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Individual artists in El Paso and Teller counties can apply for a $500 grant to help ease financial burdens caused by COVID-19. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the livelihoods of musicians, performers, artists and other creatives in the Pikes Peak region, leading the Bee Vradenburg Foundation to help stem the financial fallout by partnering with Pikes Peak Community Foundation to create the Artist Recovery Fund.

Individual artists in El Paso and Teller counties who have lost more than $500 because of canceled performances, art openings, lessons or other revenue-generating artistic streams can apply for a $500 grant to cover immediate and essential expenses, such as shelter, food and transportation. The fund, announced Monday, will operate on a first-come, first-served basis for as long as money is available. Applicants can go online to beevradenburgfoundation.org/grantseekers for information and an application.

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“We wanted to move quickly, knowing this segment of the community will be so essential to recovery,” Bee Vradenburg Foundation Executive Director David Siegel said. “For centuries the arts have brought a community through crisis and times of need. When we’re in a place to begin recovery, it will be essential to have a thriving arts community.”

The first round of funding will cover canceled events through May. Bee Vradenburg Foundation will then reassess the needs of the community. The fund was seeded with $25,000 from the foundation, but other donors are encouraged to increase the available amount.

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“It’s the largest single gift in the history of the foundation,” Siegel said.

“We’ve made larger grants, but they were paid out over many years. In terms of a single check, this is the largest single gift. We want to support as many artists as possible.”

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Arts nonprofits in the Pikes Peak region have an economic impact of $172 million annually, he said.

“That’s arts nonprofits alone. It doesn’t include a lot of the work of individual artists,” Siegel said. “That number doesn’t capture the full breadth of it.”

Contact the writer: 636-0270

Contact the writer: 636-0270

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