The California Relief Fund for Artists and Cultural Practitioners is a partnership between the California Arts Council (CAC) and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA). The California Relief Fund for Artists and Cultural Practitioners is distributing approximately 1.95 million dollars from CAC’s general fund to help artists and cultural practitioners (including fine and performing artists, teaching artists, culture bearers, and other creative entrepreneurs) who reside in the rich and diverse cultural communities of the state of California. YBCA has been entrusted to administer this relief fund.

YBCA believes artists are essential for envisioning a new world and we are committed to championing their work through our continued efforts in designing and implementing investment strategies. With this relief fund, we are focusing on connecting with a network of artist advisors and partners to ensure we reach artists in our prioritized communities living across the state with this opportunity.

The California Relief Fund for Artists and Cultural Practitioners application closed on Friday, May 20, 2022 at 5pm. Please check back in during the upcoming weeks for an update on the award process.

How It Works

To apply for the California Relief Fund for Artists and Cultural Practitioners, applicants:

  • Must be a current, full-time resident of the state of California; and must provide proof of residency
  • Must be an artist or cultural practitioner; and must provide proof that demonstrates the applicant’s professional role in arts and culture; and
  • Must be at least 18 years of age at the time of applying; and
  • Cannot have a conflict of interests (family or financial relationships) with the boards, staff, and directors of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, California Arts Council, or state-level elected officials and their staff

Applicants who have an active role in California’s arts and culture sector are eligible to apply. This includes, but is not limited to, visual and performing artists, teaching artists, culture bearers, and maker-based sole or collective-based creative entrepreneurs. For the purpose of this relief fund, an applicant must be self-employed artist, an artist entrepreneur, or employed by a nonprofit organization with arts and culture being essential to their mission. We welcome artists of all disciplines to apply including the performing arts, visual arts, literary and media arts, as well as craft artists and other types of creatives who may also be working outside of mainstream artistic or craft practices and within cultural traditions.

Each recipient will receive a one-time payment of $1,000.

There are no restrictions on what the recipient can use the payment towards.

As long as COVID-19 is still designated as a federally recognized qualified disaster at the time payments are disbursed, this payment is non-taxable income. If the federally recognized qualified disaster status changes before that time, YBCA will alert all awardees.

Awardees will be asked to complete a W-9 form, alongside an MOU agreement and payment documentation. For YBCA’s purposes, an awardee can complete their W-9 form without having to provide a social security number. YBCA’s finance department must have a W-9 form from all awardees for auditing purposes and no information shared on the document will be used outside of that strict purpose. YBCA’s finance department will administer a 1099 form to all awardees at the end of the calendar year.

Application Submission and Selection Process

The California Relief Fund for Artists and Cultural Practitioners will be accepting applications from noon on April 25 until 5:00pm on May 20, 2022. Applicants will be notified about their award status in June 2022 and funds will be disbursed no later than July 31, 2022. If more application requests are received than funding allows, YBCA will prioritize applicants with artistic practices deeply rooted in historically marginalized communities and a lottery system will be utilized. For the purpose of this relief fund, the prioritized communities include African, American Indian and Alaska Native, Arab, Asian and Asian American, Black and African American, Disabled, Immigrant, Indigenous and Indigena, Latinx, LGBTQIA2S+, MENASA, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander, Refugee, and Women.

No, an applicant can only apply once.

For the purpose of this relief fund, the prioritized communities include African, American Indian and Alaska Native, Arab, Asian and Asian American, Black and African American, Disabled, Immigrant, Indigenous and Indigena, Latinx, LGBTQIA2S+, MENASA, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander, Refugee, and Women. Those living in rural communities across the state will also be given priority.

Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, Two-Spirit, +

Middle Eastern, North African, South Asian

You will be able to submit your proposal through a simple online form. You do not need to create an account to complete the application. Once in the form, you will be asked a short series of questions pertaining to your residency and your artistic practice. Although not factors in the funding decision, a series of demographic questions will also be asked. This information will give the California Arts Council an overall picture of who across the state applied for this opportunity. If you need an alternative option to submitting your proposal form, please reach out to us by email at artistrelief@ybca.org.

Yes, the application will be available in other languages. We are currently working with our community partners to determine what those languages will be. The application, in the top right-hand corner, will allow you to select the language of the application. If you need additional assistance, please contact us at artistrelief@ybca.org to schedule a time to speak with us. 

You must submit a document from a third party that clearly shows your name and current address. We will accept he following documents as proof of residency:

  • Driver’s license or government-issued ID card
  • Utility bill (electricity, water, gas, internet service, or phone bill)
  • Health insurance statement or medical bill
  • Bank or credit card statement
  • Statement of government benefits (this could include SSI, SSDI, SNAP, etc)
  • A signed letter on the letterhead of the shelter you reside in

We only need to see the name and address on your document. You do not need to upload the entire document. Please cover up all sensitive information.

You must provide documentation that demonstrates your working role in the arts and culture field. This can be illustrated by, but is not limited to:

  • An artist’s website or social media page
  • An artist CV/resume
  • Visual or video work sample
  • A playbill or program
  • A publication copyright
  • A list of public presentations/performances

All documentation must include the artist’s name.

The only file types supported for uploads are PDF, DOC, DOCX, PNG, JPG, JPEG, and GIF. For proof of artistic practice, there is a space to provide a website. If you would like to share an audio or video file for your proof of artistic practice, please provide a link to youtube, soundcloud, dropbox, or another file-sharing service in the space allotted for a website.

All applications will be vetted for eligibility. Those that are eligible will be selected through a lottery system, which will prioritize applicants with an artistic practice that is deeply rooted within the relief fund’s priority communities.

Following the submission close date of May 20, 2022, all applicants will be vetted for eligibility. We intend on informing all awardees the week of June 13.

YBCA’s goal is for at least 70% of the funding to be awarded to applicants whose artistic practice is deeply rooted within the relief fund’s priority communities. All other applicants will be awarded out of the remaining funds through a lottery system with a special attention to geographic equity.

All awarded applicants will receive an email notification from the YBCA Community Investment team. That notification will be followed by an agreement and financial forms, via DocuSign, that need to be completed and returned for the awardee’s payment to be disbursed.

All applicants that are not awarded will receive an email notification by the end of August 2022.

If your application is selected, YBCA’s Community Investment Team will reach out to you with an email notification. That notification will be followed by an agreement and financial forms, via DocuSign. Please review, complete, and sign the DocuSign as soon as possible. Payment will not be processed or disbursed until the DocuSign is completed. Once completed, expect payment in 15-20 business days by check.

Awardees will be asked to complete a W-9 form, alongside an MOU agreement and other payment documentation. For YBCA’s purposes, an awardee can complete their W-9 form without having to provide a social security number. YBCA’s finance department must have a W-9 form from all awardees for auditing purposes and no information shared on the document will be used outside of that strict purpose. YBCA’s finance department will administer a 1099 form to all awardees at the end of the calendar year.

In addition, a short survey will be sent to you in August/September 2022. This survey will ask how the relief payment made an impact on your life and financial health. Information collected from the survey will inform future funding offerings by the California Arts Council.

Additional Information

The application is brief and simple and we encourage you to find a trusted friend, family member, neighbor, or partner to assist you in filling out your application form. If you do not have a partner, family member, or friend who can assist you, please reach out to us by email at artistrelief@ybca.org

We’re available for questions, to help you submit your application, or walk you through the selection process. You can reach out to us by email at artistrelief@ybca.org.