Relief Fund for East End Artists

Members of the Hamptons Art Network at the Parrish Art Museum in 2019. Independent/Jessica Mackin-Cipro

The Hamptons Arts Network, in partnership with the New York Foundation for the Arts, has raised $175,000 towards a relief fund to help artists during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Artists Clifford Ross and Eric Fischl took the lead in starting the fund, which builds on an East End tradition of artists helping artists. The relief effort plans to support local visual artists, choreographers, musicians and writers.

“What we are doing is an extension of a tradition on the East End that has existed since the 19th century—a creative community that comes together and supports each other, especially in times of need,” said a statement from Ross and Fischl.

“Today, the arts scene is a vibrant element of the culture and economy in the region. We immediately saw the impact that the pandemic was having, and it was self-evident that we had to do something to catalyze support for those in the creative world who are in need. We’re all in this together.”

Donations came from a range of supporters including Fischl, Ross, and artist Robert Longo. They also came from artist-endowed foundations like Dedalus Foundation, Willem de Kooning Foundation, and Helen Frankenthaler Foundation as well as gallerists Larry Gagosian and Per Skarstedt, among others.

HAN was formed in 2016 as a group of 19 arts and cultural nonprofits on the East End. The group is dedicated to fostering the artistic community and promoting the creative economy of the region.

“The East End has long fostered artist communities that have congregated and flourished here since the late 19th Century. As residents of this community, HAN leaders witnessed firsthand the devastating impact the pandemic is having on the artists who live and work here. The perception of wealth was overshadowing the real need we saw in our neighborhoods for working artists, as the pandemic compounded food and job insecurity tied to seasonal incomes,” said Andrea Grover, the director of Guild Hall, who also led efforts to launch the HAN Artist Relief Fund initiative.

“Across the board, our institutions felt it was important for us to continue to be a point of connection for artists during this time of distress and to lead the charge in supporting our community.”

The fund will award unrestricted $1,000 grants to artists facing financial emergencies. This includes loss of wages and medical expenses, due to the pandemic.

“Emergency grant programs like the HAN Artist Relief Fund are critical to artists, as much of their work has been cancelled or put on an indefinite hold due to the pandemic,” said  Michael Royce, the executive director of NYFA, which was created in 1971 to empower artists at critical stages in their creative lives.

Applications are being taken through July 22. To be eligible for a grant, artists must be living in Long Island zip codes beginning with 119 and demonstrate dire financial circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 crisis.

Eligible applicants will be selected through a lottery system. Additional award cycles will open as funding allows. Artists can visit https://www.nyfa.org/Content/Show/Hamptons-Arts-Network-Artist-Relief-Fund.

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