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Grant program offers guaranteed income for artists

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FILE PHOTO: Student Natalya Vega of Rochester's School of the Arts paints a mural at the Hyatt Hotel in downtown Rochester in 2015.

New York artists are being offered one thousand dollars a month in guaranteed income through a private arts grant.

Creatives Rebuild New York is accepting applications from artists with some financial need, and the funding lasts for 18 months.

Cjala Surratt is the Outreach Corps Member for Central NY and Finger Lakes Region. She says the idea is to help artists who may have suffered financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These are some funding models that can really impact and change lives,” she said.

Unlike other arts grants, the Guaranteed Income for Artists program comes with no strings attached. That means participating artists are not responsible for partnering with an outside organization or producing a finished product.

“There is another way in which we can be in support of our local and regional artists,” said Surratt, “one that trusts that they understand and know what to do with the money, that ultimately the we don't have to always be benchmarking and asking for work product at the end of the process.”

Surratt said the definition for artist under the grant is intentionally broad, in order to encourage more people to apply – like indigenous people preserving language or others who might not label themselves artists in the traditional sense.

Applications are open through March 25. More information is available on their website.

Veronica Volk is a senior editor and producer for WXXI News.