Dear Maury –


Thanks for your questions, and for starting this email chain!  Its been very helpful to understand what other UAFs are doing.  The answers to your 4 questions below are yes, yes, yes, and yes.


In early March, as the outbreak was very visible here in King County in Washington state, ArtsFund developed a 3-pronged response strategy targeting our grantees, the art community in general, and the public.  The three elements are galvanizing fundraising, sharing information, and collecting data.



We established an Arts Emergency Relief Fund, which we launched on March 20 and have raised $2M to date.  We organized the Fund in concert with the major arts organizations in the city, who worked with us to identify donors that have the capacity to support their primary arts organizations as well as our relief fund which supports the sector.  We also worked in partnership with the city of Seattle and King County, each have their own arts agencies, announcing what each was doing the same week and together committing to invest $4M into the sector in the next 30 days.  An important partner in these efforts is Artist Trust, who is running a campaign to support individual artists.  We speak weekly about our complementary efforts.



Regular messaging is being shared on our digital platforms and our email blasts.  Messaging includes what we are learning about impacts on the sector, recommended actions such as donating back tickets rather than asking for refunds for cancelled events, and donating now and often to arts organizations.  We are currently working with city and state art agencies to create a joint messaging brief so we are all using the same data and making similar recommendations.


Data Gathering

We conducted our first survey 2 weeks ago and shared results with the sector, the media, and electeds.  Early estimates are $74M in financial losses if organizations must stay closed through May.  We are planning to update those numbers in 2 weeks


Amidst all of this, we are continuing to conduct our annual campaign with previous donors, because we want to pay out our operating grants at the same level as last year, and we want to do that 2 months earlier than usual.  This is a stretch goal we’ve set for ourselves.  Our annual fundraising luncheon was  cancelled and our workplace giving campaigns will not be robust. 


We’re all building this plane as we’re flying it!



Susan M. Coliton

ArtsFund | Interim President and CEO

O: 206-281-9050 | D: 206-788-3041 | facebook | twitter


Please note our new location - 100 W. Harrison St., South Tower, Suite 150

Seattle, WA 98119


ArtsFund is Celebrating 50 years! Visit to learn more.



From: <> On Behalf Of Debra Heintz
Sent: Wednesday, April 1, 2020 9:03 AM
Subject: Re: [Americans for the Arts] The COVID-19 Virus and the Arts


This is the time of year when we do corporate visits for our Annual Campaign.   Of course we can't "visit" right now.  One sponsor notified me yesterday ($10,000) that they are re-thinking their gifts in view of being closed for the last month and anticipating an even longer closure.  They said they would do $4,200 for an event they had already committed to, but would have to wait on further donations.   I'm wondering if the other 12-15 corporate donors will have a similar reaction.  Possible losses of $35-$50,000.   Uncertain until this pandemic passes.


We have canceled events, Lost about $5,000 in rentals, nearly $20K overall with Ag & Art Tour, Film Festival, In-School Shows.   Some will be rescheduled, but not in this fiscal year.

We do have some reserves, thankfully.  In the meantime, we are scheduling maintenance that is difficult to get done when open to the general public.   (Painting the galleries, upgrade plumbing and correct some structural issues, clean carpets, etc.)  We are not yet considering an Emergency Relief Fund, but may end up applying for some payroll relief through a government program. 

Glad we saved a little for a rainy day.  So far no staff reductions, working remotely, and paying hourly people to clean/organize storage closets, make small repairs, etc.    


Our state Arts Commission has offered extended deadlines on using grant money and may actually waive some of the matching fund requirements.  We are all trying to work together to make the impact manageable.

Just praying that this will be over by the end of April and things may get back to normal.  Some difficult days are ahead, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. 

Good luck everyone.



Debra Heintz

Executive Director

Arts Council of York County

PO Box 2797

Rock Hill, SC  29732



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On Tue, Mar 31, 2020 at 2:33 PM Maury Sparrow <> wrote:

Hello all,


Strange times we find ourselves in. I hope each of you are safe and healthy, even as the arts are suffering tremendously.


I’d like to open a discussion here about how each of your organizations are addressing the pandemic.


  • Our annual Fund for the Arts campaign began with high hopes and tremendous excitement on Tuesday, March 10 and by Monday, March 16 we were all working remotely, and the campaign was at a stand-still.
  • We were planning a joint press conference with our Mayor, VisitLEX (our CVB), Breeders’ Cup and Equitana USA about 2020 being ‘the year of the horse’ in Lexington and rolling out a major public art project for the fall, Horse Mania.
  • We are now considering if and how we might engage an Emergency Relief Fund for the arts in Central Kentucky. (We’ll be on the AFTA webinar tomorrow at 3pm.)


I’m curious to know how your organization is faring and the steps you’re taking to address this very unstable time for the arts.

  • If you are currently in the midst of an annual campaign, are you considering postponing or extending?
  • Are you considering an Emergency Relief Fund?
  • Have you made adjustments to your grants deadlines, eligibility, etc?
  • Do you, or did you, have major fundraisers that have been canceled or postponed?


We’ll get through this stronger together; it’s only intermission. If anyone is interested in a virtual meeting, I’d be interested, too. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.


Warm regards,




Maury Sparrow

Communications Director 


Helping art come to life    OFFICE  859.255.2951    CELL  859.351.3502   

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