Over $1.75 million in emergency relief provides lifeline to Tucson’s creative workforce.

Mar 23, 2021 | Arts Foundation Programs, Press Release

Over $1.75 million in emergency relief provides lifeline to Tucson’s creative workforce in 2020 through the We Are One | Somos Uno Resiliency Fund.

TUCSON, AZ (March 23, 2021)Over 300 emergency relief grants were awarded to arts organizations, entertainment venues/stages, and workers in the creative industry, totaling over $1.75 million in late 2020 through the We Are One | Somos Uno Resiliency Fund. Relief funding reached all 6 Wards in Tucson and 100% of eligible applicants received emergency support. 

The We Are One | Somos Uno Resiliency Fund was established by the City of Tucson Mayor and Council with funds from the Federal CARES Act to provide one-time emergency funding for lost income due to COVID-19. The Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona facilitated and distributed $1.75M from the fund in the form of three new emergency grants: Tucson CARES for Artists, Tucson CARES for Arts & Culture Organizations, and Tucson CARES for Entertainment Venues & Stages.

“Workers in the creative industries are not offered the same protection and social safety nets as those working in other industries,” said Yurika Isoe, Grants and Services Manager for the Arts Foundation. “Due to the hybrid models of incomes, many workers in the creative industry were unable to access disaster relief such as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and State Unemployment Insurance. An investment in the survival of Tucson’s creative sector is an investment in the cultural continuity of this region. Tailored disaster relief programs such as the Somos Uno Program offers a model that affirms the value of the creative workforce.”

A study from the Brookings Institute ranked Tucson third among the hardest hit metropolitan areas in the country when it comes to job losses in the creative workforce as a result of COVID-19. These figures are underscored by the recent data collected from 51 arts organizations which reported an estimated loss of over $23 million dollars. When coupled with the estimated financial loss of creative workers, Tucson’s creative industry has taken a collective hit of more than $26 million dollars lost to the pandemic.

Groundworks, a youth-driven community arts space in Tucson, was planning its grand opening when the pandemic hit in march 2020. “We adapted quickly and shifted our programing to virtual activities, however, they proved to not be as financially sustainable for us as in-person events,” said Groundworks’ Executive Director, Logan Greene. “Without the relief funding from the We Are One | Somos Uno Resiliency Fund, we would not have been able to continue serving our community. Especially now, when we feel access to arts, levity and expression are so important.”

“I am grateful for our partnership with the Arts Foundation to disburse quickly these funds to artists, arts and culture organizations, entertainment venues, and others who make us the beautiful, culturally rich, and unique city we love,” said Mayor Romero. “Mayor & Council understand just how important Tucson’s creative industry is for our local economy, so it was an easy decision to allocate these funds.” 

In addition to the $1.7 million dollars distributed through the We Are One/Somos Uno Resiliency Fund, the Arts Foundation collaborated with the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the Arizona Daily Star, Pima County, the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, and over 200 individual donors to distribute over $100,000 to artists and arts organizations in Tucson and Southern Arizona through the Pivot Grants, Theater Artist Emergency Relief and Arizona Arts Professionals emergency grants.

“The City of Tucson is deeply appreciative of its partnership with the Arts Foundation to quickly and efficiently distribute this funding,” said City Manager Michael Ortega. “Tucson’s artists and arts organizations are not only an important part of the economic engine but also give our community a strong sense of place.”

For information about the We Are One | Somos Uno Resiliency Fund please visit here: https://stories.opengov.com/tucsonaz/published/RjtZMbaRc. To learn more about the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona, visit artsfoundtucson.org.



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