In times like these, we often turn to the work of those in creative fields to lift our spirits. The Wichita Creatives Emergency Relief Fund was created to give back to those artists.
Thanks to a group of local professionals, including three Shockers, Sedgwick County creatives financially impacted by the pandemic can now apply for emergency relief.
Wichita has seen a blossoming and thriving art scene thanks to artists in our community. There are more sculptures, murals, galleries, film showings, performances and creative classes than ever before.
Stemming from a concern for the well-being of these local creatives – specifically, independent artists, musicians, performers and others who work in a creative capacity — the emergency relief fund will provide $500 grants to those dealing with lost wages.
“The Wichita Creatives Emergency Relief Fund was established so that the community can show their support and help preserve our local culture,” said Kristin Beal, co-organizer of the fund and a gallery manager and placemaking coordinator for Wichita State University.
So far, the Wichita community has raised $45,200 for the emergency relief fund and helped 45 creatives. The fund launched with a $25,000 donation from the COVID-19 Connection Fund at the Wichita Community Foundation with support from the Knight Foundation. Rodney Miller, dean of the Wichita State University College of Fine Arts, is president of the Arts Council, which is also serving as fiscal sponsor of the fund and contributed $10,000.
With help from these sponsors, as well as KMUW, Fidelity Bank and individual donations, the Wichita Creatives Emergency Relief Fund will be able to help the local artists who need it most.
Local artists affected by this pandemic, including WSU students, are encouraged to apply but must meet the eligibility requirements below to be considered.
All applicants must live in Sedgwick County or contribute to the Sedgwick County art community.
All applicants must be at least 18 years old.
All applicants must work in at least one of the following disciplines: music, literature, dance, visual art, craft, theater, graphic design, or media (filmmaking, new media and technology as visual art form).
All applicants must be able to produce documentation or verify their work in the non-commercial arts sector. All applicants must also upload a completed W-9 form as part of their application.
In order to serve as many artists as possible, applications are limited to one per person during the first round of funding, and individuals with the greatest current need will have priority. While funding remains, applications will be due by midnight on Wednesdays, reviewed Thursdays, and artists will receive notification on Fridays.
Our community needs artists right now to show us beauty and make us laugh, to make us think and feel compassion, to let us escape the world — at least for a little while.
“Local creatives give so much of themselves to Wichita," Beal said. "We need to show them that we see them and we appreciate them and their efforts."
In order to help as many creatives as possible, all donations are welcome. No amount is insignificant.