Art News

Resources for Denver Artists During the Coronavirus Shutdown

In better times, an Art Battle happened at Your Mom's House.
In better times, an Art Battle happened at Your Mom's House. Evan Semón
Artists are scrambling as they hunt for ways to get through the COVID-19 crisis. Closures have rattled the arts industry, shutting down shows and snatching away the gig-economy jobs that so many creatives depend on. Many artists are broke, or close enough.

And now artists, art lovers, funders and nonprofits are rallying to find a fix. Some have created jobs lists or online resources, others are offering direct support. Whether you want to lend a hand to struggling artists or are looking for aid yourself, here are some of the resources available in the Denver area.

Black Cube Video Art Contest
After the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation split $125,000 in emergency grants between 43 organizations it was already funding, including Black Cube, the nomadic museum's executive director, Cortney Stell, decided to take the $2,000 that her group had received and throw a video-art competition. The ten winners will each receive $200 (enough for groceries, she says) and a spot on the organization's Vimeo feed. The call for submissions is open through Friday, April 10.

click to enlarge Amber Blais is running a database where artists looking for work can connect with people looking to hire. - NICHOLAS CAPUTO
Amber Blais is running a database where artists looking for work can connect with people looking to hire.
Nicholas Caputo
Colorado Artist Talent Share
Amber Blais of Rainbow Militia was inspired by Bay Area organizers who created a database where artists could share their less obvious skills (think child care, accounting, editing, etc...) with people looking to hire. On a Google survey, local artists are letting people know what services they can offer; the Denver database includes more than 125 artists available for hire.

Colorado Attorneys for the Arts
Colorado Attorneys for the Arts offers free consultations and pro-bono services for artists, creative groups and nonprofits facing legal issues. The group also runs webinars about various business topics of interest to creatives, from intellectual-property rights to maximizing earnings. Contact [email protected] for more information.

Colorado Business Committee for the Arts Resource List
The Colorado Business Committee for the Arts has compiled a list of national resources, including funding and grant opportunities, professional organizations, webinars, and ways to support the creative community.

click to enlarge Kelsey Cook performs at a Goldfish Entertainment comedy night at the Irish Snug. - ANDREW BRAY
Kelsey Cook performs at a Goldfish Entertainment comedy night at the Irish Snug.
Andrew Bray
Colorado Comedy Relief Fund
Comedy producer Josue Flores is raising $20,000 on GoFundMe to support out-of-work comedians; so far, the campaign has surpassed $2,000. You can both donate and apply for funds on the GoFundMe site.

Colorado COVID-19 Business Resource Center
The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade has compiled a list of resources for businesses navigating the coronavirus crisis. There is a paycheck protection program, loans for small businesses, and more resources from federal and state government to help you make it through these times.

Denver Actors Fund
The Denver Actors Fund, which has given more than $480,000 to actors dealing with health issues since it was launched in 2013, announced it has created the New Denver Emergency Artist Relief Fund, to help out theater artists whose lives have been impacted by COVID-19. Starting with $35,000, the Denver Actors Fund is looking to build up that pool: Donate here, and apply here.

Denver Metro Area Artist COVID-19 Relief Fund
Denver-area artists have already raised over $10,000 on GoFundMe for a relief fund that will help artists from historically marginalized groups. (The artists organizing this effort will not be recipients of the grants.) Applications are frozen until more money is raised, but you can find updates as well as make donations on the GoFundMe page. The Relief Fund has also published a list of additional resources that artists — and others — might find helpful in the meantime.

Imagine 2020 Artist Assistance Fund
When the City and County of Denver announced that Arts & Venues would be providing emergency grants through the Imagine 2020 Artist Assistance Fund, staffers were  unprepared for the onslaught of applications. With $130,000 to divvy up and artists clamoring for help, the city has temporarily closed the application process in order to sort through what's already come in. Keep checking the website for updates.

click to enlarge Detour's 5 Pointers installation at RedLine Contemporary. - MICHAEL EMERY HECKER
Detour's 5 Pointers installation at RedLine Contemporary.
Michael Emery Hecker
RedLine Contemporary's Artist Resource Guide and Survey
RedLine Contemporary, which is closed for now, has put a trove of resources online for artists looking for funding opportunities, both local and beyond. The nonprofit is also surveying artists, trying to determine exactly what the creative community needs.

RiNo Art District Emergency Grants
The River North Art District has made $200,000 in grants available to creatives and small businesses within its boundaries. The microgrants will range from $500 to $2,500.

Do you know of projects supporting local artists and the creative community? Let us know at [email protected]; we'll continue to update this list.
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Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris