Arts Sector Emergency Resources

Emergency Financial Assistance

Selected national programs offering financial assistance to artists with emergencies.

Visual Artists

Emergency grants, loans, and other assistance to professional artists working in craft disciplines who have had a career-threatening emergency.. Guidelines and application are online.
The Foundation aids and assists painters and sculptors, and provides targeted relief to those affected by a natural or man-made disaster.

Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation
For visual artists working in the disciplines of painting, sculpture, or printmaking. Artists must demonstrate a minimum involvement of ten years in a mature phase of their work. Assistance is for a specific emergency, not a chronic condition, projects, or situations resulting from indebtedness or lack of employment.
Pollock-Krasner Foundation
For painters, artists and sculptors who work on paper, including printmakers with demonstrable financial need.


Provides assistance to musicians. Musicares has provided musical instrument replacement for many musicians affected by disasters.
Help Lines:
MusiCares West Region (Santa Monica, CA): 800-0687-4227
MusiCares South Region (Nashville, TN): 877-626-2748
MusiCares East Region (New York, NY): 877-303-6962
Emergency assistance to jazz and blues musicians

Actors, Performing Artists, Musicians, Other Artists in Entertainment Industry

The Actors Fund offers a wide variety of emergency services to artists associated with the entertainment industry. 

Eastern Region
212.221.7300 ext. 119

Central Region

Western Region
323.933.9244 ext. 55 

 Additional Sources of Emergency Funding, Regional Funds, and Disciplines not Listed Here

NYFASource Emergency Resources

A comprehensive listing of emergency and other resources for artists provided by New York Foundation for the Arts


Databases of Arts Sector Emergency Resources

  • NYFASource, based at The New York Foundation for the Arts

NYFASource is the most comprehensive national listing of emergency resources for artists. The database is also a source for information about grants, awards, and programs for all artists, regardless of medium.

The Actors Fund focuses primarily on resources that are relevant to the entertainment industry (which encompasses many disciplines including acting, literary arts, and visual arts), however their emergency listings are even more broad-based.

(Under Program, select the category of Emergency Assistance you want, and under state, select either National or your state)

National Endowment for the Arts Resources for Artists, Arts Organizations, and Audiences

While not a listing of emergency resources, it does list state arts agencies and regional arts organizations as well as other resources by discipline. During emergencies, state agencies and organizations that do not normally have emergency assistance often have special emergency resources available to artists they serve.

Artist Trust

Though a little daunting to navigate the Artist Trust listing of resources for artists including Emergency Preparedness & Assistance includes some resources you may not find elsewhere.

Emergency Relief Residencies

Alliance of Artists Communities
The Alliance works closely with CERF+ and the Joan Mitchell Foundation, both of whom have a long history of supporting artists in times of emergency and providing vital leadership to the arts community in addressing the needs of artists in emergencies.

Artist Relocation Programs

A number of cities and towns provide tax credits, loans, grants, and other financial incentives for purchase or construction of affordable artists’ housing, work or retail space  in designated districts)—programs that may be a post-disaster option.  For a listing of these communities, go to:

Legal Aid

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts
This national network has provided help in past disasters.

This article by Casey Summar of Volunteer Lawyers and Professionals for the Arts of Nashville contains a number of legal resources for artists facing an emergency.


Nationwide Organizations Offering a Range of Services to Artists in Emergencies

The Actors Fund

Social services and financial assistance primarily for performing artists, but some funds aid visual artists.
Searchable database of emergency resources throughout the U.S.

CERF+ (Craft Emergency Relief Fund+Artists’ Emergency Resources)

Emergency readiness, relief and recovery programs, financial and educational, for professional artists working in craft disciplines throughout the U.S.  Information services for artists in all disciplines affected by disasters. CERF+ created and maintains the Studio Protector Online Guide to assist all artists in preparing for and recovering from emergencies.

Also check with any discipline and geographic-specific service organizations to see if they are offering emergency services after a particular disaster.

I Was Able to Call on CERF+

Russell Karkowski talks about the importance of the arts sector in his recovery from a flood.

Disaster Aid Provided by Arts Related Organizations

By Amy Schwartzman, Consultant, National Coalition for Arts Preparedness and Emergency Response

What kinds of help can I receive through the arts sector?

CERF Staff Meets With Artists in New Orleans, 2006

Information, education, money (grants and loans), counseling (career and personal), other social services, legal aid, art-related goods (paint, instruments, etc)., temporary housing (artist communities around the country do this), artist relocation programs (tax credits and other financial incentives), and in-kind donations.

How can I find this support after a disaster?

Do now: You may not have online access after a disaster, so check out the websites in Arts Sector Emergency Resources that offer collected information on emergency resources. Make written notes, including contact information, of those that could be useful. Review these periodically. Check provider websites to confirm information. (See also organizations and institutions listed under Salvaging Damaged Artwork and Resources for Treating Damaged Paper-Based Items).

Make sure that you have an up-to-date CV or resume, as many organizations to which you apply will require you to prove your status as an artist. You may or may not need to show income from your art; you will need to show that you are a professional artist, not a hobbyist or student. Exhibitions, awards, receipt of grants are some ways to demonstrate this. Some sources may also require you to prove financial need, so make sure you can locate tax returns, bank statements, or other suitable information, as well as insurance coverage. (See Safekeeping Your Business and Artistic Records.)

If disaster strikes: Monitor all relevant information sources, including word of mouth. Some of the databases cited in the Arts Sector Emergency Resources, particularly The Actors’ Fund and NYFASource, will update data as new resources arise. Check Twitter for relevant posts, and post your needs. Also contact your local, state and regional arts councils, and local artist service organizations, to see what they are doing.

Traditional media resources may provide important information, as may art-supply stores and other places where artists gather. Disaster resource centers in your community may know of arts-specific programs.

Attend information workshops. Contact those providing programs and apply. Some will help with only art-related needs, others with any needs caused by the disaster.

If you are seeking services or in-kind donations, there will likely be no or nominal application processes. Free goods and services may be posted on online boards.

If you are seeking help from a locally-based organization, remember that it may also have been affected by the disaster. Keep reaching out, and don’t lose hope! Also keep checking the Internet for new resources.

Grant and loan programs generally require completion of written applications describing losses and needs, possibly including dollar value, and may also require:

  • descriptions of other support you are receiving (insurance, FEMA aid, voluntary agency support),

  • income information (tax and wage documents), and

  • information about yourself as an artist. You will likely be asked to submit a CV or resume.

Many programs assess only need and status as a professional, but some look to artistic merit or have residency requirements. A local or state agency may restrict distribution of funds to those who have previously received grants from them. You may be required to provide your FEMA ID number.

Some organizations will help you complete your application.

Most financial programs have a review system — so do not expect immediate turnaround, though they will help as quickly as they can. Remember that their funds are limited and they are trying to help as many artists as possible, so they must evaluate applications. For your immediate needs of food, clothing and shelter, look to FEMA and the voluntary agencies, such as the American Red Cross.