City announces $ 2.3 million relief fund for artists and creative workers affected by pandemic


Chicago artists and creators who have been financially affected by the pandemic may soon find relief in the city.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot is expected to join the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events on Thursday to announce a $ 2.3 million relief fund for creatives who suffered loss of income during the pandemic.

The Chicago Creative Worker Assistance Program will benefit hundreds of members of the arts and entertainment industry by distributing financial assistance grants ranging from $ 2,000 to $ 5,000 by the end of this year , according to a statement from the mayor’s office.

Arts administrators, teaching artists, artisans, curators, independent cultural producers and technicians who have lost income in the past 18 months due to coronavirus restrictions will be eligible for cash assistance.

Lightfoot hopes this news will bring great relief to the creatives, as many are gig workers whose pandemic UI benefits have already expired.

“The pandemic has taken particularly devastating havoc on our arts and culture community, as shows have been canceled, concert halls have been closed and performers have faced financial insecurity,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “The revitalization of our artistic and cultural scene is essential to our ability to recover from this pandemic both economically and socially. I am proud to offer continued support and relief to the artists and designers who bring us beauty, culture and experiences that make us human.

The announcement comes nearly a week after Navy Pier hosted “Chicago LIVE Again!” – a two-day open-air festival which celebrated the return of live performances.

DCASE Commissioner Mark Kelly said he looked forward to seeing the city‘s talented artists return to the limelight this fall, as well as the resurrection of entertainment venues, which are gearing up for a busy end to the year.

“Chicago’s artistic landscape has been devastated by the pandemic, but I am delighted to see our talented artists and venues come back to life and energize Chicago,†said Kelly. “In 2022, with additional funds – including a transformational increase in our cultural grants budget from $ 2.7 million to $ 20.7 million – and our operating budget being largely restored to prior levels.” pandemic, I am delighted that DCASE is now ready to respond to the needs. of Chicago’s vital arts community next year and into the future.

Chicago’s Creative Worker Assistance Program is slated to launch in mid-October, with an application deadline in November. Recipients are expected to receive funds before the end of this year.

The city plans to offer a second wave of financial aid grants to creative workers next year, according to a city hall statement.

DCASE will be hosting virtual briefings on the Chicago Creative Worker Assistance Program on October 26 at 3 p.m. and October 27 at 10 a.m. Creatives can register to learn more about financial aid at

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