Today is Support Women Artists Now Day/SWAN Day 2020, and although we can’t meet in person this year, I hope you will take time to contact your favorite women artists and show them how much you appreciate them. Call them up, send them a card, or give them a gift. We need to do everything we can to help each other through this crisis, and there is tremendous power in these simple acts of kindness.
I know that these are challenging times for many of you who have lost your jobs and opportunities to do your art. My heart is with you, and I hope that all of us will find ways to piece our lives back together.
I truly believe that artists have skills that will be essential to the world’s recovery from this crisis. First of all, we have a lot of imagination. We are accustomed to creating a world on a bare stage or a blank piece of canvas. Even when material resources are scarce as they are now, we know how to work with text or movement or color or sound to make something beautiful.
Second, when facing tough times, most people turn to the arts. They listen to music, go to movies, or watch their favorite late-night comedians. During this crisis and afterwards, artists will be there to comfort, heal, and inspire us.
Finally, since most of us are constantly struggling with sexism, racism, and other forms of discrimination, we are acutely aware of the inequalities in our society. In the tumultuous days ahead, as we watch the impact of the virus on the physical and financial health of our communities, I hope we will all find the courage to speak our truths to power. The lockdowns have shown us how quickly people will change if we can convince them that the changes are necessary.
The road forward may be rocky, but even under these difficult circumstances, I know that women artists will find ways to share our creativity with the world. We will get through this crisis, and we will discover new friends and build new alliances in the process. In the meantime, I wish all of you a happy SWAN Day and strength for the days ahead.
Sending you love and big SWAN hugs from Berkeley, California,
Martha Richards, Executive Director, WomenArts
P.S. Be sure to check out the StateraArts Virtual SWAN Day Party on Facebook on Saturday, March 28, 2020 from 10 AM – 10 PM MDT.
Need Emergency Funds Due to Covid-19?
In response to the Covid-19 crisis, a number of arts groups have set up web pages that list foundations and other resources for artists who need emergency assistance. One of the biggest ones for freelance artists is Covid 19 and Freelance Artists. There are also many resources for independent artists on the website of Creative Capital. At this point, if you Google “Artist Emergency Covid-19”, you will get quite a few listings.
When you are contacting these foundations, please be sure to read their guidelines before you call and limit your calls to organizations that give to people in your art form and your geographic region.
Sign the Petition to Include Artists in Covid-19 Relief Programs!
Most foundations are quickly becoming overwhelmed with funding requests, and it is not realistic to think that private foundations can respond to a crisis of this magnitude. Congress just passed a $2 trillion relief package. We need to be sure that freelance artists and small non-profit arts organizations are included in every government relief package.
The Performing Arts Alliance has set up an online petition asking Congress to include independent artists, self-employed artists, and the non-profit sector in the Covid-19 relief packages. Legislators need to hear from as many people in the arts community as possible. Please take a moment to sign and send this petition.