Arts & Entertainment » Art

$30K raised for artists of color, grant application period opens


The WOC Art Collaborative’s ambitious 24-hour online fundraiser last week surpassed its goal, taking in more than $30,000 in donations, according to organizers.

COVID-19 LIVE ROC, which featured performances by dozens of local creatives, had aimed to raise $20,000 to fund emergency grants for artists of color working in the gig economy whose pocketbooks have been hit hard by the pandemic. Organizers said the take included $15,000 from 176 donors and $15,000 in matching funds pledged by the Ryan Memorial Foundation.

The grant application process is now open through Thursday, April 23, at 11:59 p.m. Grant amounts will range from $250 to $1,000, depending on the number of qualified applications received. All of the money raised will be distributed, organizers said.

To qualify for a grant, applicants must be BIPOC (black or indigenous person of color — of African, Latin, Asian, Middle Eastern, Native American, or Pacific Islander descent) living in Rochester and whose primary income comes from the gig economy. Qualified applicants are further defined as people connected with the artistic, entertainment, or creative industries, who have experienced a significant loss of income or ability to produce work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. A more specific definition is included in the grant application.

Grant recipients will be chosen by a panel that includes members of Akwaaba Heritage Associates, AKOMA African American Women’s Gospel Choir, and WOC Art Collaborative. Organizers plan to distribute funds on May 1.