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Grass Valley, CA, December 22, 2020 – As 2020 draws to a close Nevada County Arts Council is inviting professional artists whose livelihoods have been impacted by the COVID-19 public health crisis, to apply for relief funding.

Eliza Tudor, Executive Director at the Council, says: “We are grateful that, with the support of our coalition of local arts organizations, we have now reached a critical sum from which to launch the application phase of the Nevada County Artist Relief Fund, and we invite artists in all disciplines to apply for a micro-grant.”

Nevada County Artist Relief fund will disperse $500 per successful applicant, with artists meeting criteria in order to apply. They must reside in Nevada County, be over 21 years of age, work professionally or vocationally in the arts, and have experienced a loss of income due to COVID-19, whether by cancelled performances, exhibitions, programs, classes, or organizational closures, or loss of non-arts supplemental income or jobs. Tudor says: “Priority will be given to artists whose livelihoods are dependent on a fractured local creative sector.”

Jesse Locks, who serves Nevada County Arts Council’s board of directors, says: “We are grateful to the many contributors to our fund, as well as to those artists who supported the summer festival which launched our fund, ‘WHAT A RELIEF!’ As we turn the corner on a year of loss and devastation, we know our journey to recovery will be a long and winding road. But it’s in sight, and Nevada County Artist Relief Fund is one of several initiatives aimed at supporting our creative economy.”

In addition to its Artist Relief Fund, Nevada County Arts Council is simultaneously running two other initiatives, both connected with its work in support of Nevada County’s two California Cultural Districts during the pandemic. Shopping with Artists is a local, online shopping experience designed for a holiday season like none other, at the same time as supporting local professional artists. Artists in Storefronts is a revitalization project bringing to life six otherwise vacant storefronts with the work of eleven artists. Says Tudor: “The resounding message these inspiring installations share is, ‘Grass Valley-Nevada City Cultural District is alive and well – our downtown spaces are beautiful, innovative and industrious.’”

The coronavirus has had a devastating impact on America’s arts sector. According to the latest estimates from Americans for the Arts, the total economic impact to date of COVID-19 on the creative economy nationwide is $14.6 billion, with 96% of arts organizations reporting canceled events, 62,359 reporting staff lay-offs, with a further 49,559 in furloughs. Yet 89% of the same organizations have been delivering artistic content in order to raise community spirits and morale during the pandemic, and a third volunteering their time to coronavirus mitigation efforts. Tudor says the Nevada County creative sector is reflective of the national picture, with struggling arts organizations “continuing to operate, despite unbelievable pressures, for the benefit of our community during dark times.”

“It speaks reams that our longest standing arts organizations – themselves battling to survive and thrive – are so supportive of our artists,” says Jon Blinder, Board President at Nevada County Arts Council. “It points to the healthy respect of one part of our sector for another, and the knowledge we all share that the arts have a critical role to play in driving our economy beyond COVID-19. What’s good for the arts is good for us all!”

Artists who wish to apply for micro-grants can do so by visiting Nevada County Arts Council’s Artist Relief Fund page at https://www.nevadacountyarts.org/artist-relief-fund where guidelines and eligibility criteria are outlined, and where a link to apply can be found. The deadline to apply is Friday, January 15, and the fund will support up to thirty micro-grants for its first round.