The Hudson Arts Emergency Program, a community-funded, WPA-style project, will support individual artists with stipends for projects that speak to life in Hudson during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.
A project developed by the Hudson Development Corporation (HDC) Emergency Cultural Task Force, the program seeks to create a means to assist creative workers in Hudson by supporting projects that would benefit both them and the greater community via meaningful employment during this time when their earning potential has been greatly impacted if not totally eliminated. Creative artists are often ineligible for government aid programs that are based on job losses rather than loss of income and opportunity.
Funding for the project will rely on donations from individual and organizational sponsors. As of 10 a.m. on April 29, the amount of $6,500 had been pledged to the project. Stipends will be awarded in amounts of $500, $1,000, and $2,000, depending upon the scope of the projects.
Contributions to the artist emergency fund can be made via PayPal at hudsonfirst.com and reimaginehudson.com or by sending a check made out to Hudson Development Corp. with Arts Fund in the memo line, mailed to: Hudson Development Corporation, Attn: Hudson Arts Emergency Program, 1 North Front St., Hudson, NY 12534
The program will be administered through the HDC, which is a 501(c)3 and therefore equipped to collect tax-deductible contributions and to distribute funds for such a program. All funds raised will go directly to individual artists, with a very small amount set aside for administrative costs.
Potential grantees will complete a simple application form downloadable at hudsonfirst.com and reimaginehudson.com. Proposals will be reviewed as quickly as they come in and funding will begin immediately and continue on a rolling basis.
The program takes its inspiration from the mid-1930s Works Progress Administration (WPA), a New Deal agency established in the wake of the Great Depression that employed musicians, artists, writers, dancers, choreographers, photographers, actors, and directors in large arts, drama, media, performance, and literary projects. People like John Steinbeck, Alice Neel, Jackson Pollock, Arthur Miller, Elia Kazan, and Ralph Ellison received such WPA grants years before they became household names.
Some examples of potential projects:
- an artist or group of (appropriately social-distanced) artists could paint a mural or series of murals around Hudson
- a musician or composer could create a song cycle, opera, rap, or instrumental work addressing the emotional impact of the pandemic, culminating in a recording, video, and/or public performance once the quarantine is lifted
- a historian could record residents discussing life in Hudson during the pandemic shutdown, culminating in a radio broadcast, podcast, and an historical artifact
- a filmmaker could create a series of portraits for broadcast on the local cable-TV channel or for streaming on YouTube, Facebook, or other online media platform
- a painter could be commissioned to paint images of life in Hudson during the pandemic shutdown that will culminate in a public exhibition
- a dancer/choreographer could be commissioned to create a piece about life in Hudson during the pandemic shutdown that will culminate in a video or public viewing
- a photographer could document the streets and scenes of Hudson during the pandemic shutdown that would culminate in an online and/or gallery exhibition
- a writer or poet could create texts reflecting life in Hudson during the pandemic shutdown that could culminate in a chapbook, a slam-poetry session, and/or a collection of other writers works
With input from the public and the HDC, the program was created by [the] Emergency Cultural Task Force, led by Seth Rogovoy, working in tandem with Linda Mussmann and Jonah Bokaer.