Emergency Grants

From 2005–2019, the Foundation provided emergency support to U.S.-based visual artists who suffered significant material losses after natural or man-made disasters, to help them get back to their practices.

Artist Wojciech Gilewicz carrying a large abstract painting
Wojciech Gilewicz, 2012 Emergency Grant Recipient, © Reginald Eldridge, Jr.

Recognizing the financial impact one disaster could have on an artist’s work and the lack of a professional safety net for artists, the Foundation made an early and ongoing commitment to emergency funding, offering Emergency Grants to individual artists from 2005-2019. These grants of up to $6,000 helped more than 300 artists recover material losses and get back to their artistic practices. See below for an overview of the development and impact of this program.

To deepen our investment in unrestricted funding for artists through a multi-year fellowship model, the Foundation concluded the Emergency Grants program at the end of 2020. No further applications will be accepted.

Emergency Resources for Artists:
We maintain a list of general Emergency Grant Resources that may address your needs below, and recommend Americans for the Arts Coronavirus Resource and Response Center for a list of other current resources.

Emergency Grants: History & Impact

In 2001, the Foundation first stepped forward to provide financial support to New York artists who suffered studio losses from the September 11 attacks, recognizing the devastating effect this event could have on the artists' careers. In 2005, in response to Hurricane Katrina, the Foundation again stepped forward to provide emergency funds to New Orleans-based visual artists. At this time, the Foundation formally established Emergency Grants as an ongoing program that would provide direct financial support to artists re-establishing their practices after a disaster.

Between 2005 and 2019, more than 300 artists received up to $6,000 in funds from the Foundation to recover material losses from floods, fires, hurricanes, and other natural and man-made disasters. In tandem with this funding, the Foundation has advocated for the importance of emergency preparedness and an artist safety net; and has been active on the steering committee of the National Coalition for Arts Preparedness and Emergency Response since its founding in 2006.

In 2020, the Foundation reallocated and increased the 2020 Emergency Grants budget in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. By year’s end, we had provided over $1 million in relief funding to Foundation-affiliated artists and to coalition efforts: Artist Relief, a national COVID-19 response fund for artists in all disciplines, and Creative Response, a New Orleans-based relief effort. By pooling resources with other funders, we ensured maximum impact for the funds available to support artists through the pandemic crisis.

In February 2021, the Foundation announced that it would sunset the Emergency Grants program to more fully dedicate resources to a new multi-year fellowship model. Designed to address the underlying conditions that contribute to financial vulnerability in our field by making a longer and more stable commitment to as many artists as possible, the new Fellowship model is the next step in our commitment to artist sustainability.

Although the Foundation no longer offers individual Emergency Grants, we will remain in close contact with peers in the field—as the pandemic continues to unfold, and beyond the current crisis—and remain responsive to large-scale emergencies affecting the artist community.

National Coalition for Arts Preparedness and Emergency Response (NCAPER)

Joan Mitchell Foundation currently serves on the steering committee for the National Coalition for Arts Preparedness and Emergency Response (NCAPER). This voluntary task force of national, regional, state, and local arts organizations, public agencies, and foundations works to build the stability and resilience of the arts sector in a coordinated way through the development of resources, education, and advocacy.