#ReallyHelpingArtists was a initiative the RHA conceived back in April as a way of creating a positive action amid all of the close-downs and uncertainty of that first full month of lock-down. RHA were very aware that the precarious economics that most artists survive on had just become even more impossible in these new circumstances. The RHA decided to pledge €10,000 from the Hennessey-Craig Bequest to try to raise a fund of €30,000 to offer micro-grants to aid artists in any aspect of their existence – rents, utility bills, car expenses, medical. These grants between €100 and €1000 were not going to substitute for an income but could alleviate some anxiety or worry.
In a message in the RHA Newsletter Patrick T. Murphy, RHA Director expressed his gratitude to all who donated:
“Our public really got behind this effort, and with another €10,000 challenge gift offered anonymously by a generous individual, and gifts starting at €5 from over 350 individuals we were able to achieve total fund of €63,000 before giving closed on June 15th, you doubled our target! What amazing acts of generosity to artists in this challenging time for everyone. I thank each and every one of you who made this happen.
On June 16th the applications from artists opened – a simple format, proof you were a professional artist and 160 words of why the grant was needed. The process closed on June 30th. Now comes the flip side of this story. We received 351 applications with requests totaling €254,000. The need was great and at times the reason for that need heart-breaking. And we had 25% of what was asked for to address these artists’ dilemmas.
A small committee of artists and staff lead by RHA President Abigail O’Brien gave days of their time to shift through the applications as urgently as we could. And this week 90 artists will receive notification that their requests have been awarded. The funds will all be distributed by month’s end. Every region of the country is included and one ninth from Northern Ireland.
I will conclude by extending my deepest gratitude to you for your contribution to the fund, and, especially to all of our artists who continue to deepen and enrich our engagement with life and do so under the most arduous of conditions. Your courage is exemplary.”
Image: Gabhann Dunne, Warbler