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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

SPACES Doles Out More Emergency Relief to Cuyahoga County Artists

Posted By on Tue, Jul 28, 2020 at 10:01 AM

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The Satellite Fund Emergency Relief Program from SPACES has doled out a second round of financial relief grants to 66 local artists in a variety of disciplines. This has been made possible by a Regional Regranting Program of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and from generous donations from the Cleveland Foundation, the Takeyama Fund at the Cleveland Foundation, as well as from individual donors such as Susan E. Murray and Donald E. Harvey.



Between the Satellite Fund Emergency Relief Program and the Urgent Art Fund, which funds special projects in a time of economic strife, we see SPACES has pivoted in order to embolden and empower the Arts Community in Cuyahoga County.

I took a moment to speak with SPACES’ Interim Executive Director, Megan Young, about how these processes have been going.

In 2019 SPACES became one of 16 regranting sites. The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts reached out to SPACES and said they would support a change in the grant terms to re-allocate $100,000 in annual grants for Covid-19 emergency relief to be distributed into our communities.

“This is an example of a successful long-term partnership resulting in a sustained, high quality, impact on our regional arts ecosystem," Young said

In May, they awarded $60,000 in Emergency Relief Grants to 60 local artists. This is unorthodox for SPACES as their opportunities are usually merit based. The process for these grants was a little different: jurors certified that the artists ‘demonstrated visual art practice.’ Artists not chosen may have not been because of ineligibilities due to granting restrictions or because of the ‘randomized lottery’ and not based on artistic merit. SPACES was glad to report that they had been able to grant 75% of applicants and instructs artists who were not awarded to “not consider it a reflection of their art practice.”

The Satellite Fund Emergency Relief Program does not stipulate that grantees produce works in order to receive these grants, as they are distributed “in the hope that artists in our region will be able to meet their basic needs and continue in their chosen fields.”

In addition to the much-needed financial relief given to grantees, they are also awarded a SPACES Season Pass Membership which will allow them to participate in the 2020 November Season Pass Members Takeover in order to focus on artist directed goals. The artists will also have access to members-only workshops and meetings with SPACES artists-in-residence as well as many other professional development initiatives.

This is the second round of grants being offered (the first round of monies was handed out at the end of April of this year). As monumental of an undertaking as this program has been and the immense impact this has had on artists in Cuyahoga County, not everyone who applied was able to get this relief, unfortunately. Artist applications were reviewed by Distinguished Art Professionals and “artists reporting the greatest financial need were given the highest score. Awards were distributed so that artists self-reporting the greatest financial need received the largest grants and so forth. There was a lottery for grants of $500, as there were more artists in need than grants available.”

I asked Young if she anticipated another round of these sort of grants in the future to which she replied, “We are considering providing a new kind of recovery grant through The Satellite Fund in 2021 supporting artist production of new experimental projects, but not requiring those projects to have a public presentation (as was part of the grant opportunity in 2019). Those details are still in process.”

Artist Katie Mongoven was quoted as responding, "Thank you so much for this exciting news! I am so honored and grateful to receive this grant during such a challenging time. I hope you realize how much of a difference this will make in my life."

This is not the only relief effort supporting basic needs and providing resources for artist driven responses from SPACES as they have also announced 4 of the 5 Urgent Art Fund awardees with one more to be awarded this year. This is a project-based grant and one with which artists find out much more quickly if they have been recommended for further funding. This allows for a more timely response to current events and happenings in local communities.

“Awarded projects receive support from SPACES staff and extended networks, but the artists take the lead in determining their own models of success and artistic expression.”

SPACES would like to highlight Artist Outreach Coordinator Cierra Rembert, who they report, “Has done an incredible job administering both The Satellite Fund and The Urgent Art Fund in 2020. We could not have administered these programs without her expertise and dedication.”

All in all, 169 artists have applied for relief through these programs since April and in 2020, SPACES administered $115,250 in Emergency Relief Grants to local artists and over 20% reported risk factors including underlying health conditions.

This is cause to take pause and reflect on what a tremendous financial strain Covid-19 has thrust upon artists in Cuyahoga County and how important these programs are to the health and wellbeing of our artistic communities.

Visit the Spaces website to get a full list of grantees.

SPACES is also accepting donation from individuals here

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