Dear Friends of WPA,
We are writing to inform you of the actions WPA is taking and to seek your help as we navigate together this uncertain time. Our priority is to help our visual artist friends--to keep them paid and valued.
Our actions include:
- Executive Director, Peter Nesbett has been advocating for artists and small arts organizations to ensure that their needs are addressed in the DC government's relief package. Peter will be addressing the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities today at 4pm (remotely, of course). His message: Art doesn't exist without artists. Museums, theaters, and organizations don't make art. He will be joined by artists Robin Bell, Amy Hughes Braden, Marta Perez-Garcia, Aaron Maier, and others.
- We plan to accelerate the timeline of Wherewithal Grants from first-payments in January 2021 to first-payments in September 2020. We are also working with the Warhol Foundation to modify the nature of these grants from projects to research, thereby putting a greater percentage of money in artists' pockets.
- WPA will not cancel any programs or cut honorariums to artists. Instead, we are adapting all of our upcoming programs so that we can continue to pay artists and present experimental artist-driven programs during this period of social distancing. We are grateful that our model allows us to be nimble and adaptable.
- And finally, we are conducting a survey to collect data and anecdotes on the impact of COVID-19 on visual artists. This will be shared with funders to spur greater relief for our community. If you are a visual artist, or an artist who works in the visual arts realm, we invite you to share your experience with us. You can take the survey here: WPA COVID-19 Visual Artist Impact Survey.
We are circulating the survey to artists, artist-centered organizations, and art commissions in our area, as well as artist-centered organizations nationwide. Our goals in conducting this survey are to:
We encourage you to share this survey widely with visual artists in your network. We will keep you updated with our findings.
Special thanks to the artists who have completed the survey to date and to the many organizations that have circulated it, among them: A.I.R., New York, NY; Arlington Arts, Arlington, VA; Asian American Arts Alliance (A4), New York, NY; Baltimore Office of Promotion in the Arts, Baltimore, MD; Black Artists of DC; BmoreArt, Baltimore, MD; CulturalDC, Washington, DC; EastCityArts, Washington, DC; GRIT Fund, Baltimore, MD; Hamiltonian Gallery, Washington, DC; Headlands Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA; IA&A Hilyer, Washington, DC; Locust Projects, Miami, FL; Maine College of Art, Portland, ME; MidAtlantic Arts Foundation, Baltimore, MD; Oklahoma Contemporary, Oklahoma City, OK; Prince George’s Arts & Humanities Council, MD; Redux Contemporary Art Center, Charleston, SC; Space538, Portland, ME; Stable Arts, Washington, DC; Transformer, Washington, DC; Virginia Commission for the Arts, Richmond, VA; W.A.G.E., New York, NY; Washington Sculptors Group, Washington, DC.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
This is a critical moment. Artists need your support, WPA needs your support. Here's what you can do to help:
- If you are an artist, take the survey so we can better understand how to support you. Again, the survey can be found here: WPA COVID-19 Visual Artist Impact Survey
- Support artists by making a donation to WPA today. Your contribution helps WPA sustain our committment to advocating for and paying artists. Please donate to WPA here.
We hope you are all safe and healthy. WPA is here for you!
March 19, 2020