Florida ‘Artists’ Eligible to Receive Government Stimulus Money, Don’t Have to Prove their Talents

With the recent federal stimulus packages, several funding elements inside the bills provide unemployment benefits for out of work artists, even if they are not employed on a regular basis.

In fact, several groups in the art community insisting unemployed artists should not even have to prove their talents in order to receive public funds. These groups include the Academy of American Poets, Artadia, Creative Capital, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the MAP Fund, the National YoungArts Foundation and United States Artists.

These art organizations have created “Artist Relief,” a website insisting that individuals who “self-define” that they independently or commercially make a living exhibiting or performing need to apply for government assistance.  The website notes in order to receive a government check you don’t even have to prove you have talent.

“In the US, artists can now get a $5,000 unrestricted grant—and they don’t even have to put on a dog-and-pony show to prove their talents,” the Artist Relief site claims.

United States Artists CEO Deana Haggag also backed the site, saying “you do not have to upload anything—no paperwork, no work samples.” Haggag also said awarding funds will be based on “need instead of talent.”

According to the Artist Relief website, just about everybody that is not a professional artist could be eligible for the grants.

One member of a Central Florida cultural alliance told Florida Daily that, under those perimeters,  funds could go to someone at an arts and crafts show exhibiting their ceramic and fiber jewelry.

Dancers showcasing their talents at a local theater could also apply for a stimulus check. Artist Relief also noted that Americans with local podcasts should apply for government help. The website also encourages musicians that play at certain local events to apply as well.

“Traditional arts” dealing with oral expression are also included to receive government stimulus.

The Artist Relief website also claims that illegal immigrants are allowed to receive government funding.

“Citizenship is not what we’re looking for here. We are hearing a lot about undocumented artists and immigrant artists who are wondering if they’re eligible, yes they are,” said Haggag.

Amateur artists who are not primarily paid for their work are also encouraged by Artist Relief to apply for the money.

Groups across Florida are also trying to help out. Dave Lawrence, the CEO of the Cultural Council for Palm Beach County,  said his group is trying to get aid out there as soon as possible for artists.

Across the nation, Americans for the Arts found that the art community has taken a hit of almost $5 billion during the recent economic downturn accompanying the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Reach Ed Dean at ed.dean@floridadaily.com.

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