The Orange County Arts Commission has awarded emergency relief grants totaling $18,850 to 45 members of the Orange County arts community. Funds have been collected through the Orange County Arts Support Fund, an online fundraiser to benefit artists, arts industry workers, and arts organizations in Orange County. Grant amounts ranged from $250-$450 and will help recipients with essential needs such as groceries, utility bills, and rent/mortgage payments.
“Due to the Covid-19 shutdowns, I had all scheduled classes and workshops canceled and lost a lot of income. This grant will help towards everyday expenses of mortgage and food,” states Chapel Hill visual artist Luna Lee Ray. Carrboro musician Clark Blomquist said, “The grant from The Orange County Arts Support Fund will allow me to continue music and art projects that I would have otherwise been forced to postpone or discontinue due to lay-off from work, cancellation of gigs, and the resulting lack of funds. I feel very fortunate to be a part of the wonderful and supportive arts community in Orange County.”
The loss of audiences has made the arts one of the most hard-hit industries during the COVID-19 pandemic. Orange County is home to approximately 4,000 creative industry workers and 170 arts and cultural nonprofit organizations*. To date, the estimated economic impact on Orange County from the shut-down of the arts industry is $2,007,218**.
Almost $25,000 has been raised in total to date, made possible by 106 individual donors as well as contributions from the Triangle Community Foundation, Manbites Dog Theater Fund, Orange County Artists Guild, and Women’s Voices Chorus. A second round of grants will open as funds become available. Donations can be made online or by check. For more information, visit www.artsorange.org/supportfund.
*Americans for the Arts’ Arts & Economic Prosperity Survey 5
** Americans for the Arts’ Economic Impact of the Coronavirus on the Arts and Cultural Sector