ArtsFund has announced its own emergency relief fund for arts and culture organizations in King County.

The nonprofit has raised $1.5 million for its COVID-19 Arts Emergency Relief Fund, an attempt to stabilize the arts-and-culture sector by allowing some organizations to maintain core staff and basic functions during the coronavirus economic crisis, according to a news release. This, ArtsFund says, will make it easier for organizations to reopen.

King County-based nonprofits already in ArtsFund’s cultural partners network of 118 organizations are eligible to receive the funding.

To help individual artists, ArtsFund says it’s working with Artist Trust, a nonprofit dedicated to helping artists in Washington state. Artist Trust’s COVID-19 Artist Trust Relief Fund, which is launching Friday, has raised $292,000 so far; that fund will be used for rapid response grants to help artists with immediate and vital needs, according to the ArtsFund news release.

Thus far, ArtsFund estimates regional arts and culture organizations will have lost $21.6 million in revenue by the end of March and a projected $74.1 million by the end of May. According to an ArtsFund survey, 94 percent of the responding organizations have had to cancel events due to coronavirus-related closures and social distancing orders from Washington state and King County.

The cancellations of fundraisers and gala events has been especially dire, from Seattle Girls Choir to Book-It Repertory Theatre, to ArtsFund’s own 50th anniversary luncheon. According to the ArtsFund survey, organizations on the whole are projecting a 25 percent loss in contributed income (i.e. donations, as opposed to earned income from streams like ticket sales), which make up roughly half of most organizations’ total revenue.


Roughly 2,000 arts-sector employees are estimated to have already been laid off or furloughed.

“As we approach spring and summer, the sector’s high season, many organizations project an uptick in their financial losses,” the survey’s results say, “so these projections are on the lower side of overall impact.”

ArtsFund and Artist Trust are the latest organizations to announce relief funds, joining the City of Seattle’s $1.5 million ($1.1 million in relief packages, plus a newly announced $400,000 in waived rent for arts organizations and artist studios on city-owned property) and $1 million from the county organization 4Culture, as well as private fundraisers such as the Seattle Artists Relief Fund Amid COVID-19 which, as of this writing, had raised $200,088 from 2,200 individual donors.