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Emergency relief fund aims to help South Dakota artists during pandemic

(KSFY)
Published: Jun. 23, 2020 at 6:24 PM CDT
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Art usually brings people together as a community. However, with social distancing and events being canceled, some South Dakota artists are finding it harder to make a living. So a non-profit is helping out.

Recently, Amanda Boerger took a leap of faith.

"I left my full-time job in November. I was working at a preschool. To kind of pursue this more fully,” said Boerger.

Diving headfirst into her artwork.

"I've since scheduled an art exhibition or an art market or some event of some kind for every month from February until September,” said Boerger.

But then the pandemic hit.

“All of which, besides one were canceled because of COVID,” said Boerger.

She's not alone. Krisitne Reiner has her own art business, Krisitne's Artwork.

“I had to cancel all of my events and that's kind of where I make my money and I meet my clientele and how I get my name out there, essentially,” said Reiner.

It's the same story with Darwin Wolf, a well known Sioux Falls sculptor.

"People are more concerned about paying the bills and art is kind of set aside,” said Wolf.

But for these artists, their art does pay their bills. So the non-profit Arts South Dakota decided to help out.

“So many organizations have been covered by things like the CARES act, funding from the NEA, the state arts council, the PPE loans, and many artists have just kind of been left behind in that. So we are trying to find a way to fill that gap,” said Andrew Reinartz, Community Development Director for Arts South Dakota.

The Artist Emergency Relief Fund will provide grants of $500 and $1,000.

"A lot of people are like ‘Oh, art that's not work. That's not anything. It's just fun.’ But to get that recognition and to say ‘Hey we want to help you too’ that’s really what makes me love this community so much,” said Reiner.

So far over 120 artists have applied for the relief fund. From all types of disciplines, such as dancers, musicians, traditional arts, and photography.

“We've had people from 19 to 75 and over 50 communities in the state represented, which I think just really shows how much the arts are embedded in every community throughout the state,” said Reinartz

Applications for the first round of relief funding closes Thursday, June 25th at midnight. Click here:

for more information. Arts South Dakota also has COVID-19 resources available on their website for artists:

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You can find these local artists here:

While many South Dakota artists can apply, the fund focuses on prioritizing rural and native nation artists who lack access to resources found in larger communities.

Eventually, Arts South Dakota would like to make this fund permanent. The fund would help artists with issues like medical emergencies or natural disasters.

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