COVID Cultural Commissioning Fund aims to support and finance local artists during the pandemic

Treefort Music Fest was postponed, gigs statewide were brought to a screeching halt and many local artists who rely on art for financial stability have been left with few options in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with support from the Boise arts community, several organizations are seeking to make a difference for these artists and prioritize cultural equity through film, music, theater and beyond.

The Morrison Center, Boise City Department of Arts & History and Treefort Music Fest partnered to create the COVID Cultural Commissioning Fund, a donation-funded grant program in which local artists may receive $1,000 in funding to create art that dives into personal and community-wide impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What we are hoping to do, I think, is to acknowledge artists and creators and say, ‘Hey, we see you, and this time sucks right now,’” said Laura Kendall, executive director of the Morrison Center. “And we want to give, we want to honor who you are at your core, which is a creator, and we want to give you the incentive to make something happen with the complete understanding that this time is tough and you may not be able to.”

Applicants must be 18 years old and live in one of the following counties: Ada, Boise, Canyon, Gem or Owyhee. Other criteria affect eligibility, according to Kendall, but the art is the driving force behind the program.

“There are a couple of guidelines around it because our hope is that it’s really going to artists who don’t have employment right now,” Kendall said. “But that isn’t the biggest criteria. The biggest criteria is like, ‘What’s your idea? What are you going to do?’ And then we want to support that.”

Many Boise State students are welcome to apply for the grants, but those receiving paychecks from Boise State are not eligible to apply.

“I think this is an opportunity to say, ‘Hey, we’re here for the community, and we’re here for you,’” Kendall said. “And, you know, if there are creators on our campus who this really resonates with, I hope they apply. And I hope maybe, down the line, there’s a way that we can do this, maybe just for our Boise State community. Maybe in the fall when we all need another sort of charge, depending on where we are.”

Additional information regarding eligibility can be found on the Treefort Music Fest website.

Grant applications are due on May 8 at 11:59 p.m. MST, and there is no fee to apply. Recipients will be announced on May 18, and funds will be dispersed between May 25 and June 1.

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