April 01, 2020

COVID-19 Resources and Assistance

Gregory Conniff, Home Garden, NE Corner, June, 1999-2001

Gregory Conniff, Home Garden, NE Corner, June, 1999–2001

So. It looks like we’re going to be inside for a stretch longer (those of us lucky enough to have homes, that is, or to be able to stay indoors). This means more postponed and cancelled work, more loss of income, more strange hours that bleed into days and nights and weeks…

With all of this in mind, we humbly add this resources page to those already out there. Many of these links have been making the rounds, of course, and so to limit redundancies we begin by pointing you to this list our friends at KQED have assembled, which includes emergency funds for freelancers and artists of all stripes, with an emphasis on Bay Area resources; other good, albeit overlapping lists can be found at American for the Arts, Creative Capital, BOMB, the California Arts Council, and Kickstarter. We also love this CTRL+SHIFT Care Package. And Azucena Rasilla has compiled a terrific trio of helpful documents: Where to Donate and Volunteer in the Bay Area; How to Help Struggling Bay Area Artists; and Bay Area Studios Streaming Workout Classes.

Thank you to our SFMOMA colleagues (in particular Emma LeHocky and tamara suarez porras) and to those who answered our social media call (yes, KQED reporters!) for help in assembling. Below you’ll find additional links: we’ll be updating this, so please send us useful things, and feel free to leave suggestions and ask questions directly in the comments section.


Ways to get help, give help, and stay informed:


Artist + Activist Relief Fund

This fund supports artists and activists whose work has been impacted by COVID-19 by making $250-750 grants to applicants on an ongoing basis. *Please note that the fund is maxed out and not now accepting new applications while it fundraises, but you can join the waiting list.

Artists Now

Financial support for Bay Area artists directly affected by the economic challenges caused by COVID-19, specifically POC, women, and LGBTQIA+ artists.

Artist Relief

An emergency fund open to artists across the United States, created by a coalition of national arts grantmakers.

Bay Area Child Care Contact Sheet

A list containing contact information for Bay Area child care professionals.

CARES Act Loan Primer

JustMoney.org teaching material covering legislation passed on March 27, 2020.

Collective Care

A growing directory of pandemic disaster care with an emphasis on mutual aid. “‘Practicing mutual aid is the surest means for giving each other and to all the greatest safety, the best guarantee of existence.”

Congregation Beth Israel, Berkeley

Community volunteer network providing emotional and practical support to those who may need it.

COVID-19 Grassroots Relief Models

This collaborative document was started by the NYC Artist Coalition and House Coalition to collect examples of grassroots responses to COVID19 from around the world.

Hire Artists

A marketplace designed to facilitate creative exchange, connecting buyers and supporters with experienced practitioners for the purposes of online instruction or to help with creative and non-creative tasks.

Museum Staff Impact from COVID-19

A crowdsourced collaborative spreadsheet with information about museum worker impact from COVID-19, similar to the spreadsheet created in 2019 to develop transparency around arts worker salaries.

Oakland Food Service Workers COVID-19 Relief Fund

This relief fund was created by and for Oakland-based workers in the food service industry who have been affected by COVID-19. Funds will be distributed directly to workers. (Note: “Priority will be given to Black, Indigenous and other POC, undocumented, unhoused, disabled, LGBTQIA+, [and] Oakland/Bay Area native folks.”)

Poets Refine Money

Liam Curley created this directory for SF, Oakland & Berkeley bookstores, literary organizations, and presses, including ways to support them. There’s also a tab geared towards Bay Area writers.

Applications for individuals, organizations, and small businesses are open for those based in San Francisco and Berkeley. The Berkeley Relief Fund is accepting matching donations for its $3 million commitment of city funds.

Working Artists and the Greater Economy (W.A.G.E) Guidelines For the Postponement and Cancellation of Work

Some basic guidelines that can be used by artists and nonprofit institutions as we begin to navigate the future of work in our field during the pandemic.


And here are some things to read, watch, and listen to:


Open Space: Project Space

Special projects commissioned for Open Space. All downloadable. All free–as is everything on Open Space. We’re lucky to be able to keep publishing during this time. And, of course, our archive awaits…

SFMOMA #MuseumFromHome

The galleries are closed, but there are lots of online goodies.


Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more; we particularly recommend the Prelinger Archives, which was launched by Open Space contributor Rick Prelinger in 1983.

A Voice Box

Recordings of Bay Area poetry readings from the last two decades.

Heavy Breathing

Artist-led audio and video movement workshops. Yes!

Imagined Theatres

A growing collection of hypothetical performances written by theorists and artists of the contemporary stage.These dramatic fragments, prose poems, and microfictions describe imaginary events to explore what might be possible and impossible in the theatre.


The megalithic digital library has made its database free for all.


Free streaming of contemporary performance works. And note that Dancers Group has compiled its own resources page, with a focus on performance and the Bay.

San Francisco Cinematheque online screenings

SF Cinematheque launched an online screening resource for current and past programs. It opens with certainty is becoming our nemesis, a program presented with McEvoy Foundation for the Arts.

Signaling Through the Flames

City Lights asks its authors what they’re doing, what they’re reading, and what advice they have for the community.

Social Distance Gallery

Social Distance Gallery will be posting BFA and MFA thesis exhibitions that are canceled or limited in access due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The digital exhibitions will be hosted on Instagram at @socialdistancegallery.

The Response: Building Collective Resilience in the Wake of Disasters

A free ebook published by Shareable.


UbuWeb is a large web-based educational resource for avant-garde material available on the internet; all media free to download.

“Net Art Anthology” via Rhizome

Devised in concert with Rhizome’s digital preservation department, Net Art Anthology aims to address the shortage of historical perspectives on a field in which even the most prominent artworks are often inaccessible.

The Art World Goes Virtual
Frieze Magazine, March 30, 2020

“Galleries the world over have shuttered in response to the spread of coronavirus. It is unknown when they will reopen. And so the art world has found itself in a position of having to come up with new ways of functioning at a time of mass quarantine, closing exhibitions, delaying fairs, pivoting online.”

For Homebound Artists, New Approaches Bloom on Instagram
KQED, March 31, 2020

Bay Area artists accustomed to making physical artworks are likewise shifting their attention to projects they can share online, since opportunities to gather together and share art in person won’t happen again until May at the earliest.

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