News of the ill effects of the pandemic have quite rightfully focused mostly on the threats to life and physical health. However, we know that personal finances have also been threatened for a number of people. Across the country, perhaps the world, arts organizations have started artist relief funds because too many of our artists have limited resources, even in the best of times, and many artists have been especially impacted by this health crisis.
Toward that end, an anonymous local patron of the arts has made a very generous offer, and the Doña Ana Arts Council has accepted it. Each month until the end of 2020, this patron will invest in our community through the arts by giving at least $200 to be distributed as artist relief. Other patrons are challenged to match that $200. If the total of additional contributions to the fund exceed $200 in any one month, the original patron is willing to match those additional contributions up to $500. Thus, at a minimum, the Arts Council will have $1,000 to distribute as relief grants to artists between now and January 1, 2021.
However, due to the matching challenge, DAAC could have as much as $5,000 or more to distribute during that time. We will, of course, be monitoring how this works for us and for the artists who benefit; so, even without the ongoing matching provision, if it seems to be working and there is Board of Directors approval, we may choose to continue the fund into 2021.
Artists who would like to benefit will need to be listed in our Arts Directory to qualify, and they will need to fill out an application. Then, depending on the status of the fund, two or more $100 grants will be made to those who apply each month. We will keep anonymous the names of the applicants and recipients, but we do hope that there will be affirmations of the benefits that can be made public.
If in any month there are more applicants than there are funds available, the DAAC staff will determine, based on the applications submitted, which artists will receive the available funds that month. New applications will be required each month, and recipients will be asked to refrain from applying again once they have received one relief grant.
In order to ensure the funds are directed to the Artist Relief Fund, we ask that patrons make that clear in the memo section on checks or in communication with us. Any checks or other investments made without that communication will be assumed to be intended for the Doña Ana Arts Council general operating funds.
We extend our sincere gratitude to the original patron donor, and we hope others will be similarly inspired.