Art Market

Anonymous Was a Woman launched a $250,000 COVID-19 emergency relief grant for women artists over 40.

Daria Simone Harper
Mar 30, 2020 5:06PM, via Anonymous Was A Woman

Anonymous Was a Woman founder Susan Unterberg. Photo by Gonzalo Marroquin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images.

Anonymous Was A Woman (AWAW) announced a new emergency relief grant to help artists directly affected by the COVID-19 crisis. The newly developed program allocates $250,000 in grants at up to $2,500 per person to artists who “have experienced financial hardship from loss of income or opportunity as a direct result of the crisis,” according to AWAW's press release. Women-identifying visual artists over the age of 40 can apply for the grant directly on NYFA’s website from April 6th through 8th.

AWAW’s usual grant cycle offers $25,000 annually to women artists over the age of 40 who are “at a significant junction in their lives or careers,” and has no strings attached. This emergency relief grant adheres to the same guidelines as the annual award, allowing artists to use the funds at their own discretion. AWAW has partnered with the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) to distribute the grant.

In a press release, AWAW founder Susan Unterberg stated:

At this moment of unprecedented uncertainty, I am acutely aware that artists—many of whom are self-employed or rely on multiple sources of income—face significant challenges. In many cases, women over the age of 40 carry additional stress as caregivers for both children and parents. I am pleased to partner with NYFA to launch this program, and to expand the parameters of Anonymous Was A Woman’s philanthropic mission to respond to this difficult moment and provide immediate aid to fellow artists.

Though the AWAW grant has been funded exclusively by Unterberg in the past, interested donors may contribute to the Emergency Relief Grant via their website. According to the press release, AWAW “will present its 2020 award as previously planned in the fall.”

Established in 1996, AWAW was developed in direct response to the National Endowment for the Arts's decision to cease funding individual artists. The creator of the grant remained anonymous until 2018 when photographer Susan Unterberg revealed herself as both founder and funder of the grant.

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Daria Simone Harper