COVID-19 Artist Emergency Relief Grants of $1000 through The Velocity Fund

The Velocity Fund announces the COVID-19 Artist Emergency Relief Fund for Philadelphia visual artists. Applications open today for the first round of $1,000 grants, to be selected by lottery.

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Today our friends at The Velocity Fund announced applications and guidelines for the COVID-19 Artist Emergency Relief Grants — $1,000 grants of unrestricted funds to artists living in the city who can demonstrate an active art practice within the last 12 months and have incurred economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications close April 27, 2020, for the first round of the lottery-selected grants.

Since the pandemic is ongoing, the application periods will be staggered. Round One opens today, April 17, 2020, and closes April 27, 2020. The next round will follow. The staggered approach will allow applications in the future, as needs arise that were not here today. Artists need only apply once.


The application, found here, is easy and straightforward. If you are an artist 18-years old and older, in economic need due to the pandemic, and you can prove you live in the city of Philadelphia and have a current (in the last 12 months) art practice via submitting your website or 3 images of work, you are eligible to apply. FAQs page.


First Application Deadline: Monday, April 27, 2020

The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts has authorized The Velocity Fund, which is administered by Temple Contemporary at the Tyler School of Art and Architecture, to allocate funds to create and administer a COVID-19 Artist Emergency Relief Fund for Philadelphia’s visual artists with urgent need due to the pandemic.


Over the coming months, The Velocity Fund will manage the distribution of individual $1,000 unrestricted, one-time grants to Philadelphia visual artists based on an open application process.

Any practicing visual artist, who is currently a resident of Philadelphia and has experienced financial loss and/or hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic is encouraged to apply.

To ensure equity and transparency in the distribution of these funds, Temple Contemporary will select the recipients of this Emergency Fund through a blind-drawing (lottery) of all eligible applications. To increase the accessibility of funds during this ongoing crisis, the grants will be available and distributed in multiple phases. This staggered approach will allow artists not currently impacted by COVID-19 the opportunity to apply in the future if their situation changes.


Artists who need financial relief can apply now—the application is short and simple. Please read the COVID-19 Artist Emergency Relief Grants FAQ page for further details on eligibility, the application process and grant distribution.
First Application Deadline: Monday, April 27, 2020


NOTE: This fund is for individual artist relief only. Commonfield has put together this list of resources for artists organizations.

You must answer ‘yes’ to all of the following statements:

I currently live within the city limits of Philadelphia
I am a practicing visual artist* capable of providing examples of creative work made within the last year.
I am 18 years of age or older.
I am not currently enrolled in a degree program (Associate’s, Bachelor’s or Master’s; if pursuing a Ph.D., coursework must be completed).
I am currently experiencing financial loss and/or hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.**
I am legally eligible for employment in the U.S. (e.g. citizen, green card holder, and/or permanent resident who can provide a W9 and Social Security number.)

In the most expansive ways possible, The Velocity Fund considers the visual arts to include photography, performance, film/video, ceramics, sand art, drawing, architecture, bookmaking, weaving, crafts, installations, fiber arts, painting, mail art, jewelry, printmaking, basketry, sculpture, calligraphy, social-engagement/participatory, glass, and design. If you are making something that we haven’t listed and you think of it as a form of visual art, please reach out to us via email

Financial losses could be due to cancelled events or exhibition opportunities—or they could reflect a loss of income for teaching artists, or others within the creative field who have lost work due to COVID-19 closures. It also includes artists working (full- or part-time) in the service industry who have lost supplemental income used to support their creative practices. This Emergency Relief Fund has been specifically created to help stabilize visual artists dealing with extreme financial hardships due to the ongoing pandemic; please be mindful of the needs of others in our community when considering whether or not to apply.

Apply via Submittable. If you don’t have an account you will need to set one up.

Applications will be reviewed for eligibility only (see above criteria). Selections will be based on a blind-drawing (lottery) process. Each application will be assigned a distinct number, those numbers will be selected randomly, and grants will then be distributed according to the funds available for that cycle. Each grant will be for $1,000. Grants will be distributed in phases to allow time for internal processing and increased outreach. This staggered approach will allow artists not currently impacted by COVID-19 the opportunity to apply if their situation changes as the pandemic continues.

Funds will be distributed within a month of the application deadline. The first round lottery deadline is 4/27/2020.

This is unrestricted funding that you may use for any kind of relief. We will not be asking you how you spent the money. This fund is intended to help artists experiencing financial losses or hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can use it to help with any expenses you may have incurred, such as (but not limited to) food, rent, medical costs, or child care.

See more at the FAQs page. And if you have more questions mmail The Velocity Fund at

Temple Contemporary administers The Velocity Fund a regional regranting program of the The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Now in its third year of operations, The Velocity Fund provides funding for individual artist projects in the city of Philadelphia. More Artblog coverage of The Velocity Fund here.  Artblog is the media partner for The Velocity Fund.

Sterling Johnson, War on People, Velocity Fund winner 2019
Sterling Johnson, War on People, Velocity Fund winner 2019