Emergency Financial Assistance Fund



Application opens: July 1, 2021

Application closes: July 21, 2021

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Pursuing a career in the creative or cultural sector can be fraught with challenges. It's not uncommon for individuals emerging in their careers to live from paycheck to paycheck, making it difficult to establish any type of substantial financial safety net. Those who operate in the gig economy aren't guaranteed the comfort of a steady paycheck, which means their monthly income often fluctuates. These conditions can make it extremely hard for individuals in the sector to be adequately prepared when an emergency strikes. 

Through Erie Arts & Culture's Emergency Financial Assistance Fund, creative and cultural professionals, which includes artists of all disciplines, who have experienced a disruption to their income stream can request up to $500 in assistance from Erie Arts & Culture. Awarded funds can be used to assist with basic living expenses, such as housing, utilities, or groceries. The objective is to provide financial support in moments of crisis to those in the sector who are experiencing financial hardship. This fund is made possible through generous donor contributions to the Erie Arts Endowment.




Awards ranging from a minimum of $150 to a maximum of $500 are available to qualified applicants on a monthly basis. Awards are distributed by check during the last week of the month.


The emergency fund is reserved for creatives and cultural professionals working in all disciplines, who have experienced a disruption to their income stream. To be approved for assistance, individuals must meet four key criteria:

  1. You’re are a creative or cultural professional
  2. You have experienced a disruption to your income stream
  3. You have a need for assistance
  4. You live or work in Erie County

Once approved, in order to process your payment, you will be required to fill out a W-9 form.

At this time, funding is focused on loss related to:

  • Personal illness or illness of a dependent
  • Cancelled events or exhibitions
  • Loss of revenue due to shut-down orders or capacity limits
  • Travel restrictions
  • Furloughs
  • Theft, fire, flood, accident, or other unforeseen circumstances that impact the ability to create work

Funding may be used for the following:

  • Basic Housing and utility expenses
  • Groceries
  • Childcare expenses
  • Medical expenses

Funding is not available for the following:

  • Capital improvements
  • Project or programming expenses
  • Professional development or membership dues
  • Purchasing equipment or supplies
  • Studio related expenses


An applicant must meet eligibility requirements and submit a completed application with all supporting documents as outlined below in the Application Checklist. The decision shall be based on the severity of the disruption to your income stream. Erie Arts & Council and the Grantmaking Committee have identified the following as critical circumstances, listed in no particular order, that help the committee to prioritize applications:  

  • Single-parent/guardian households
  • Individuals who are caretakers of family members
  • Individuals who have historically been oppressed by systems of inequity
  • Teaching artists
  • Individuals whose creative or cultural practice is the sole income stream for the household
  • Individuals who do not qualify for federal, state, or local assistance programs

Erie Arts & Culture continues to support diverse and under-resourced populations, with an emphasis on inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility. This fund does not discriminate against applicants based on gender identity, race, religion, color, age, national origin, disability or sexual orientation. For more information please visit the Cultural Equity Commitment statement


  • Reviewed the Guidelines
  • Completed Required Application
  • Attached Artist CV
  • Documentation of your work; links to your Erie Arts & Culture Artist Registry profile, website, and/or social media.

Apply using Submittable here

Erie Arts & Culture

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