South Arts proudly announces that 450 jazz musicians across the United States have been awarded $1,000 Jazz Road Quick Assist grants. This emergency fund offered unrestricted funds to support artists who have lost significant work and income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jazz Road, a national program funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with additional support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is led by South Arts in partnership with the five other U.S. Regional Arts Organizations (Arts Midwest, Mid-America Arts Alliance, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, New England Foundation for the Arts, and Western Arts Alliance/WESTAF).
“Jazz Road is a support system to fund artist-driven engagements for this quintessentially American art form,” says South Arts’ director of jazz Sara Donnelly. “Previously – and hopefully once again in the near future – we have funded jazz artists to take their music on the road into communities hungry for their work. Redirecting our budget toward these emergency grants was an important response to artists’ current situations, and we are pleased to have offered these grants to artists in need.”
As the country responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, the performing arts was one of the first and hardest-hit industries impacted by social distancing and isolation. Countless tours, gigs, and performances were cancelled for the foreseeable future. Independent artists are rarely eligible for unemployment benefits and have little savings. According to the American Federation of Musicians, the mean income for jazz musicians is between $23,700 and $37,200, which is significantly less than a US Census Bureau’s reported general household mean income of $72,641.
Applications for Jazz Road Quick Assist were open in April, and nearly 1,500 artists applied. The applicants were reviewed in the order in which they were received, with additional priority to support artists who represent the African-American community as well as those who identify as women. Out of the interest of privacy for the recipients, the identities of the 450 recipients receiving unrestricted $1,000 awards are not being published, but they hail from 46 states and territories across the country.
Through Jazz Road and the flagship Jazz Road Tours grant program, artists can apply for support to build small tours and further explore their work while receiving equitable fees. Although Quick Assist funds are no longer available, artists may apply for up to $15,000 to tour their work through Jazz Road Tours. Additionally, a Creative Residency program will launch later this year. Additional details about South Arts and Jazz Road are available by visiting www.southarts.org.