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Helen Frankenthaler Foundation commits $5 million to multi-year COVID-19 relief effort for the arts
Helen Frankenthaler in her East 83rd Street studio, New York, in front of Hybrid Vigor (in progress), 1973. Courtesy Helen Frankenthaler Foundation Archives, New York. Photograph by Edward Youkilis. Artwork © 2020 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

NEW YORK, NY.- In response to the catastrophic situation artists and art organizations face in the wake of the COVID-19 epidemic, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation announced a $5-million commitment to relief funding over the next three years. The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation COVID-19 Relief Effort is a multi-year initiative building on the Foundation’s commitment to supporting artists and art institutions and marks the Foundation’s largest commitment of funding to date in support of a single cause since becoming active in 2013. The first round of funding, comprising a total of $1.25 million, will be distributed immediately in support of three initiatives:

• $500,000 to the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, in support of its FCA COVID-19 Relief Fund that is providing emergency grants to artists to offset income losses resulting from canceled performances or exhibitions due to the pandemic;

• $500,000 to the Artist Relief Fund, a new initiative launching formally in the coming weeks that will offer direct grants to artists for general financial hardship; and

• $250,000 to support operating funds for a consortium of small New York City-based arts organizations who present the work of living artists, including Artists Space, Creative Time, The Drawing Center , Eyebeam, The Kitchen, The Laundromat Project, The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, Performance Space New York, Printed Matter, Recess, Socrates Sculpture Park, The Sculpture Center, Storefront for Art & Architecture, The Swiss Institute, and White Columns.

"None of us could ever have imagined the far-reaching medical and financial disaster that has engulfed us as a result of this pandemic. Helen would have given full-throated support to the board of her foundation making a major effort to aid the creative community. The art world must galvanize to support both its artists and those that work every day at its museums and cultural institutions. We believe this is the moment to step up,” said Clifford Ross, Chairman of the Board of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation.

Added Elizabeth Smith, Executive Director of the Foundation, “Art is essential to our psychic and emotional well-being, and as a driver of the economy. As we assess and consider all the implications of this epidemic on artists and the arts field, we know that it will be important to offer assistance throughout a period of long recovery. Our multi-year commitment to this relief effort will complement the Foundation’s support of its ongoing partnerships with arts organizations at the national level.”

Additional funding recipients will be announced over the course of the next three years and include the Foundation’s network of partners across the country.

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