(Tulsa, Okla.) —The nonprofit Red Dirt Relief Fund is launching a new COVID Crisis grant program to provide up to $1,000 per household on a first-come, first-served basis to Oklahoma music professionals who face immediate housing, food, medical or transportation insecurity; have sustained a financial loss of at least $5,000 due to cancelled/postponed gigs related to COVID-19; and worked in the music business for the past 5 years. People who meet these criteria can apply here: http://bit.ly/2WnNi1C
Since March of this year, Red Dirt Relief Fund has granted $147,000 in COVID-19 Emergency Relief aid to 588 music professionals in 38 Oklahoma counties across all jobs and genres, from writers, singers and instrumentalists to engineers, roadies and management. Grantees include members of the Tulsa Symphony, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, award-winning singer songwriters, renowned hip hop artists, worship musicians, teachers and music professionals who have played or worked Cain’s Ballroom, Chesapeake Arena, Tulsa PAC, Tower Theater and more.
According to Executive Director Katie Dale, “As the pandemic continues to impact the music industry with venue closures, gathering size limits and a curfew, many entertainment workers are still unemployed or underemployed and may face critical moments that require a safety net the Red Dirt Relief Fund was created to provide. We hope this program can provide some hope as we look to 2021 and the recovery of our industry, bridging the gap for working music professionals until they can fully get back to work making music in our communities. We are so grateful to our supporting organizations that make this work possible, including George Kaiser Family Foundation, Kirkpatrick Foundation, Oklahoma Arts Council and hundreds of individual donors even in this pandemic year. ”
These efforts come as the Federal government recently came to agreement on a stimulus relief package that will also aid music professionals and venues including direct payments of $600/adult and $600/dependent (similar to $1,200 payments this spring, paid out in similar way); $300/week unemployment subsidy up to 50 weeks (beginning as early as Dec. 27) with an additional $100/week subsidy for workers with wage and self-employment income; Federal eviction protection extended through January 2021 with $25 billion for rental assistance; and grants for venues up to 45% of operation costs incurred from pandemic in 2020.
Oklahoma’s creative sector has seen an estimated 19,000 pandemic-related job losses and $606 million in lost sales, with the performing and fine arts being disproportionately affected, according to a report released in July by Richard Florida, noted scholar and author of “The Rise of the Creative Class.”
To contribute to this grant program, visit www.reddirtrelieffund.org/donate.
Additional resources available to Oklahoma music professionals in need can be found at https://www.reddirtrelieffund.org/covid19/
For more information, contact Katie Dale at [email protected].