Artists and cultural practitioners across the Arab region are already working in challenging contexts that experience war, economic pressures, repressive measures on liberties but also administrative and institutional hurdles. The Coronavirus crisis has caused further stress but mainly magnified long-standing inequalities and lack of social safety nets. In the midst of failing economies and on-going humanitarian and political calamities in different countries of the Arab region, the spread of COVID-19 globally has compounded the situation even more. Many communities have to deal with additional economic damages resulting from the disruption of normal life and the lingering lockdown, to counter the spread of the virus. Within the arts and culture sector, a lot of actors have to rely on their ability as individuals and small collectives to adapt to the situation as best as they can.
While the current crisis exposes further the vulnerability and precariousness of the arts and culture sector across the region, calling for strategic thinking and efforts, the immediate needs and challenges cannot be undermined. More than ever, it is essential to balance immediate actions and responses with strategic visions and goals.
In that frame, AFAC is launching an exceptional support scheme, the Artist Support Grant, in solidarity with artists and independent cultural practitioners under confinement across the Arab region, and whose creative practices and incomes are being adversely impacted by the Coronavirus crisis.
The Artist Support Grant aims to extend support to affected independent artists with a one-time $3000 grant to support their artistic practice over a period of 3 to 6 months. This grant is open to artists of all practices (visual arts, performing arts, music, cinema, documentary film, documentary photography, research, writings…). Envisioned as a sabbatical grant, the support is meant to accommodate new ideas for projects under confinement as well as ongoing efforts to strengthen artistic practices through research, reflections, and writings, taking into consideration the appropriateness of the project’s nature and medium to the grant’s amount and duration. In order to maximize the benefit of the grant, artists are encouraged to apply with ideas that do not require a team effort nor an implementation plan that goes beyond 6 months.
As such, the grant will support:
An original work than can be developed under confinement;
The continuation of an existing work;
Research or design phase of an upcoming project; and
The adaptation of current practices and creative projects using new mediums of delivery or new technology.
The support scheme aims to reach independent artists from and residing in the Arab region. This Grant does not replace AFAC’s on-going grants programs. Applicants can still apply to the current open calls as well as to the Artist Support Grant. With the coordination efforts among the different organizations offering emergency funds, priority will be given to those artists who did not benefit from other existing emergency support schemes. The support scheme will also prioritize artists who do not currently have an open grant from AFAC.
The Artist Support Grant program was created with the support of Ford Foundation, Open Society Foundations and Spotify through the Spotify COVID-19 Music Relief program. Spotify will match donations, dollar-for-dollar, made by other institutions and individuals to AFAC’s Artist Support Grant program. For additional information on how to support this program, click here.
Through an open call scheme, applicants to the Artist Support Grant will be required to submit a “Letter of Interest” guided by a short set of questions, in addition to samples from two of their most recent artistic works. No electronic application is requested for this grant.
The Artist Support Grant targets Arab artists and practitioners living in the Arab region.
The grant amount is USD 3,000.
The "Letter of Interest" may be submitted in Arabic, French or English.
The “Letter of Interest” and previous work samples should be sent to [email protected]
The name of the applicant and country of residence should appear in the subject field of the email.
Deadline to submit the “Letter of Interest” and previous work samples is 2 July 2020 before midnight, Beirut time.
A jury of three professionals evaluates the applications based on a demonstrable need for support, including a convincing short-term creative idea or continued project.
There are no geographic- or gender-based quotas even though as with all AFAC jury processes, the jurors consider diversity and inclusion in their final selection. Additionally, with the coordination efforts among the different organizations offering emergency funds, priority will be given to those artists who did not benefit from other existing emergency support schemes nor have a current open grant from AFAC.