Artists impacted by the COVID-19 crisis can soon apply for grants from a new fund established in response to the pandemic and its economic fall-out.

The City of Santa Fe announced today that its Arts and Culture Department has partnered with the Lannan Foundation to spearhead the Culture Connects Coalition Artist Relief Fund, beginning with a $10,000 seed grant from Lannan. A $15,000 Challenge Grant was also announced.

Grants will be available in denominations of $500 to $1,000 for artists affected by the pandemic, and the applications process—expected to open in April alongside more information—will reportedly be less stringent than with traditional grants.

"The Culture Connects Coalition fund's first initiative is a response to the
current COVID-19 public health pandemic and the subsequent suspension
of events in our community," the news release reads. "The impact of these suspensions will have a ripple effect throughout our artistic community, adversely impacting artists, their families and the greater community…our goal is to support as many Santa Fe artists as possible."

Former Meow Wolf CEO Vince Kadlubek has already committed $5,000.

"This is a tremendously tough moment and my heart is truly with everyone struggling with this new reality," Kadlubek said in a statement. "Independent artists in Santa Fe are in an especially difficult situation, as independent contractors are already feeling a massive impact from economic impact. We all need to do our part to lift each other up in this moment."

Newly appointed Arts Commissioner Tamara Bates, Culture Connects Chair JoAnn Balzer, Bob Balzer, along with art fans Susan and Steven Goldstein also have made donations.

Arts and Culture Department Director Pauline Kamiyama says the next step is more fundraising.

"I need help in getting donations for our artist community," Kamiyama tells SFR. "The focus is artist relief and I'll figure out how to raise funds for the Culture Connects Coalition for art for art sake and social justice later…now the focus is assisting our community during this financial hardship to come."

An ongoing initiative from the Arts and Culture Department, Culture Connects was shaped through a series of interactive events with citizens, artists, policymakers etc. The department has referred to it as a "roadmap" to realizing its vision.

SFR will update this story with new information as it becomes available.

To make a contribution to the new fund and pledge your support, email pkkamiyama@santafenm.gov; or call 505.955.6653.