The Safety Net of Bay Area Artists
Artists in the Bay Area tend to have two or three jobs. Some are serving our food, mixing our drinks, painting our houses, planning our parties, driving our Lyfts, & even writing our stories. Most artists do those part-time jobs so they can pursue their passions of creating things, for you and me to enjoy.
The shutdown has taken away the incomes of millions of people, but while salaried workers could at least apply for Unemployment, or small business loans, the ‘gig workers’ were left to fend for themselves. The ‘self-employed’ artists did not qualify for unemployment benefits. And while their restaurants jobs shutdown, their shows got cancelled, and their government ignored them, many Bay Area artists had just one Safety Net to fall back on, and for many this safety net made a crucial difference.
“Safety Net Fund provides $500 grants to any Bay Area artist who’s experienced income disruption due to shelter restrictions,” says Danny Friday, of Safety Net Fund, “over the last 2 months, this partnership has enabled over 700 grants to be distributed in our community, allowing artists to keep the lights on and become emboldened to make more art.”
Original SNF Founder Scarlet Masius on why the program was started, “We started the Safety Net Fund when artists around us started to lose gigs left and right. Entire months of bookings were cancelled. Artists give meaning to our lives and bring us joy — it’s more important than ever to support them right now.”
Safety Net Fund Co-Founder Josh Goldbard tells us, “we started writing checks to artists within one week of booting up the fund. We have learned that the best response to a crisis is to put money into the hands of the most grievously impacted communities as quickly as possible. These $500 checks go to artists who expect to make less than $1000 in the next 30 days and who can prove they have made public art in the last 6 months.”
Thanks to community donations, and creative fundraising projects from Bay Area artists like @Fnnch, and support from Intersection for the Arts, the Safety Net Fund supported hundreds of artists who had no where else to turn during COVID. Here are just a few testimonials from Bay Area artists:
“My Art Grant through Safety Net Fund came through today ❤ I can hold onto my studio for another month. if you can donate to their Org it supports artists directly through Intersection for the Arts. Being able to safely and responsibly continue to produce and develop work through this crisis is integral to my mental and physical well being. Thank you from the bottom of this broken heart..”
A short video (1:17) of me in my studio.
Posted by Catherine Mackey Studios on Monday, March 30, 2020
“Thank you for my grant of $500. It has helped me to pay for May’s rent on my art studio, which in turn allows me to work freely (and safely) for another month while applying for more grants and trying to sell artwork.”
“My industry was shut down even before the shutdown, and my community, always precarious, felt the pain immediately. Safety Net was on it: the application was simple and the result came fast. I had not yet been able to figure out alternate sources of income, but I had money for groceries and the reassurance that there are people out there who care and can make things happen. Thank you, Safety Net Fund!”
“I’m so grateful to the Safety Net Team for their incredible support of artists at this time. This is such a tremendous help at a time when so much feels uncertain. Thanks to this wonderful grant I now will better be able to cover necessary living expenses at a time when so much of my work and income as an artist and filmmaker has been put on hold. Thank you for the light you are bringing to the creative community at this time!”
Safety Net Fund is helping artists in real time, giving real people, real money, today. And the project isn’t just for the short term, the grander vision is to put artists to work on large, amazing projects, that will stand the test of time.” Co-Founder Josh Goldbard tells us, “The Safety Net Fund is designed as a stopgap measure to help stabilize artists in the wake of COVID-19. Once artists are stabilized, we want to put them to work helping to reshape our public imagination towards rejuvenation.”
An example of a public arts project unfolding right now in San Francisco is ‘Paint the Void’. Created by arts organizations Building 180 and Art for Civil Discourse, who are reaching out to SF businesses and SF artists to turn our boarded up storefronts, into art.
“Paint the Void is an excellent example of putting artists to work,” says Josh, “Overall, we seek to work in concert with our local government to recreate a community-scale version of the Federal Arts Project, the part of the new deal that helped launch artists like Jackson Pollack and Willem De Kooning.”
It’s #GivingTuesday, and the fund is looking for individuals, companies and organizations who love art and want to see it supported in the Bay Area. Safety Net Fund is fortunate to be fiscally sponsored by Intersection for the Arts, a nonprofit that has supported local artists since 1965 with financial resources and opportunities. Give to Safety Net Fund today, and watch our artists and performers continue to create.
Safety Net fund info and donation page
Safety Net Fund Facebook
Safety Net Fund Insgtagram
We asked Josh what their current fundraising goal is for Giving Tuesday, he told us, “we need $500,000 to fulfill the set of artists who are approved for grants right now. We want to raise enough money to take care of these artists and then we want to set our sights on rejuvenating our community with larger public works projects.”