COVID-19 Resources for Artists & Theaters

Below is a state by state listing of available assistance for artists in the theater community around the country. This website is not responsible for any errors or omissions in the content on any Covid-19 related pages. These resources are provided free of charge and are for information only. These programs are for employees of theaters or freelancers (private contractors or 1099’s)

Some programs which are listed first are nationally available (scroll down for state by state listing):

Google Play Store Logo -You can also download our Android app for COVID information and updates on the go- (search for “Fourth Wall Jobs”)

Unemployment – UPDATED 4/23/20 – – Congress has come to an agreement for another round of PPP funding. In the next 48 they intend to vote and fund the new round of PPP.

Yes, you as a freelance theater artist, or tech or admin, etc CAN get unemployment EVEN IF you are not an employee of a theater. This includes, freelance and over-hire workers.

In the C.A.R.E.S. Act, passed by congress in late March, they authorized a federal program available in EVERY state that will provide $600 per week for up to 13 weeks to ANY and ALL freelancers, 1099 private contractors AND/OR employees regardless of where they work (worked), provided they have applicable earnings via 1099 or W2 in the eligibility period. This amount is IN ADDITION to any state unemployment money that you might be eligible for. If you work at a theater as a W2 employee, then you are eligible for both the $600 and what the state offers.

If you just work gigs under as a freelancer under a 1099, then you get the $600 (see above for conditions). As of April 16th, 29 states are distributing the additional $600 with more coming online in the coming weeks. They WILL give you the $600 retroactive to March 29th.

The catch about being a freelance 1099 contractor and being eligible only for the $600 is that you might have to wait a few weeks to file for this benefit if your state is not yet participating.

As April 23rd, 8 states or more have their systems updated to allow private contractors to file. Those states are New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, Michigan , Pennsylvania, Texas, Rhode Island and Louisiana. Indiana and North Carolina will start accepting PUA applications on Friday April 24th. All other states will join allowing you to file in the coming weeks.


Actors Fund – Programs and aid for ANYONE in the theater, anywhere in the country. Actors, technicians, front office staff, ushers, musicians, etc.

Paycheck Protection Program – A program run by the US Government to which anyone, anywhere can apply who owns a business OR gets paid on 1099’s (private contractors).

Dramatists Guild Foundation – provides emergency financial assistance to individual playwrights, composers, lyricists, and librettist.

National Endowment for the Arts – will award funds to nonprofit arts organizations across the country to help these entities and their employees endure the economic hardships caused by the forced closure of their operations due to the spread of COVID-19

American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA) – AGVA offers its current and previous members emergency aid through the AGVA Sick & Relief Fund.

Dancers’ Resource – The Dancers’ Resource support includes counseling, healthcare referrals, educational seminars, emergency financial assistance, and more.

Artist + Activist Relief Fund – This fund will support artists and activists whose work has been impacted by COVID-19. Currently not accepting new applications; artists may join a waiting list should more funds become available. 

Artist Relief – Artist Relief will distribute $5,000 grants to artists.

Artist Relief Project – Anyone pursuing the arts as a career can request financial support from the Artist Relief Project.

Artist Relief Tree – A relief fund for artists affected by cancellations due to COVID-19. Disbursements are currently on hold while the organization seeks more funds, but you may join a waitlist.

Arts and Culture Leaders of Color Emergency Fund -for those who self-identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and have been directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Behind the Scenes Grant – Will accept applications from anyone who has been hospitalized with Covid-19 and is in financial need. Performing artists are not eligible.

The Creator Fund – Providing financial assistance to active creators who are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. If you have medical, childcare, housing, or grocery needs, please apply for assistance.

Dietl Art Handlers Assistance – Due to COVID-19 many art technicians are unemployed and in need of financial support.

Field of Vision and Topic Studio Documentary Freelancer Relief Fund – provides grants for freelancers working in the Documentary field. Applications currently closed; will reopen in May.

Freelancer COVID-19 Emergency Fund – for creative freelancers who have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 virus. Currently closed, but policies will be reviewed and updated regularly.

Freelancers Union Freelancers Relief Fund – will offer financial assistance of up to $1,000 per freelance household to cover lost income and essential expenses not covered by government relief programs.

Idea Awards COVID-19 Response Grant Lottery – grant for a playwright, composer, lyricist, or librettist that was cancelled, closed, or indefinitely postponed due to the COVID-19 closures.

I Lost My Theatre Gigs – Individuals who have lost their gigs can share their stories on this website so they can be matched with donors. All professionals seeking help are verified by the organizers of the initiative.

ILYSM 4 Artists – will be giving a weekly $500 grant to an artist with financial need whose main source of income has been affected by COVID-19 shutdowns.

Kinkade Family Foundation Emergency Grant for Curators – The program will provide one (1) one-time grant of up to $5,000 for unexpected emergencies related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

leveler: peer to peer wealth distribution – is a tool for people with job security to help people whose work status has been impacted by COVID-19. The list includes freelancers, service industry, and gig economy workers.

The Maurice Sendak Emergency Relief Fund – will distribute grants to artists who have experienced financial hardship from loss of income as a direct result of the crisis. The program is open to children’s picture book artists and writers.

The Photographer Fund – A $25,000 fund to help photographers impacted by COVID-19.

Queer Writers of Color Relief Fund – is to help queer writers of color who have been financially impacted by the current COVID-19. Priority will be given to queer trans women of color and queer disabled writers of color.

Recording Academy and MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund – an established the COVID-19 Relief Fund to help their peers in the music community affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.

TrickleUp  A network that can give $10,000 to 10 different artists affected by the Covid-19 cancellations. Every month 10 new artists in need will get $10,000.

Twenty Summers Emergency Arts Fund – An Emergency Arts Fund for artists (up to $500) and arts organizations (up to $1k) suffering from unexpected financial loss as a result of the Coronavirus.

Episcopal Actors Guild of America – offers grants for financial need,to  professional performing artists who are pursuing an established and ongoing career in the performing arts.

Renaissance Entertainers, Services, and Crafters United Foundation (RESCU) – was established to promote and maintain the health and medical well-being of the participants of Renaissance Fairs, historical performances and other artistic events.

State by State

Click on your state below:

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COVID-19 Assistance for artists