Artists and Arts Organizations Begin Receiving Emergency Funds

Dallas Artist Relief Fund, Quarantined Cabaret, TACA, North Texas Giving Tuesday Now and SMALL CHANGE-BIG HELP support the arts community during coronavirus pandemic

Verdigris Ensemble and Avant Chamber Ballet's "Match Girl Passion"
Dickie Hill

Online fundraising events and emergency grants are helping the North Texas arts community navigate the financial stress caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Dallas Artist Relief Fund, established by Creating Our Future in March to help individual artists, has raised over $12,000. The fund got a major boost from the Quarantined Cabaret, a public Facebook group featuring videos from artists sharing their talents from their homes.

Mikey Abrams, a local actor, started the group as arts organizations began canceling their shows. The Facebook group has nearly 50,000 followers and Quarantined Cabaret has a presence on multiple social media platforms.

As the Quarantined Cabaret grew exponentially, Abrams wanted to find a way to help the arts community. The group has members from all over the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Israel, and Japan. Approximately 15,000 group members live in North Texas area and many are artists who lost their jobs because of the pandemic. “Let’s see if we can give back to individual artists in the DFW area,” Abrams said.

Abrams posted a t-shirt design in the Facebook group and partnered with a 100% LGBT owned and operated merchandising company to make his idea a reality. “I’m very appreciative to Brian [Ivanchan, founder of Pride Basics] and Pride Basics who donated their time and helped out the cause,” Abrams said.

The t-shirts are $20 with $10 going to support the Dallas Artist Relief Fund. The Quarantined Cabaret recently donated $1,300 to the fund. The Dallas Artist Relief Fund has received 263 applications and has given grants to 44 artists. The fund continues to raise money in hopes of helping more artists.

In addition to helping the arts community financially, Abrams loves seeing the collaborations developing between artists in the Quarantined Cabaret. “Because of the Quarantined Cabaret, I’m talking to people all over the world about the arts and performing. It’s brought a lot of people together,” Abrams said. “I get to be the matchmaker of performing arts.”

Donate to the Dallas Artist Relief Fund:

Purchase a Quarantined Cabaret t-shirt:

At the end of April, TACA distributed its first round of grants to 50 arts organizations from its Emergency Arts Relief Fund. Since March 30, TACA has raised $605,600 from major funders, including the Eugene McDermott Foundation, Donna Wilhelm Family Fund, TI Foundation, Katherine C. Carmody Charitable Trust, Bank of America, NA, Hoblitzelle Foundation, Perot Foundation, Communities Foundation of Texas, March Family Foundation, Fichtenbaum Charitable Trust, Melinda and Jim Johnson, Embrey Foundation, Jaggers Family Foundation and Amy Walton.

The TI Foundation increased its support from $25,000 to $100,000. “Through this grant, we want to ensure the long-term support of Dallas’ artists and venues , so that when we’ve moved past this difficult time, our arts community remains strong, and continues to help make Dallas a great place to live and work,” Andy Smith, executive director of the TI Foundation, said. “The arts are a vital building block of a strong community, and TACA’s COVID-19 emergency relief fund will help ensure that we continue to have a thriving, vibrant, innovative community.”

TACA distributed $304,000 in its first round of grants. Arts organizations received grants of up to $10,000. In selecting the beneficiaries, TACA prioritized current TACA grant recipients and considered canceled programs, fundraising events, refunded ticket sales and additional expenses due to the coronavirus pandemic. Thirty of the 50 first-round beneficiaries are current TACA Arts General Operating Grant recipients.

First round beneficiaries include: Allegro Guitar Society, American Baroque Opera Company, Art House Dallas, Avant Chamber Ballet, Ballet Dallas, Ballet North Texas, Beckles Dancing Company, Bishops Arts Theatre Center, Blue Candlelight Music Series, Bruce Wood Dance, Cara Mia Theatre Company, Chamber Music International, Chamberlain Ballet, Children’s Chorus of Greater Dallas, Cry Havoc Theater Company, Dallas Bach Society, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Dallas Center for Photography, Dallas Chamber Symphony, Dallas Children’s Theater, Dallas Contemporary, Echo Theatre, The Firehouse Theatre, Fine Arts Chamber Players, IMPRINT Theatreworks, Irving Symphony Association, Junior Players, Kitchen Dog Theater Company, Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra, Lone Star Wind Orchestra, Lumedia Musicworks, Make Art with Purpose, Plano Symphony Orchestra, Prism Movement Theater, Repertory Company Theatre, Inc., Sammons Center for the Arts, Sunset Art Studios, Teatro Dallas, The Cedars Union, The Classics Theatre Project, The Dallas Winds, The MAC, The Women’s Chorus of Dallas, TITAS/DANCE UNBOUND, Turtle Creek Chorale, Uptown Players, USA Film Festival, Verdigris Ensemble, Voices of Change and WaterTower Theatre.

TACA continues to fundraise for the Emergency Arts Relief Fund and is accepting applications for the second round of grants until May 18. Organizations that received funds in the first round may apply for the second round of grants. The second round of grants will be announced at the end of May.

Learn more about TACA’s fundraising efforts:

North Texas Giving Tuesday Now, a joint effort between United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, Communities Foundation of Texas, and Dallas Cowboys, raised more than $20.7 million from nearly 45,000 donors during an 18-hour online giving campaign. More than 9,400 donors pledged nearly 300,000 volunteer hours. Additionally, foundations, companies and individual donors contributed $21.8 million to relief funds managed by the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, Communities Foundation of Texas, The Dallas Foundation, and North Texas Community Foundation.

Of the more than 2,500 nonprofits to benefit from this giving day were 175 organizations from the arts, culture, and humanities sector. “We continue to be blown away by this uniquely philanthropic and heartfelt community,” Dave Scullin, president and CEO of Communities Foundation of Texas, said. “Seeing nearly 45,000 donors and volunteers come together at a distance for North Texas Giving Tuesday Now underscores our incredible local bond in support of each other through our critical nonprofit sector.”

Learn more about North Texas Giving Day on September 17:

Producer Bren Rapp has established SMALL CHANGE-BIG HELP, a 30-day GoFundMe campaign to support 16 independent arts organizations. The groups represent a diverse cross-section of the area’s cultural landscape and include Altered Shakespeare, Danielle Georgiou Dance Group, Dead White Zombies, Denise Lee Onstage Dallas Cabaret Series, Flexible Grey Theatre Company, Giant Entertainment, IMPRINT Theatreworks, Laughter League, LIP Service, Open Classical, Outcry Youth Theatre, Proper Hijinx Productions, Shakespeare Everywhere, Soul Rep Theatre Company, and The Classics Theatre Project.

SMALL CHANGE-BIG HELP aims to raise $24,000, $1,500 per organization. “This is really a campaign tailor-made for smaller donations because of its collective nature. If everyone in the social media reach of these organizations gave $5, we would blow past the goal. If everyone gave $2, we’d be darn close. Larger donations would be amazing but with many people suffering financially and with great need everywhere, this campaign is designed for people to feel like they can do something that will have impact, even if their contribution is small,” Rapp said.


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