DCLA Awards the Roundtable Funding to Support Third Cycle of the Arts Educator Emergency Relief Fund

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Published:   December 23, 2021


CONTACT: Kimberly Olsen, kolsen@nycaieroundtable.org

NEW YORK, NY — The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) recently committed $375,000 to fund another round of the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable’s Arts Educator Emergency Relief Fund program. This generous award doubles the investment DCLA made in this fund last year as a way to support the hard-hit teaching artist community.

The first two cycles of the Roundtable’s Arts Educator Emergency Relief Fund provided $673,500 in support to 677 arts-in-education professionals. The fund awards one-time, unrestricted grants up to $1,000 to teaching artists and arts education administrators who are facing serious financial hardship due to the COVID-19 crisis.

These unrestricted cash grants are intended to support arts educators with lost wages and earnings; medical and healthcare expenses; childcare and eldercare; rent and mortgage payments; food, utilities, and other living expenses. Priority in grant selection will be given to applicants from communities most impacted by COVID-19 including Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, immunosuppressed, low-income, non-gender conforming, genderqueer, transgender-identifying practitioners, and practitioners with disabilities.

“As schools and cultural organizations begin to reopen their doors to in-person educational programming, many teaching artists and arts education workers are still piecing together work and recovering from 12-20+ months without a stable income,” says Kimberly Olsen, Executive Director, NYC Arts in Education Roundtable. “Thanks to a consortium of public and private funders, our total relief fund disbursements to an essential workforce of teaching artists and arts education administrators are just shy of $1 million. We can see the light at the end of this dark tunnel, but the work to support arts workers must continue.” 

Arts educators were especially hard hit by the impact of COVID-19. More than 80% of applicants across both funding cycles had been furloughed or laid off. And more than 90% of applicants reported earning less than $30,000 in 2020– all while overwhelmingly committed to continuing their work in arts education post-pandemic. This new infusion of funding from DCLA will ensure that arts-in-education professionals have access to additional financial support during this time.

“The arts have a powerful impact on healing and strengthening the connection between people as we work towards a fair, equitable, and vibrant recovery from the pandemic, and it is our art educators who play a crucial role in the revival of schools and local community organizations. Our agency’s surveys also found that arts educators were among the likeliest to suffer long term furloughs and layoffs following the onset of the pandemic. With this third cycle of NYCAIER’s Arts Educator Emergency Relief Fund grants, we are proud to invest in the arts educators who are so crucial for inspiring our youth and healing our communities,” said NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Gonzalo Casals.

The third cycle of this relief fund is made possible by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. The Roundtable is currently seeking $15,000 in additional support to help us reach our goal of $1,000,000 awarded through the relief fund. If you are interested in helping expand the fund’s impact, please contact Kimberly Olsen, Executive Director at kolsen@nycaieroundtable.org

The Arts Educator Emergency Relief Fund was originally made possible by the generous support of the New York Community Trust, including funding from the NYC COVID-19 Response and Impact Fund in the New York Community Trust, and the Booth Ferris Foundation. The second cycle of this relief fund was made possible by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs with additional support from The Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation. Both teaching artists and arts education administrators will be eligible to apply with an application opening in the new year. Additional details will be announced in late-January  2022. 

About the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable
The New York City Arts in Education Roundtable improves, advances, and advocates for arts education in New York City. NYCAIER is a community of cultural organizations and educators that shares resources, provides professional development, and advocates for the needs of our constituents and the communities they serve. Founded in 1992, NYCAIER builds our efforts around the value that arts education is a right for all NYC students. NYCAIER produces a major annual arts in education conference, Face to Face; monthly professional development programs;  in addition to ongoing advocacy and communications efforts for cultural organizations and teaching artists in every discipline. For more information please visit: www.nycaieroundtable.org.