COVID-19 Resources for Artists2020-04-16T14:30:36-05:00

Arts policy and the COVID crisis: Resources and Actions | February 2021

Much has been happening over the past few weeks regarding COVID-19 relief on the federal and state levels, and the arts are still in need.

Take action: Click here to call on Congress to include strong relief for the arts sector in the COVID relief package.  

And a quick announcement to join us and get your questions answered on all things unemployment & SVOG! Learn more below. 

TOMORROW! February 19, 3:30 pm: The Latest on Unemployment 
We will have a representative from the Illinois Department of Employment Security with us to answer your questions about unemployment and any issues you’ve had navigating the system this past year.
Register here.

February 26, 1:00pm: Q&A for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program 
We will have a representative from the Small Business Administration to answer your questions about the SVO program.
Register here. 

Friday Office Hours with Jonathan
Have a policy question you don’t see covered by the webinars above? Join Alliance Deputy Director, Jonathan VanderBrug for a Friday Office Hour session from 10AM – 11AMCST. Come with your SVO, legislative, and relief program questions and Jonathan will do his best to offer you some clarity!
Sign up for #AskJonathan here.

Resources for Artists (January 2021)

IL Create the Future

We’re collecting stories of artists making a difference, and we want to hear from you! Are you finding creative ways to use your artistic practice to engage with your community? We’re promoting civically engaged artists on our social media and encouraging the creative community to get involved! We’d love to highlight your work. No project too small.

Share your story here

Artists as Social Change Agents    January 26, 2:00-3:00 pm

Webinar.  Networking from 3:00-3:30 pm eastern.

This conversation explores how the arts can change what people know and believe, and how they engage in communities. Learn more or register.

Watch an Arts Alliance Illinois webinar for the latest on unemployment insurance benefits.  The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) is already implementing the extension of coverage for gig workers and independent contractors, as well as the additional $300/week.

You can find the webinar here:

arts for illinois logo

Americans for the Arts launches collaborative proposal to put creative workers to work in the recovery

The policy proposal,“To Rebuild and Reimagine the United States Post-Pandemic, We Must Put Creative Workers to Work”, was developed with over 100 partners throughout the creative community to Put Creative Workers to Work in the national recovery.

This proposal debuts with over 775 endorsements from creative organizations and creative workers. It combines suggested actions from, among other sources, Standing for Cultural Democracy, the Cultural New Deal for Cultural and Racial Justice, various working papers from Americans for the ArtsCalifornians for the Arts’ Job Creation Strategies and Actionable Items for the Arts SectorArts Wisconsin’s We’re All In Creative Workforce Program, and THE OFFICE’s Artists at Work program. It is also the result of combined work from over 100 members of the creative community through the Getting Creative Workers Working Coalition, a coalition of National Arts Service Organizations and Regional Arts Organizations, and Americans for the Arts’ various networks, including the State Arts Action Network and the United States Urban Arts Federation. Such solidarity makes a strong statement, and we are looking forward to adding to that growing list of endorsements.

There is no recovery without creativity. To rebuild, we must Put Creative Workers to Work both nationally and right here in Springfield.

As local, state, and federal legislators begin to think about how our communities will recover from and reimagine ourselves after the Coronavirus pandemic, they must put the country’s creative workers to work in that recovery. The creative economy is an $878-billion industry that supports 5.1 million jobs and represents 4.5% of the nation’s economy, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

In the months to come, both the national and local economy will need the arts and culture sector to deliver on its unique mission and catalyze economic activity, while also addressing the social and educational needs of a community emerging from a disaster.

For that reason, the Springfield Area Arts Council has joined Americans for the Arts and over 725 other cultural organizations and creative workers across the country to propose 15 actions to Put Creative Workers to Work, activating the creative economy for the common good, energizing our fellow citizens, reimagining how communities can thrive, sparking economic growth, and improving the lives of us all.

We encourage all members of this community to read the full proposal, which can be found at, and consider how we might integrate the proposed policies into our own local recovery.

The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated America’s arts industry-63% (!) of the nation’s artists and creative workers are now unemployed and thousands of arts businesses doubt they will survive the pandemic. Despite that, 3 out of 4 artists have used their creative practice to address community needs, raise morale, and create community cohesion, and over 80% are ready to deploy their creativity to support the recovery, according to research from Americans for the Arts.

To date, 725 arts and culture organizations and creative workers from 48 states and the District of Columbia have endorsed the proposal to Put Creative Workers to Work, which will be shared with both Presidential campaigns and members of Congress.

The proposal encourages decision makers at all levels of government to (1) directly employ creative workers in the recovery, (2) encourage employment of creative workers throughout government and in the private sector in service to recovery, (3) adjust existing local, state, and federal policies that keep creative workers from being treated equally to other workers, (4) integrate creative efforts such as arts-based therapies into response, recovery, and resilience efforts, and (5) support access to arts, culture, and arts education for all Americans-particularly right now.

To view the full 15-action proposal as well as the ever-growing list of endorsing organizations and individuals, visit “To Rebuild and Reimagine America, We Must Put Creative Workers to Work” at

Arts organizations and artists are vital contributors to the nonprofit sector, are essential to the economy of the communities they serve, and they should be supported by all forms of relief.

Without creative workers, we cannot fully recover-and they are ready to serve. So, let’s Put Creative Workers to Work.

Art Alliance Illinois Holds COVID-19 Policy Briefings on Independent Contractors and Unemployment Benefits

Arts Alliance Illinois held a webinar last Friday to review financial relief opportunities for freelancers, independent contractors, and gig economy workers in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

The webinar explains the newly expanded unemployment benefits program, opportunities for individuals in small business relief programs, and other potential sources of assistance for independent contractors.

The webinar can be viewed below or at

The Alliance has also developed an FAQ related Small Business Loans (including local, state, and federal programs with nonprofit eligibility) —click here to access it.

COVID-19 Policy Briefing: Unemployment Benefits

A representative of the Illinois Department of Employment Security will answer your specific questions, as well as questions from past webinars. There will also be a review the expanded unemployment benefits program that will open on May 11 for independent contractors. This is your opportunity to go straight to the source for answers and to provide input.

Tune in at 3:10 for an up-to-the-minute policy update from Jonathan VanderBrug on COVID-related relief.

Date and Time: Thursday, April 30, 3:00pm CT

Sign up:

How you can help: Visit our advocacy page to quickly connect to your legislators and voice your support for financial relief for artists and arts organizations affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

UIS Performing Arts Center Joins Springfield Non-Profits In Call For Support

SPRINGFIELD IL – April 22, 2020 – The non-profit arts organizations in Springfield have come together with one message – “The show will go on…but not without your help.”

Eleven major performing arts organizations in the Springfield area are combining their communication efforts to reassure the local community that performances will resume and to provide information on how you can support local arts organizations in the interim.

A single unified message is being distributed this week to over 75,000 email addresses representing almost every performing arts ticket buyer in the region. The email includes links to each participating organization, as well as a unique link to each organization’s secure online donation site.

This campaign is organized by the University of Illinois Springfield Performing Arts Center.  Bryan Rives, Director of the Performing Arts Center, said “One mission of UIS is ‘Leadership Lived.’ We are always searching for ways to help our community. During this COVID-19 crisis, we realized our own patron email list, of over 42,000 addresses, could be used to spread the word about how to support local performing arts organizations in our area. We then reached out to The Hoogland Center for the Arts to see if they would like to partner with us on this effort. They quickly came on board, as did many others. Everyone we approached agreed to send the email to their individual mailing lists, even though it contains a fundraising appeal for other organizations in addition to their own. We are very lucky that our arts community can come together to support one another during this extremely trying time.”

Gus Gordon, Executive Director of the Hoogland Center for the Arts, said “During this pandemic we have been reminded that in times of need, many people turn to the arts for comfort. The vital role these performing arts organizations play in our community has never been clearer. With the support of our patrons and donors, we will be here to help heal the community when this crisis is over.”

The participating performing arts organizations are:

  • The Hoogland Center for the Arts
  • Illinois Symphony Orchestra
  • Springfield Area Arts Council
  • Springfield Ballet Company
  • Springfield Theatre Center
  • Springfield Youth Performance Group
  • Theatre in the Park
  • The Legacy Theatre
  • The Muni
  • Spencer Theatre Company
  • University of Illinois Performing Arts Center

Most of these organizations have already encountered a substantial loss of income due to the Covid-19 outbreak. These groups have employees to support, rent and bills to pay, and buildings to maintain. It will take considerable time to recover from this pandemic – emotionally, mentally and financially.

For more information about the Performing Arts Center, contact Jen Tibbs – (217) 206-8284,

Grantmakers Support Artists and Writers Knocked Sideways by COVID-19

Grantmakers Support Artists and Writers Knocked Sideways By COVID-19

Nonprofit Quarterly | April 13, 2020

Many artists and writers get by on thin margins when it comes to personal finance, and for many independent creators, revenue sources dried up in days as COVID-19 forced venue, museum, gallery, bookstore, and community center closures. There are around 2.5 million artists in the US, and almost all of them are experiencing hardship. Grants and foundations are freeing up funds and removing restrictions to help them in this critical time.

Read the full article here:

Illinois State Museum Seeking Submissions for COVID-19 Collection Project

The Illinois State Museum is asking the public to submit digital artifacts of the 2020 pandemic.

They are collecting writings, photos, artwork, and photographs that capture the experiences of living during this crisis in order to preserve this information for future generations.

They will share select submissions across social media and online exhibitions, as well as collect the submissions into a digital archive.

For more information and to submit your materials, visit the Illinois State Museum COVID-19 Collection Project website.