The life of a working artist is never certain at the best of times, and the pandemic and unrest have made it impossible to earn a living by conventional means. As we all struggle towards a better future together, it’s nothing less than miraculous to find support from within the community we all love and reflect in our art, music and writing. – Booth Fund grantee
Like many of those in our communities, The COVID-19 pandemic has had a deep impact on Oregon’s writers. Many experienced crisis level disruptions to their work, family lives and overall financial security. In response to this need, in April 2020, Literary Arts allocated a significant amount from the Brian Booth Writers’ Fund to create the Booth Emergency Fund for Writers. This emergency fund was designed to provide meaningful financial relief to Oregon’s writers, including cartoonists, spoken word poets and playwrights. Literary Arts prioitized funding for writers identifying as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color who met the eligibility criteria.
In July and August, Literary Arts distributed a total of $150,000 to 150 writers. Over two application periods, 248 writers applied. 67 of these applicants were from BIPOC writers. All of the eligible BIPOC applicants received funding.
The applications were scored by members of the Oregon Book Awards & Fellowships Advisory council and Literary Arts Board of Directors. Evidence of an established writing practice was used to determine eligibility. The primary criteria for determining funding was the applicant’s declaration of need and BIPOC writers.
Funds were designed but not limited to be used for the following:
Recouping financial losses due to cancelled events. This includes but is not limited to readings, panels, residencies and other writing-related opportunities.
Offsetting loss of income for teachers who could not teach during this time because of cancelled classes and/or school closures
Support for artists working full or part-time in the service industry or other professions who have lost income.
The Literary Arts Brian Booth Emergency Fund for Writers provided me with hope in the cavernous darkness of COVID- 19. My emphasis was solely on holding the fringe of life together before receiving the Brain Booth Emergency fund. Although the days are still filled with anxiety and uncertainty funds like these are essential to upholding the necessity of creativity – Booth Fund grantee