What would New York City be without the arts? From impromptu “showtimes” during our commutes to the glamour of Broadway — creativity runs through the arteries of the city that never sleeps. Whether New York natives or transplants, we have the unique privilege of having some of the most talented artists as neighbors.
If you’re not an artist or performer, you probably know one who likely has plenty of other jobs as a freelancer. After rehearsal, dancers become fitness instructors. Between auditions, actors wait tables or tend bar at your favorite hangouts. Visual artists guide novices through sip-and-paint classes. Some artists may even help nanny our children.
Unfortunately, many in the arts industry — who are also part of the “gig economy” — have been hit hard by the preventative measures taken to combat COVID-19. They have lost significant income, as their events are canceled or postponed indefinitely. Many freelancers and self-employed workers in the gig economy do not qualify for unemployment benefits.
In this time of crisis, we’ve compiled a list of emergency resources for artists, freelancers and creatives. Please share this post with those who are in need at this time. And thanks for adding any useful tips or resources in the comments.
[For more resources, check out this exhaustive economic guide put together by our colleagues at “Chasing the Dream.”]
- The Actors Fund
- Foundation for Contemporary Arts
- New York Foundation for the Arts
- Trickle Up (donations accepted)
Filing for unemployment on New York State Labor Department’s website right now is so cumbersome, and the system so overloaded that Governor Cuomo said “the IT consultants can’t even figure out how to handle the volume.” Robert Griswold, laid off from a dog daycare business, has generously shared important tips and hacks to file online for unemployment in The Queens Daily Eagle, including what browser to use.
- COVID-19 & Freelance Artists Resources
- Freelancers Union
- NYC Freelance Isn’t Free Act (NYC.gov site)
Health and Mental Health
- NYC Well
- The Friedman Health Center for the Performing Arts
- Online Sobriety Resources: Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Al-Anon
- National Domestic Violence Hotline
Surveys on Impact
Nonprofits and city agencies are gauging the needs of communities right now through the use of surveys. If we’ve missed any related to the arts, please share in the comments.
- NYC Office of Nightlight Survey for workers, performers, independent contractors and business owners in New York City nightlife, including bars, live music venues, nightclubs, lounges, restaurants, and other social and cultural spaces. Submit by 5 p.m. on April 3.
- Alliance of Resident Theaters, Theater Artist Survey for non-profit theatre companies, fiscally sponsored projects, independent producers.