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 newly formed 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 and support from Arundel Cellars & Brewing Company.
To be approved for assistance, individuals must meet three key criteria.
1. Demonstrate that they are a creative or cultural professional
2. Demonstrate that they have experienced a disruption to their income stream
3. Demonstrate a need for assistance
Award amounts range from $150 to assist with groceries to $500 to assist with rent.
If you are a creative or cultural professional in the Erie region who is in need of assistance, please complete the form below.
The first grant cycle closed on 3/20/2020. Erie Arts & Culture's review panel received 77 applications requesting support. 45 applicants were awarded funds totaling $13,200.
The second grant cycle closed on 3/31/2020. Erie Arts & Culture's review panel received 96 applications requesting support. 49 applicants were awarded funds totaling $14,000.
A third round of funding is on hold as we wait to see how unemployment benefits are extended to independent workers and the self employed.
Programs like the Emergency Financial Assistance Fund are only made possible as a result of generous donations from Erie Arts & Culture's benefactors. If you would like to make a contribution to the fund, you can mail a check to:
Erie Arts & Culture
23 West 10th Street, Suite 2
Erie, PA 16501
In the memo line, please state "Emergency Financial Assistance Fund"
Or, you can make a contribution online through our donation platform.