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While it was everyone’s sincere hope that the first months of lockdown would set the stage for a comeback that by rights we should be experiencing now, that is not how things have turned out. One of the many effects of this has been a fresh round of layoffs and arts venue closures as the PPP money runs out, and the extension of the already serious pressures this has put on independent artists and creatives. In the spirit of helping the arts communities weather this storm, several organizations have opened new rounds of grants and awards, including more than one with a renewed focus on artists from underrepresented groups.

On a creative note, a number of regional institutions are also seeking to chronicle these extraordinary times with calls for photographs and documents from the community in the name of telling the double story of pandemic and protest with a plurality of voices. A few of these funds and calls are only open through the 24th or 31st of this month, while others have more lead time. So read on, get involved, make your voice heard, and apply for the assistance you need and deserve.

L.A. County COVID-19 Relief Fund for micro-entrepreneurs and nonprofits. In response to the devastating effects that COVID-19 is having on the local economy, the County of Los Angeles and the City of Los Angeles, in partnership with institutional and corporate philanthropy, have come together to create the LA Regional COVID-19 Recovery Fund. The regional fund will offer loan and grant resources as well as training and tech support to micro-entrepreneurs, small businesses, and nonprofits. Open July 20-24; lacovidfund.org.

Explore Arts District L.A., a function of the LARABA (L.A. River and Business Association) has launched the Black Artists Matter initiative to amplify Black artists in DTLA through ongoing public art projects. Any art medium is welcome! This project is not exclusive to painted murals. 3D artists are equally invited to apply and come up with wall art or other installation proposals. All materials and supplies provided along with a $5,000 cash award. Deadline for applications is July 24; docs.google.com.

DCA’s Arts Emergency Relief Fund’s round three includes support for small arts & performance groups as well as individual artists and writers, specifically if you lost money on ticketing or sales of works/books during scheduled presentations that were canceled for pandemic reasons. Apply before July 31; culturela.org/grants-and-calls/aer-fund.

The Illuminations Grant for Black Trans Women Visual Artists is a new annual $10,000 grant, awarded to draw attention to an existing body of work, designed to shed light on the under-recognized contributions of Black trans women visual artists and provide critical support to their continuing work. Apply by August 30; queer-art.org/illuminations-grant.

Destination Crenshaw mini-mural contest for residents of City Council District 8. Destination Crenshaw is launching this public art program to work with local artists from South Los Angeles, focusing on beautifying the L.A. DOT utility boxes along Crenshaw Blvd. Each selected design wins $250 and the supplies to carry out the work. Apply by July 31; destinationcrenshaw.submittable.com.

Images from the Los Angeles Black Lives Matter protests following the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery. Images by Rob Liggins in Hollywood (Courtesy of the Autry)

The Autry’s Collecting Community History Initiative (CCHI): The West During COVID-19 is a response to the growing desire to collect the diverse stories and objects that pertain to the American West during this epidemic. As a response and in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives across the world, the Autry’s CCHI further seeks to assist in documenting, collecting, cataloging, and preserving this critical moment in civil rights history in the American West. They’d love it if you would send digital submissions of photographs, hand-made posters, and other ephemera documenting recent protests over Black Lives Matter. CCHI: The West During COVID-19.

USC Libraries: Collecting Covid. In an effort to capture the lived experiences by members of the University of Southern California community and communities throughout Los Angeles and the Southern California region, the USC Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives invite you to create and share records of your experiences — journals, voice memos, social media posts, photos and videos, etc. libraries.usc.edu/article/collecting-covid-19

Be An #ArtsHero (Instagram)

Be An #ArtsHero is a grassroots campaign to encourage the U.S. Senate to pass emergency Arts relief. It’s a video challenge mobilizing arts workers, institutions, and anyone who relies on the Arts & Culture sector economically or personally. Using their individual and organizational platforms to record a video of how COVID-19 has impacted them, and most importantly inviting their elected representatives to Be An #ArtsHero themselves. beanartshero.com

LA2050 Time Capsule. A digital time capsule to commemorate the first six months of 2020 in Los Angeles. Find a picture that sums up your year so far, “your empty train on your way to your essential job, the sidewalk art you’ve done with your kids, or the homemade masks you’ve worn to march in the streets.” Submit your photos at the website or post on social media, tagging @LA2050 and using #2020TimeCapsule. la2050/2020-time-capsule

Good luck, get involved, and stay safe, friends!