Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis Artist Relief Fund

Thank you, St. Louis, for supporting our local artists!

The Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis (RAC), the area’s largest public funder of the arts, has distributed more than $500,000 to 586 local artists through its Artist Relief Fund. In partnership with the St. Louis Community Foundation, the RAC Artist Relief Fund supported artists whose creative practices and incomes were negatively impacted by the coronavirus crisis and its economic fallout.

Established this spring, RAC delivered critical relief by providing financial support to working artists through multiple rounds of funding. In increments of $500 and $1,000 – the grants helped artists cover life-sustaining expenses such as residential rent, mortgage lease or occupancy payments, residential utility bills, groceries and food, medical expenses not covered by insurance, child-care services, car payments or repair, insurance premium payments, and student loans, expenses or tuition.

The fund was designed to support artists whose livelihoods have been disrupted due to cancelled events, programming, contracts, or commissions in all artistic disciplines, including teaching artists who have not been able to teach during this time because of cancelled classes and school closures.

Over 73% of the recipients lost more than 75% of their income due to COVID-19. The funds were distributed to a diverse mix of artists representative of the St. Louis community. The following information is based on survey responses.

  • 36% of funding was distributed to artists who identify as Black/African American/African; 47% White/Caucasian; 12% Asian, Hispanic/Latino, Native American/American Indian/Alaskan Native, Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian or of two or more races; and 5% preferred not to answer
  • 43% of funding was distributed to artists who identify as female; 53% male; 2% non-binary; and 2% preferred not to answer

A major fundraising success for the relief fund came in the form of the “Arts United STL” benefit concert, which included 16 arts organizations coming together for a free virtual event produced by Opera Theatre St. Louis, under the direction of St. Louis Shakespeare Festival. The virtual benefit exceeded its set goal of $250,000, bringing in more than $350,000 to RAC’s Artist Relief Fund, including gifts and commitments made during and after the May 31 broadcast.