COVID-19 Resources for Gig/Creative Entrepreneurs/Contract Employees

COVID-19 Resources for Gig/Creative Entrepreneurs/Contract Employees

Workers who earn a living through gigs or events, selling pieces or products, or work that is temporary or project-based. The self-employed – independent contractors, gig workers, temporary and part-time workers – number 57 million in the U.S., representing more than a third of the working population and driving $1 trillion in income. This page is for you.

*NEW* Programs Announced By Governor DeWine 6/3/20
1). Minority Micro-enterprise Grant Program:
*Up to $10,000 for small minority and women owned businesses with 10 or fewer employees.
*To be eligible, businesses must have been certified as a Minority Business *Enterprise or woman-owned EDGE-certified business as of Feb. 29, 2020; have 10 or fewer employees and up to $500,000 in annual revenue; and have not received funding under the federal CARES Act.
Businesses may apply at:

2) Ohio PPE Retooling and Reshoring Grant Program:
*Up to $500,000 for Ohio businesses to retool or reshore PPE Production.
*20% of the available $20 million is set aside for manufacturers with less than 25 employees.

Webinars and Training for Artists, Nonprofits, and community members navigating COVID-19:

Unemployment comparison: Download this document from ODJFS UI division, that compares all the current unemployment programs in place: Click to download 4/29/20

Sundance: Resources for Artists: Sundance deepens the resolve of artists, bringing them together in a creative community so that they know they are not alone.” —Robert Redford, President and Founder

NYFA has partnered with The Maurice Sendak Foundation (MSF), which has seeded a new emergency relief grant program for children’s picture book artists and writers who have experienced financial hardship from loss of income as a direct result of the COVID-19 crisisThe Maurice Sendak Emergency Relief Fund, administered by NYFA, will distribute unrestricted grants of up to $2,500 apiece until the fund has run out. MSF has granted $100,000 to NYFA to begin the program. The initial goal for the fund is $250,000 with hopes that it will expand. Those interested in donating to the fund may do so here. 4/15/20

The application will open in Submittable on Thursday, April 23 at 1:00 PM EDT, and will close once 600 applications are received. Funds will be awarded to eligible applicants in the order in which applications are received.

Artist & Activist Relief Fund
It’s right in the name: this donation-based fund for small stipends by The Soze Agency is specifically for artists and activists—especially those with children, debt, and medical bills. Round one just passed; $37,500 was given to 143 artists and activists nationwide. Apply for—or donate to!—round two at the link above and also sign up here to receive The Soze Assist, a newsletter of helpful articles and resources. 4/14/20

COVID-19 Mutual Aid Fund for LGBTQI+ BIPOC Folks
This donation-based fund, organized by Amita Swadhin with Treva Ellison, Natalie Havlin, Carrie Hawks, Ren-yo Hwang, and Alisa Zipursky, will disperse funds in a rolling jubilee—allocating money to applicants as donations are raised. For the second round of donations, priority goes to Black, Indigenous, disabled, chronically ill, transgender or non-binary folks, as well as sex workers or those who are not employed full-time, not eligible for paid sick leave, or on the cusp of losing housing. More details at the link above; apply to receive funding, donate if you can, and share with others. 4/14/20

Disabled Creator and Activist Pandemic Relief
Volunteers are currently collecting information to organize a relief fund in support of disabled creators and activists who’ve lost sales due to COVID-19. Fill out the form at the link above if you’re interested in staying up-to-date or receiving funding (it seems initial funds will come from telecommuted events featuring the applicants and organized by the volunteers). 4/14/20

Behind The Scenes
Behind the Scenes offers grants to workers and artists in the entertainment tech industry—those working behind the scenes or cameras in performance venues or on the road—who are dealing with serious illnesses or injuries. They are currently accepting applications from anyone who’s been hospitalized with COVID-19 and is in financial need. 4/14/20

Updates to Unemployment for Contract/Gig Workers in Ohio
Updated 4.13.20 at 3:30pm

Ohio Department of Job and Family Service is preparing to implement three new federal stimulus programs to the unemployment system that were identified in CARES. Updates include:

  • The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program will provide up to 39 weeks of benefits to self-employed workers, 1099 tax filers, and many other individuals who are not eligible for traditional unemployment benefits.            
  • This program will cover a significant number of people. Its effective date is Jan. 27, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2020. The benefit amount will be similar to traditional unemployment benefits, plus an additional $600.
  • We are reviewing the Department of Labor guidance on this program and engaging with a vendor to build the solution. The new system will be separate from the system we have now for “regular” unemployment claims. We expect the website and portal to launch in mid-May.
  • Ohioans who think they may be eligible for this program will need to apply through the new system after it goes live. All benefits will be retroactive for those eligible.
  • The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program will provide an additional $600 a week to existing benefit amounts for those in both the “regular” unemployment program and the PUA program. This program’s effective date was March 29. All benefits will be retroactive, and we expect it to be operational by the end of next week.
  • The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program will provide up to 13 weeks of additional benefits for Ohioans who exhaust their maximum 26 weeks of unemployment benefits. This program also began on March 29. We just received the final guidance from the federal government on Friday and will have a timeline for it soon.

On Friday evening, the Department of Labor (DOL) released to state workforce agencies the attached guidance – Unemployment Insurance Program Letter (UIPL) 17-20 – regarding Sec. 2107 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020, which created the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) Program. This program provides up to 13 weeks of 100% federally-funded benefits to individuals who have exhausted rights to regular compensation under state or federal law, which is 26 weeks in most states. PEUC is not payable for any week of unemployment ending after December 31, 2020. If an individual qualifies for PEUC, he or she will also be eligible to receive the additional $600 under the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program until it expires on July 31, 2020. The press release is availabile here:

Artist Relief will distribute $5,000 grants to artists facing dire financial emergencies due to COVID-19; serve as an ongoing informational resource; and co-launch the COVID-19 Impact Survey for Artists and Creative Workers, designed by Americans for the Arts, to better identify and address the needs of artists. About the Fund: To support artists during the COVID-19 crisis, a coalition of national arts grantmakers have come together to create an emergency initiative to offer financial and informational resources to artists across the United States. 4/8/20

Noteworthy Federal Credit Union – $250K emergency loan fund created for artists and musicians by Arts Cleveland, Fowler Foundation and Noteworthy Federal For more information on the COVID-19 Emergency Loan Fund, contact NoteWorthy Federal Credit Union at (216) 263-7034, or at 4/6/20

Artist Relief Tree: This fund is intended to help those pursuing careers as artists (of any type). If you fit this description and your income has been directly impacted by the COVID-19 health crisis – and you are in need of short-term, immediate financial assistance – Artist Relief Tree would like to help. They will disburse funds in the amount of $250 per person, on a first-come-first-served basis. They will also be accepting donations indefinitely. 4/10/20

Queer Writers of Color Relief Fund– This fund is for queer writers of color who are in need of financial assistance. The fund will make disbursements once per day. 4/6/20

COVID-19: CARES Act and Steps You Can Take: The CARES Act includes provisions for self-employed workers and makes financial disaster relief available. There are also steps you can take to ease financial strain from the cost of housing, car and credit card payments, and health insurance premiums. 4/6/20

Creative Capital: List of Arts Resources During the COVID-19 Outbreak 4/6/20

Arts and Culture Leaders of Color Emergency Fund -This emergency fund can provide up to $200 for people of color that are either working artist or art administration and are affected by COVID-19. 4/6/20

The Author League Fund helps professional writers in financial need because of medical or health-related problems, temporary loss of income, or other misfortune by providing no-strings-attached “loans” to pay for pressing expenses. 4/6/20

The Foundation for Contemporary Arts offers one-time $1,500 grants to artists who have had performances or exhibitions canceled or postponed because of the pandemic. 4/6/20

Jazz Foundation Musicians Emergency Fund Musicians who have made a living playing blues, jazz, and roots music can apply for emergency funding from the Jazz Foundation. 4/6/20

Kinkade Family Foundation Emergency Grant for Curators This emergency grant provides funding for a curatorial project that sheds light on the world during this time of darkness. Priority will be given to curators who have a venue secured for their project and are greatly impacted by the challenges we are facing due to COVID-19. 4/6/20

Public Artists and Public Art Admins: Forecast is launching a national initiative to support public artists and public art program administrators during this pandemic. We will immediately begin to offer pro bono consultations and technical support to any public artist or public art administrator based in the U.S. and the Native nations that share the same geography from now until May 31, 2020, as a response to the mounting effects of the coronavirus pandemic. 4/3/20

Free Webinar: Join creative consultant and co-owner of Akron’s AVclub Phil Anderson for a webinar devoted to helping artists learn more about producing, distributing, live streaming, and getting paid for creative work in this time of social distancing and staying at home. : 3/31/30

Local Live Streaming Support: 3/31/30

Our friends at Arts in Stark provided this very helpful resource:

Anonymous Was A Woman (AWAW) has partnered with the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) to launch an emergency relief grant program to support artists impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The program will distribute $250,000 in unrestricted grants, up to $2,500 apiece, to artists who have experienced financial hardship from loss of income or opportunity as a direct result of the crisis. As with AWAW’s annual award, the program is open to women-identifying visual artists over the age of 40 in the United States and territories, and aims to address the unique challenges faced by artists in middle age or older, particularly at this critical time. 3/30/30

2-1-1 Support: Food, transportation, housing, utilities and more

ArtsNow has created a comprehensive resource list for artist and creative entrepreneurs that is being updated as information changes. This Google Sheet can be shared or downloaded.

COVID-19 Freelance Artists started as a crowd-sourced public document and has transitioned into resources in support of freelance artists, and those interested in supporting the independent artist community. This includes, but is not limited to, actors, designers, producers, technicians, stage managers, musicians, composers, choreographers, visual artists, filmmakers, craft artists, teaching artists, dancers, writers & playwrights, photographers, etc.

IRS: The IRS has established a special section focused on steps to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the coronavirus. This page will be updated as new information is available.

Writers’ Emergency Fund: PEN America is expanding its long-standing Writers’ Emergency Fund as part of our efforts to support the literary community at a time when the health and livelihoods of so many are at risk. 4/1/20

Musicians Foundation
The Musicians Foundation provides grants to U.S. musicians in any genre in a time of acute need due to personal, medical, dental, or family crisis, natural disaster, or other emergency situation.

Springboard for the Arts has created an evolving list of resources for information, exchange, and support in this time. This is largely focused on artists as independent workers, arts organizations dependent on gathering groups together, and creative people engaged in travel and exchange.

Facebook: “We know that your business may be experiencing disruptions resulting from the global outbreak of COVID-19. We’ve heard that a little financial support can go a long way, so we are offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits to help during this challenging time.”

Rauschenberg Emergency Grants provides one-time grants of up to $5,000 for unexpected medical emergencies. The one-time Rauschenberg Emergency Grants will provide visual and media artists and choreographers with up to $5,000 to cover a number of unforeseen medical expenses, including hospital bills, insurance co-pays, prescription drugs, and even some dental work. 

Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant
The Foundation for Contemporary Arts offers Emergency Grants between $200 and $2,500 for visual and performing artists. They review applications once a month, so you can quickly take advantage of momentum or solve any budget errors.

Actors Fund Entertainment Assistance Program
The Actors Fund provides services and financial support to entertainment professionals facing personal or work-related problems. It is also a conduit for emergency financial assistance in times of pressing need or in response to catastrophic events.

What The Fund: Patreon has set up a fund for artists navigating the COVID-19 crisis to apply for emergency resources.

The Equal Sound Corona Relief Fund was set up on short notice to provide direct financial assistance to musicians who have lost work as a result of Corona-related event cancellations. An FAQ on the fund is at Any musician who can be legally paid in the US who has had work cancelled by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Gottlieb Emergency Grant Program
This emergency grant provides financial assistance to painters, printmakers, and sculptors whose needs are the result of an unforeseen incident, and who lack the resources to meet that situation.

The Guild has created two Facebook Groups for folks to connect and share strategies and advice. One for all community arts education providers and one specific to creative aging practitioners.  

Teaching Artist Covid-19 Community Conversation: On Friday, March 13, 2020, the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable, Association of Teaching Artists, Teaching Artists Guild, Creative Generation, National Guild for Community Arts Education, and Teaching Artists of the Mid-Atlantic hosted a free webinar to address how the COVID-19 health crisis is affecting teaching artists. Watch the recording.  

Tech giants like Google, Zoom and Microsoft are giving free, limited-time access to conferencing and collaboration tools for business.

Ways of Gathering in the Age of COVID-19: A Guide to Livestreaming on HowlRound TV