The J. Paul Getty Trust will create a $10 million COVID-19 relief fund to support Los Angeles-based non-profit museums and visual arts organizations in response to the coronavirus crisis, the J. Paul Getty Trust’s Board of Trustees announced Thursday.
The fund, to be administered by the California Community Foundation, will provide emergency operating support and recovery grants to small and mid-size organizations located in Los Angeles County. The efforts will focus on museums and arts non-profits that contribute significantly to the region’s artistic diversity and are facing great difficulty during the coronavirus crisis. Getty invites other organizations and individuals to contribute to the LA Arts COVID-19 Relief Fund.
In addition, the CCF Fellowships for Visual Artists, launched more than 30 years ago through an endowment from the J. Paul Getty Trust to the California Community Foundation, will this year be repurposed to provide emergency support to visual artists.
“Over the last 20 years Los Angeles has become one of the most vibrant, diverse, and relevant visual arts centers in the world, and we want to be certain that the region is able to remain a global arts leader,” said Getty President James Cuno. “Getty has been proud to play a role in this coming of age by leading the Pacific Standard Time regional arts collaboration. And at this juncture, we are moved by a sense of responsibility to support many of those same organizations as they struggle with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic fallout.”
“The Board offers its resounding support of this measure and encourages other local leaders and arts lovers to join us in this effort,” said Getty Board Chair David Lee. “Los Angeles is unique in the willingness of the arts sector to collaborate, and the current crisis gives those who are in a position to help the opportunity to band together and do even more for the cultural institutions and artists that drive our region’s creative economy.”
Grant details will be finalized in the coming days. Getty has a long-established relationship with the California Community Foundation, which has been entrusted by others to manage the distribution of over 1,700 funds. It is expected that the CCF will be funding Los Angeles-area arts organizations with grants in amounts ranging from $25,000 to $200,000. More information on grant guidelines, including an online portal to make individual donations to the relief fund, will be available soon on CCF and Getty websites.
“There will be a measurable economic and cultural ripple effect that will be felt in every city and town as arts organizations and artists struggle to lift themselves back up after the impact of COVID-19,” said CCF President Antonia Hernandez. “Los Angeles is a world-class art capital and a place where we proudly support and value our artists and arts organizations. We are proud to partner with the Getty to help our arts community shoulder the unprecedented challenges it faces."
Getty leaders have been communicating with local arts organizations since the beginning of the crisis to better understand their needs and to determine the optimal forms of support. What emerged as the highest priorities are short-term emergency funds, followed by longer-term transition planning to support recovery efforts amidst the disruptions created by the pandemic.
The Getty Foundation saw the success of similar strategies in providing support to the cultural sector in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Getty’s Fund for New Orleans helped guide arts organizations through difficult scenario-planning activities to restore and adjust operations. Participating organizations developed creative solutions, such as merging institutions and sharing staff, to survive and in some cases thrive in the immediate aftermath of this natural disaster.
“This is a critical moment for arts organizations, particularly small and mid-size ones, which have little working capital and meager, if any, endowments,” said Joan Weinstein, director of the Getty Foundation, an operating program of the Getty Trust. “We hear almost daily from arts organizations that they will be forced to lay off staff in the coming weeks, and we know that there will likely be no quick or easy ‘on’ switch that returns any of us to previous norms. These organizations provide crucial access to the arts for all Angelenos and deserve the support of everyone in the community.”
Getty’s commitment to COVID-19 crisis support will not impact its plans to support regional visual arts organizations for a third Pacific Standard Time in fall 2024. Planning for the third iteration of PST is well underway, and the first round of PST research grants will be awarded this summer.
The J. Paul Getty Trust, which includes the Getty Foundation, Getty Conservation Institute, Getty Research Institute, and J. Paul Getty Museum, has also committed to paying all of its 1,400 hourly and salaried employees through the immediate coronavirus crisis, including full benefits and an augmented paid sick leave.
The non-profit Getty Trust relies on revenue from its endowment to support its own significant operations. This includes free public admission to its two museums and a wide array of public programming at both sites; annual school arts programs for 150,000 Los Angeles-area students; grants for the research and preservation of art locally, nationally, and around the world; academic and scholarly research hosted at the world’s largest art library; and advancing conservation practice for cultural heritage worldwide.
For more information, inquiries, or to make a donation to the fund, visit https://www.calfund.org/la-arts-covid19-relief-fund/.