The Denver Actors Fund, which has given more than $480,000 to actors dealing with health issues since it was launched in 2013, just announced that it has created the New Denver Emergency Artist Relief Fund, to help theater artists whose lives have been impacted by COVID-19.
The seed money for the fund is $35,000, which includes a $10,000 contribution from Denver Center for the Performing Arts CEO Janice Sinden. The Denver Actors Fund is asking for donations to increase that amount.
Immediately, 140 $250 stipends will be offered to Colorado theater artists; the grant is designed to help as many people as quickly and fairly as possible, explains Chris Gibley, president of the Denver Actors Fund board of directors.
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“We have created this temporary fund in recognition of the unprecedented economic hardship theater professionals are facing all across Colorado as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Gibley says in a statement announcing the fund. “We all have a part to play in helping us all to get through this, and our role is to provide some modest relief to those who have lost their income. We're all in this together.”
In addition to money, the organization has offered practical services to theater artists in need through a group of volunteers.
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“But when the COVID-19 pandemic erupted and the entire theater community was shut down for the immediate future, hundreds of theater artists not only lost their opportunity to perform, and the income that goes along with it, most of them lost their secondary incomes as well, such as part-time jobs as teaching artists and servers in bars and restaurants,” Denver Actors Fund founder John Moore adds. “That double whammy has left most of them with no source of income for the immediate future, including unemployment insurance. As the severity of this crisis became plain, we knew the Denver Actors Fund had to step into the void and do our part to help as many of them as we can.”