Teaching Artists to Fish: Artist Rescue Trust’s Direct Relief and Web Monetization Training Program

We are excited to announce that Grant for the Web has awarded the Artist Rescue Trust (A.R.T.) a $299,000 USD grant to support musicians and artists whose ability to perform, tour, and earn a living has been negatively affected by COVID-19.

The business models that have driven artistic sustainability have been upended by the cancellation of live music, gallery openings, book readings, and more. In addition, artists, being self-employed, do not qualify for many of the unemployment benefits offered by the state. 95% of creatives have been negatively affected by the economic fallout of COVID-19 and two-thirds are now unemployed. While COVID-19 has exacerbated the problem, the reality is that many artists struggle to run their business of making art.

“Few industries have been as dramatically impacted by the current COVID crisis as the arts, and we can see how essential artists and their work are to our culture in times like these. Artists, musicians, writers, and other creators' livelihoods are dependent on their ability to create and share their work, and we all depend on this work in so many ways in our lives. We are thrilled to be able to provide more direct relief so they can continue creating. Likewise, this is also an incredible opportunity to help those across the creative spectrum get introduced to and learn how to implement Web Monetization into their work and world, giving them more flexibility and independence. We can’t wait to get started!” Todd Hansen, Program Director, Artist Rescue Trust

A portion of the grant will be dedicated to an outreach director working to make sure the opportunity is connected to communities most in need of relief and who have been traditionally not represented.

With funding from Grant for the Web, A.R.T. will continue to give direct relief but will build and launch a Web Monetization training program to teach artists how to monetize their work and run their businesses-as-artists. They will train over 1000 artists on Web Monetization and reach 20,000+ artists via a campaign about how Web Monetization can help creatives. 

“The Grant for the Web program started issuing grants at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, and we have discussed how we can better get money into the hands of creators most disrupted. We also believe that an ecosystem where creators have more autonomy and tools to directly monetize their creativity helps inoculate our musicians, storytellers, and visual artists from being so vulnerable under the dominant models of the commodification of art. We are eager to help A.R.T. both provide direct relief and build training tools to welcome artist to Web Monetization.” Chris Lawrence, Senior Program Manager, Grant for the Web

A.R.T. is a partnership housed at the Digital Harbour Foundation with partners OcuPop, Kettle, and YŌL

About Artist Rescue Trust – A.R.T. exists to provide support to musicians and artists whose ability to perform, tour, and earn a living has been negatively affected by COVID-19. A.R.T. will provide $1,500 over three months to artists in need and amplify the stories, performances, and creations they had hoped to share with the world before the pandemic limited their ability to do so.

About Web Monetization Web Monetization is a proposed API standard that allows websites to request a stream of very small payments (e.g. fractions of a cent) from a user. In exchange for payments from the user, websites can provide the user with a “premium” experience, such as allowing access to exclusive content, removing advertising, or even removing the need to log in to access content services.

About Grant for the Web Grant for the Web is a $100 million fund that enables content creators and software developers to adopt and advance Web Monetization and the Interledger Protocol: open-source tools for better, alternative online business models that benefit the public good. Grant for the Web is funded and led by Coil, working with founding collaborators Mozilla and Creative Commons. GftW Charter.

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