The Pulitzer Arts Foundation and the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis today announced the distribution of fifty $2,000 grants through the A Sustaining Arts Practice (ASAP) Fund. The grants are intended to support creative workers currently facing significant financial hardship due to COVID-19, and to help replace lost income from cancelled exhibitions, performances, commissions, teaching opportunities, talks, contracts, or other work.
Recipients were chosen from a pool of more than 400 applications. Grants were open to artists, architects, and designers living in the St. Louis area. Organizers also worked with community leaders on targeted outreach to groups that have been historically underrepresented and excluded from arts funding resources, including artists of color, native and Indigenous artists, immigrant artists, artists with disabilities, and LGBTQIAP+ artists.
In determining recipients, the selection committee prioritized factors such as level of need and the degree to which an individual’s practice served as a primary source of income. The grants are unrestricted, and can be used for a range of costs at the discretion of the recipient to help sustain their practice during the pandemic.
The names of the grant recipients are being kept confidential, but the applications underscore the dire financial hurdles many creative workers are now confronting. Findings include:
• 98% of recipients have lost full-time, part-time, or contract-based work due to COVID-19.
• 82% of recipients are unsure when they will make any income again.
• 32% of recipients report that their partner, co-parent, or other cohabitants have lost full-time, part-time, or contract-based work due to COVID-19.
• 62% of recipients report having no financial safety net (savings, assets, family resources, etc.) on which to fall back.
• 56% of recipients report having unmanageable debt, such as medical expenses or credit card debt.
• 38% of recipients do not have health insurance
• 54% of recipients are financially responsible for children, elders, or other dependents.
• 18% of recipients have become a primary caregiver for dependents.
Of the 50 recipients, 25 reside in the City of St. Louis. Twenty-two recipients reside in St. Louis County. St. Clair County (Illinois), Madison County (Illinois), and St. Charles County (Missouri) each had one recipient.
Distribution of grants by discipline:
• 9% awarded to architects (architectural design, landscape architectural design, urban design, etc.)
• 11% awarded to designers (fashion, graphic, illustration, industrial arts, object, interactive media, etc.)
• 80% awarded to artists (installation, painting, printmaking, performance art, photography, sculpture, sound art, video, social practice, ceramics, textiles, etc.)
The ASAP grants are funded by an endowment established at Washington University in St. Louis by Emily Rauh Pulitzer in 2004. The endowment is dedicated to enhancing the creative life of St. Louis through joint collaborative projects between the Pulitzer and the Sam Fox School. Learn more about the about the Pulitzer Endowment.