COVID-19 relief for artists and organizations

April 6, 2020

Dear friends in Vermont’s arts community,

I hope this finds you well, and finding moments of inspiration and beauty, despite our worlds being turned inside out. All of us at the Vermont Arts Council are committed to supporting our artists and cultural organizations through this uncertain and troubling time. We need the arts now more than ever, to inspire and connect us, and to enable us to support each other with creativity and compassion.

The COVID-19 pandemic presents particular challenges for the arts and culture sector. We are working with federal and state partners to share information and to respond effectively to the needs in our field. I’m sharing a quick update, below. Please take care, stay in touch and let us know how we can help you!

Karen Mittelman

Executive Director, Vermont Arts Council

COVID-19 relief for artists and organizations:

For artists, freelance creatives, and cultural organizations, our COVID-19 web site has information, funding opportunities and additional resources to guide you.

Vermont Rapid Response Artist Relief provides grants up to $500 to artists who have lost income due to the loss of a job or cancellation of a scheduled gig or opportunity (e.g., commissions, performances, contracts, workshops, classes, etc.) because of COVID-19.

In one week, we received more than 175 requests for emergency relief funding from artists across Vermont. Applications are temporarily closed, so that Council staff can process requests, ramp up fundraising efforts, and assess the rapidly-changing needs in the field. We will be distributing $57,500 in grants in the coming weeks, with plans for more as funding allows. Please check back in mid-April!

We invite you to contribute to this effort using our secure online donation form.

Donate to the Rapid Response Relief Fund

Federal relief is on the way.

As most of you have heard, the CARES Act recently passed in Congress includes $75 million each for the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities. For the arts, we know that a portion of those funds will be available to nonprofit arts organizations directly from NEA, with guidelines being drafted now.

Vermont’s nonprofit arts and culture sector will also receive approximately $400,000 from the NEA, which will be distributed through the Arts Council. These funds are specifically intended to help nonprofit arts organizations across the country survive the forced closure of their operations in response to the spread of COVID-19. As soon as we have more information from NEA about how we can distribute those funds, we will post updates.

Regular Arts Council grant programs are on!

We have extended the deadlines of some of our grant programs, but have decided to keep others as is, in order to avoid delays in getting much-needed funding to the field.  For complete information, please visit this page on COVID-19 and Vermont Arts Council grantmaking.

Here’s a quick summary:

Status: Continuing as planned

Original Deadline: May 4, 2020

New Deadline: Same

Arts Impact Grants

Status: Expanded eligibility to allow for general operating grants

Original Deadline: May 1, 2020

New Deadline: June 1, 2020

Arts Partnership

Status: Continuing as planned

Original Deadline: May 15

New Deadline: Same

Creation Grant

Status: Continuing as planned

Original Deadline: April 13

New Deadline: Same

Cultural Facilities

Status: Extended deadline

Original Deadline: May 1, 2020

New Deadline: July 27, 2020


Animating Infrastructure (special design grants)

Status: Closed in March; applications are being reviewed as planned


Teaching Artist Roster

Status: Extended Deadline

Original Deadline: March 31, 2020

New Deadline: July 7, 2020



Please take the COVID-19 Impact Survey – help us to make the case for support for the arts!

Thank you to all who have filled out the Americans for the Arts COVID-19 Impact Survey. It helps us to understand and document the impact of the pandemic on artists, creative businesses and nonprofits in Vermont and across the nation.


Stretching and storytelling while social distancing?

Vermont’s art galleries, museums, and theaters may be closed, but they are finding imaginative ways to keep the channels of creativity open for all of us.


This week, I’m inspired by the Vermont Folklife Center’s Listening in Place project, where Vermonters can gather in virtual Story Circles to listen and share; and the New England Center for Circus Arts’ online classes for aspiring trapeze artists and others interested in flexibility, balance, and stretching while at home.

For more examples of inventive programming during the pandemic, check out our Virtual Arts Experiences page.

Watch for an interview with poet laureate Mary Ruefle in this month’s ArtMail, reflecting on how isolation affects her creative practice. Subscribe to our newsletters here.

Have a creative, artsy response to COVID-19 you’d like to share?

Send it to, or tag us in a post on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.



Vermont Arts Council | 136 State Street, Montpelier, VT 05633-6001