Mayor London Breed Announces San Francisco Artists and Organizations have Received $1.5 Million in First Round of Grants

Office of the Mayor

Hirsch community partners the Arts and Artists Relief Fund and the Center for Cultural Innovation are featured in this news release from the Office of the Mayor, on how they made their first round of grants and loans.

San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today announced the City’s Arts and Artists Relief Fund has made its first round of grants and loans, providing $1.5 million in much-needed financial support for the local arts sector struggling from substantial income loss due to COVID-19. Mayor Breed launched the Arts and Artists Relief Fund on March 23rd.

Through a partnership with the Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI), 527 individual artists and 65 arts organizations received a total of $1.5 million to be used for their most urgent financial needs. Funding was prioritized for individuals and organizations from historically underserved communities, including black, indigenous, immigrant, and trans people, as well as people with disabilities.

In response to the significant need demonstrated by the first round of the CCI grant applications, Mayor Breed announced today the City is investing an additional $250,000 in the Fund. This additional funding will focus specifically on helping individual artists.

“We provided these grants and loans to offer some financial relief for the arts community during this challenging time,” said Mayor Breed. “Our artists and arts and culture organizations will be instrumental in our City’s recovery efforts. With this additional investment, we continue to support the creativity, flexibility, and innovation that artists bring to our city, which will be pivotal as we move forward and get through this crisis together.”

In addition to the $1.5 million in from the Arts and Artists Relief Fund, $1 million was made available to arts and culture nonprofits through a partnership with Northern California Grantmakers’ Arts Loan Fund. To date, five San Francisco arts organizations received loans totaling nearly $215,000 that will help them remain solvent. Currently, 12 additional arts organizations’ applications, with a total request of more than $425,000, are in process and are slated to be reviewed in the upcoming weeks.

“The rapid response and the breadth of support for diverse artists and organizations is a testament to how much we value our arts and culture sector,” said Rebekah Krell, Acting Director of Cultural Affairs. “We are proud to invest these funds in our community to ensure artists and cultural workers will continue to play a meaningful role in San Francisco’s response and recovery.”

Author and interdisciplinary artist grant recipient Niloufar Talebi stated, “I thank Mayor Breed and all the funders who, recognizing the essential role of artists and nonprofits in our city, took expedient action to care for our community as we face uncertainty and loss. I hope that local philanthropists continue to build on this fund so that many more of our city’s artists and colleagues are seen through during these unprecedented times when the public turns to art to nourish their souls.”

“Frameline are very appreciative of the support from Mayor London Breed, The City of San Francisco, and Northern California Grantmakers,” said James Woolley, Frameline Executive Director. “This loan gives Frameline a lifeline to keep paying staff and expenses during a time of crisis during which many of our usual sources of income have evaporated. With City support we look forward to returning to our home at the Castro Theatre when it is safe to do so.”

“Our San Francisco nonprofit arts ecosystem, besides being a source of inspiration, connection and transformation for individuals and for communities, is a billion-dollar industry employing nearly 40,000 full-time employees,” said Matthew Goudeau, Director of Grants for the Arts. “These relief funds are quickly infusing cash into our local economy, supporting the most vulnerable during this unprecedented time of financial and health challenges.”

The Mayor is hopeful these additional dollars will continue to inspire private contributions to the Arts Relief Program. The City’s contributions have been the catalyst for additional support from the private philanthropy sector, including generous support from the John and Marcia Goldman Foundation, Walter and Elise Haas Fund, Koret Foundation, Nion McEvoy and Leslie Berriman, David & Lucile Packard Foundation, Kenneth Rainin Foundation, Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, and the Zellerbach Family Foundation.

“San Francisco is a cultural beacon thanks to the inspiring, provocative power of the arts and the artists who make up the fabric of our community,” said Nion McEvoy, President and Founder of the McEvoy Foundation for the Arts. “During this global pandemic and future recovery, we will need the arts more than ever to help us unite, heal and make meaning out of what has happened. I’m proud to help San Francisco’s community of artists stay resilient during this crisis by giving to the City’s Arts & Artists Relief Fund.”

To donate to the San Francisco Arts & Artists Relief Fund:

To apply for the next round of grant funding:

To apply for an arts loan:

To find additional arts resources: