Community Foundation Of Greater Fort Wayne and Arts United Jointly Announce The Fort Wayne Artist Relief Fund

Posted: April 28th 2020

FORT WAYNE, IN – The Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne and Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne have announced an Artist Relief Fund to help individual artists who have lost work and income due to COVID-19.

Eligible individuals include:

  • Self-employed artists of all disciplines
  • Artists contracted by arts and culture nonprofit organizations
  • Employees who have been laid off or furloughed by a nonprofit arts and culture organization or venues

The Artist Relief Fund will provide grants of $500 to individuals to support urgent basic needs such as food, shelter, caretaking, and healthcare. The program will offer additional resources and support to grant applicants including information about how self-employed individuals can apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance through the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and seek additional community support.  

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development began accepting applications for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance on Friday, April 24, 2020 for individuals who do not traditionally qualify for unemployment benefits, such as self-employed and contracted artists.

“The Artist Relief Fund is designed to be a gap-filler. We know that it will take time for these individuals to navigate a new system and qualify for assistance. This grant will help them pay the bills in the interim,” said Brad Little, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne.

Self-employed and contracted artists began to lose work in mid-March when social distancing guidelines were enforced and Governor Eric Holcomb issued the stay-at-home order.

 About 56 percent of Northeast Indiana’s workers in creative occupations are fully or partially self-employed, according to research compiled by Arts United, Indiana Arts Commission, and the Purdue Fort Wayne Community Research Institute in 2016. In total, Northeast Indiana’s creative workforce – including individuals who are employed by creative businesses and nonprofits as well as self-employed creative entrepreneurs – totals 18,500 jobs.

“Many musicians, visual artists, actors, filmmakers, photographers, and dancers work and teach among gatherings of people and are an active part of the gig economy. Their work is at the heart of our community’s vibrant quality of life, which is a major reason why so many Fort Wayne residents choose to live, work, and play here. The Artist Relief Fund will provide support to some of the individuals who are experiencing the most severe financial and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Susan Mendenhall, President of Arts United.

The Artist Relief Fund will accept grant applications on a weekly basis throughout the month of May 2020, beginning Tuesday, April 28, 2020. Grant applications received by Friday at 4:00pm will be reviewed the following Monday. Individuals who are selected for a grant will receive funds by the following Thursday.

The Artist Relief Fund is made possible by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. More information about the Artist Relief Fund and a link to the online grant application can be found at and or


About the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne

For nearly 100 years, the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne has been a public charitable foundation serving Allen County since 1922. The Community Foundation had assets of approximately $169 million at December 31, 2019 and awarded more than $6 million in charitable grants and scholarships in that year. The Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne does three things: help people make their charitable giving more impactful, connect funding to nonprofits through effective grantmaking, and provide leadership to address community needs to improve quality of life. Every day we connect people and resources to build a more vibrant community.

About Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne

Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne, Inc. is a nonprofit united arts fund and local arts agency that serves the communities of northeast Indiana by fueling the momentum of more than 70 arts, culture, and quality of life initiatives each year. For more information visit

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