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Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Photo: YBCA/Flickr.
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Photo: YBCA/Flickr.

San Francisco to Provide Six Months’ Basic Income to Select Local Artists

The city of San Francisco in conjunction with the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) has announced that it will award 130 local artists $1,000 per month for six months as the arts community there, like those around the world, continues to struggle amid the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. The funding, which comes from an $870,000 city grant approved late last year by the San Francisco Arts Commission, will be administered by the YBCA and is open to those in all fields of the arts, including fine arts, music, dance, creative writing, film, theater, and arts education. Applications are being accepted through April 15, with recipients notified by April 20, and first payments going out in May.

In order to qualify, applicants must be able to prove residency in one of the thirteen of San Francisco’s twenty-seven zip codes shown to have the greatest number of Covid-19 cases, as well as meeting other criteria. Applicants must have an annual personal income of below $60,900, and must show that their practice is “rooted in a historically marginalized community,” according to the YBCA website. The funding comes with no strings attached; recipients do not need to produce a project with the money, or to show how they spent it.

“From the first day the pandemic arrived in San Francisco, we knew that this health crisis would impact artists, and artists of color in particular,” said San Francisco mayor London Breed. “The arts are truly critical to our local economy and are an essential part of our long-term recovery. If we help the arts recover, San Francisco will recover.”

Among the districts in which resident artists are eligible for the grant are the hard-hit Bayview and the Mission. Latinos in the Mission, especially, have suffered: Though they make up just 15 percent of the population there, Latin Americans have to date accounted for 41 percent of Covid-19 cases and 21 percent of deaths in the district.