims to provide amounts of £200 to creatives who are living and working in the North East, and who require urgent financial assistance due to hardship, loss of employment and additional challenges. “The transparency of this fund could result in individuals exploiting this,” they say, “but we are hoping that honesty will prevail and that this money will go to the people who need it the most.”
14. Liverpool Artists Coronavirus Fund
This fund (opens in new tab) has been created by Luke Barnes, a writer across theatre, film and television, and wishes to provide £200 hardship funds for any artists that cannot work during this time. These will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis with no questions asked.
“Artists are the back bone of the city and we need to look after them,” says Luke. “They already live precariously lives to make this city better and we need to help them not go into poverty because of something out of their control.”
15. NYC Low-Income Artist/Freelancer Relief Fund
Shawn Escarciga and Nadia Tykulsker, two artists in New York City, have launched this money-raising appeal (opens in new tab) to support other artists and freelancers who are taking financial hits as a result of Covid-19. Having received 500 applications, they are currently pausing further requests until more funds can be raised.
16. Jersey City Feed The Freelancers
Isabella Olaguera, a freelance first assistant director for the film industry, has set up this crowdfunded initiative (opens in new tab) to distribute groceries to non-union freelancers, who are treated by many companies as sub-contractors and are thus overlooked by the majority of programs providing aid.
17. Philadelphia Relief Fund for Artist and Freelancers
This campaign (opens in new tab) organised by Aaron Ricketts is setting out to raise at least $25K. The plan is to send out one-time payments of $500 to artist/freelancers to help cover the cost of things like rent, utilities and groceries. Application for funds will become available soon.
18. Chicago Freelancer Fundraiser
Daniel Fansler, an event professional working in the events industry, has set up this fund (opens in new tab) to help event professionals and music industry freelancers. “I hope you find an extra $10 or $20 in your pocket, and can help out my fellow freelancers and music business folks,” he says. “They work their asses off to help you enjoy some of the most bad ass event in the country.”
19. LA Freelancers Relief Fund
This fundraiser (opens in new tab) set up by Vanessa Rene goal aims to support Los Angeles freelancers and artists with emergency financial support, childcare financial support, as well as resources for those whom have been impacted directly by the COV-19 crisis. If you’re in need, you can apply for support via a form on the campaign page.
20. Phoenix Freelancers COVID-19 Relief Fund
Alex Leiphart has launched this fundraiser (opens in new tab) for creative freelancers in the Phoenix community, with priority to those that have lost considerable income or are struggling to make ends meet.