GTPulse: Crosshatch Center for Art & Ecology Opens Emergency Artist Fund

It was Corretta Scott King who said, “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members,” and if we’re going by her standards than the northern Michigan community holds rank in greatness, especially during the current adversity that we’re all facing in a pandemic. 

COVID-19 is taking its toll on our health as a worldwide community, and on our time, money and emotions as a smaller, local community. When panic sets in human instinct is to protect you and yours. You can’t help others unless your own breathing mask is on, right? Community members all over northern Michigan are working to help anyone who needs it through acts of humanity and kindness that range from errand running to financial support, to feeding people who need it. In difficult to navigate times, these folks aren’t letting fear congest their sense of neighborly hospitality, and we’re all the better off for it.

A lot of the articles I write for this column are on local artists and makers. These creative jobs are typically gig-based. With an unknown end date in sight for coronavirus, many of these creative gig workers have just lost a huge chunk of their income. Canceled weddings, graduations, art shows and other early spring events have left photographers, videographers, artists and other creatives with no work for the near future. 

Crosshatch Center for Art and Ecology in Bellaire and the Begonia Charitable Foundation teamed up and put together a small emergency fund for creative workers who have lost money during the outbreak.

“We’ve always focused our attention on the artist and not just the art,” Brad Kik, creative director and co-founder of Crosshatch said.

Brad reached out to the Begonia Charitable Foundation with the idea and request to support and artists being impacted negatively from coronavirus.

“They came back quicker than they ever have. Everything came together really quickly. People stepped up,” Brad said.

The fund was posted on Facebook on March 13th. The $9,000 fund allows up to $500 to an artist, gig-based worker who has just lost work.

“Thanks to the Begonia Charitable Foundation and Judy Jones, our two seed donors, we’ve got $9,000 to spend (so far) and can give up to $500 per request, no strings. We know this won’t compensate for all the lost gigs, but hopefully, it helps make a rent payment or car repair in a pinch,” the post read.

The fund is donating to artists, but also accepting donations to keep it going. Brad is also working to be a community coordinator in other ways. He encouraged me to join local Facebook groups that are working to keep the public safe, informed and connected. The groups are Mutual Aid of Northwest Michigan, and Antrim County COVID-19 Help Team. Both are social media resources for people to share news articles, 211 information and neighborly help where needed.

We only get through times like these with the help of our communities. Remember to be gentle with yourself and most importantly, with others.

“This is showing us who we are as a culture and I’m really impressed with the compassion that so many of our community members have shown.”



Categories: GTPulse