Culver City’s Wende Museum was among the 400 hundred artists and 80 arts organizations that received $2.7 million in total grants as part of a broad-based COVID-19 relief effort for the visual arts in the Los Angeles region. The emergency support from the Getty Foundation was designed to reach individual artists throughout all areas of LA County and arts organizations that serve the region’s culturally diverse communities.
“The arts are a source of expression, resistance, and healing,” said Joan Weinstein, director of the Getty Foundation. “But our creative artists and arts organizations, who do so much to advocate for social change, will not survive this pandemic and its economic fallout if we don’t take action now to support them.”
The economic impact of COVID-19 has been especially hard on small and midsize arts institutions. The pandemic has also laid bare inequities in funding, particularly for organizations that serve communities of color. Smaller arts organizations tend to operate without any endowment funds or cash reserves. Yet they act as essential community anchors, supporting creative expression for artists of color, providing access to the arts for underserved groups, and offering arts education in schools and at their own sites. Even while their doors have been closed, many have worked hard to maintain their community bonds, hosting COVID-19 testing sites or food distribution centers on their premises.
After months of lost revenue, these organizations are struggling to maintain staff, provide safe galleries and workspaces that meet new health and safety standards, and still ensure meaningful arts participation for their communities when they reopen.
The more than $2 million in emergency relief grants awarded to 80 visual arts nonprofits and museums provides support to meet urgent financial needs over the next three months, including staff salaries, rent, and emergency supplies to comply with public health measures. This basic operating support will also allow organizations some leeway to plan for reopening, restructuring, and collaboration.
The Iris, Behind the Scenes at the Getty