For years, the Sundance Institute has been a powerful advocate and helping hand for countless creatives and storytellers. However, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the organization realized that it needed "a radical shift in strategy".

This morning, the Sundance Institute announced that in response to the staggering effects of the coronavirus on the creative community, it has set up an emergency fund for struggling artists, including those working in film, media, and theater, totaling $1 million. 

One-third of the fund will be reserved for immediate support of 100 "Sundance Institute-curated artists", including the 2020 spring and summer Lab participants. The grant money can be used to help with living expenses, emergency costs, or even project development. The Sundance Institute also pledges to give these artists "creative and strategic support" through Lab programs, which have been moved over to the online platform Sundance Co//ab due to social distancing requirements.

The other two-thirds will be reserved to support the "wider community of independent artists." The Sundance Institute has partnered with other arts organizations and leading national grantmakers to launch Artist Relief, a cross-disciplinary, needs-based fund that will provide financial support to artists totaling $5000. Furthermore, emergency funds will also go to support independent artist organizations in the United States and internationally, namely ones serving in historically underrepresented communities.

Back in March, the Sundance Institute detailed how it was going to "reimagine the future", restructuring its approach to helping artists amid the challenges of a dangerous pandemic, including introducing adapting programs for Co//ab and making certain resources free to artists. So, it has been clear since the beginning of the crisis that the organization's concerns for creatives reach much further than just their finances.

"Three things are clear," Sundance Institute top leaders Keri Putnam, Michelle Satter, and Tabitha Jackson said in a joint statement. "First, it is essential that significant resources go directly to artists who are struggling financially, in order to support their basic needs and their work. Second, the need right now is greater than any one artist or group and disproportionately affects artists from historically underrepresented communities. Third, it’s clear that collaboration and collective impact will be needed to address the extent of the challenge."

To learn more about the Sundance Institute's new emergency fund, head on over to its website. If you're interested in applying for the Artist Relief fund, click here.