LEXINGTON, Ky. — Today, LexArts and Blue Grass Community Foundation announce the creation of the Arts Resilience Initiative to provide financial relief for artists and arts organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The current health crisis is putting unprecedented pressures on Central Kentucky’s arts community. With strict guidelines to stem the spread of the virus, public gatherings are banned, venues are closed, and performances, shows, events, classes and gigs are being cancelled, resulting in hundreds of thousands in projected lost revenue for artists and arts organizations.
LexArts, in partnership with Blue Grass Community Foundation, will address the urgent need of nonprofit arts organizations based in, and artists living, working, creating and/or performing in the LexArts/BGCF common service area (Fayette, Bourbon, Clark, Jessamine, Madison, Scott and Woodford counties) by taking immediate action to deploy financial resources through the Arts Resilience Initiative.
Focused on lost income, the fund will quickly provide one-time relief to eligible artists and arts organizations on a first-come, first-served basis. The maximum award for an individual artist is $500, while the maximum award for arts organizations is $2,000.
Applications from individual artists will be accepted continuously, with grants made on a rolling basis. Applications from arts organizations must be received by April 24.
Leading the list of Arts Resilience Initiative donors is Knight Foundation Donor Advised Charitable Fund at Blue Grass Community Foundation, which is issuing a $50,000 matching opportunity to challenge the community to rise to the occasion and support local arts.
Additional initial gifts include $15,000 from the Jenna and Matthew Mitchell Family Foundation, $11,111.11 from The Groovalution, $10,000 from the EE Murry Family Foundation, $10,000 from The Fund for Greater Lexington, a community endowment at Blue Grass Community Foundation, and a donation from Stockyard, LLC.
“The arts inspire and sustain us in good times and in bad. Theaters, studios and galleries may now be closed, but art has never been more essential,” said Blue Grass Community Foundation President/CEO Lisa Adkins. “Many artists and arts organizations need support right now to sustain them through this crisis. To help do just that, generous donors have stepped forward to help us create the Arts Resilience Initiative. Someday, hopefully soon, we will be able to once again gather to hear a poem, visit a museum, take in a performance and enjoy a concert. We need to make sure that when that day comes, there is something to hear and see and celebrate.”
Thanks to the support of these generous donors, the fund is able to move swiftly and issue a first round of grants totaling $30,000 to the LexArts 2019/2020 General Operating Support Partners: the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning, Central Kentucky Youth Orchestras, the Lexington Art League, Lexington Children’s Theater, Lexington Philharmonic and the Living Arts & Science Center.
The Arts Resilience Fund is a resources-in, resources-out fund, and the fund will continue to provide financial relief to artists and arts organizations only as long as donations support it. It is projected that the demand for funds will exceed the available resources, so donations are needed to continue grant-making to help our local artists and arts organizations when they need it most.
“The need is high, and the issue is urgent,” said LexArts Interim President and CEO Ame Sweetall. “We invite those who appreciate and enjoy Lexington’s arts scene to join us in addressing the urgent needs of the artists and arts organizations in our community and ensuring the longevity of the creative sectors of Lexington.”
For more information about the Arts Resilience Fund, eligibility information and online applications for artists and arts organizations, visit www.LexArts.org/ArtsResilience.