Emergency Flood Relief Rushes In to Tide Over Vermont’s Artists
While the summer’s historic floods wrecked havoc with a number of Vermont’s arts and cultural organizations, plenty of artists’ livelihoods were among the casualties when basements, studios, and performance spaces flooded. Fortunately, the Arts Council was able to spring into action with emergency relief funding through its Artist Development Grant program.
Thanks to the generosity of private donors, with additional partnership from Burlington City Arts, grants of up to $3,000 were made available to cover damaged tools, materials, and/or equipment related to their art practice or artistic business; lost revenue due to canceled shows, events, exhibitions, road closures, or vehicle damage; and damage to studio space requiring repairs.
In the first round of funding, the Council was able to offer at least partial funding to all 21 eligible applicants, a total of $35,259 in grants.
Additional private donations made in early August allowed the program to re-open for a second round. All 11 eligible applicants in that round received at least partial funding totaling $18,341.
With the funding, a special grant of $5,000 was awarded to Clemmons Family Farm to distribute funding directly to impacted artists in its Vermont African American/African Diaspora Artists Network. The support is an integral piece of the Council’s funding focus on Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access, and helps to ensure that emergency funds reach the historically under-resourced artists who most need it.
According to data collected from our Artist Flood Relief Questionnaire, as of Sept. 18, 24 Vermont artists have indicated unmet need totaling more than $60,000. If you are an artist and would like to apply for Flood Relief Grant funding if it becomes available, please complete the brief questionnaire to help us continue to assess unmet need.
The flood relief grant is currently closed as the amount of funding available for the program has been exceeded. The program may re-open should additional funding be secured.
The Council continues to fundraise for direct artist relief to meet both the urgent and long-term needs of Vermont’s arts and culture sector, which was devastated both by the pandemic and then by the flooding, and community partners are stepping in to help. In addition to generous individual support, artists across the state are coming together to support other artists in meaningful ways.
On Sept. 17, musicians Zoë Keating, Ray Vega, Champlain Trio, Matthew Evan Taylor, the All Night Boogie Band, and more joined forces for “A Joyful Noise” flood benefit concert at the University of Vermont’s Recital Hall to raise funds for Vermont’s cultural sector creatives affected by the flooding. All proceeds –more than $7,500 — will benefit the Vermont Arts Council’s flood relief grant program for artists. The event was made possible in partnership with the UVM School of the Arts, Vermont Symphony Orchestra, and the UVM Lane Series.
Central Vermont Chamber Music Festival is donating half their ticket sales from this year’s Festival to the Council’s flood relief grant program for artists. For 31 years, the Festival has been in residence at Chandler Center for the Arts in Randolph for two weeks during the month of August. After seeing this summer’s devastation throughout the region, the Festival generously chose to support flood relief to artists.
If you would like to donate to help support artist flood relief, please click here.
While the flood relief grants are currently not open, the Council’s Artist Development Grant program is accepting applications. Artist Development Grants support artists at all stages of their careers. Grants can fund activities that enhance mastery of an artist’s craft or skills or that increase the viability of an artist’s business. Funding may also support aspects of the creation of new work when the activity allows the grantee to accept a rare and important opportunity. Deadlines are Sept. 26, 2023, and Jan. 14, 2024.
For more information about the flood relief grant program, visit www.vermontartscouncil.org/artistfloodrelief.