Among the communities cut the deepest by the coronavirus pandemic: the visual arts.COVID-19 caused the closing of exhibitions and galleries, and widespread layoffs in the cultural community.
A little relief is on the way.
Visual artists who live in Miami-Dade County can now apply for up to $500 in relief through the Oolite Arts Relief Fund for COVID-19. The fund, launching with $25,000 in seed funding, is designed to help cover lost income due to the cancellation of specific, scheduled employment — whether in the cultural arts sector or not — or a professional artistic opportunity, including commissions and exhibitions.
Several local artists welcomed the offer.
“The last thing people are thinking about is buying art,” said Gonzalo Fuenmayor, a visual artist who is also a studio resident at Oolite Arts, a Miami-based resource group founded originally as Art Center/South Florida 36 years ago by potter Ellie Schneiderman. Oolite aims to help artists find free studio space, exhibition opportunities, support and programming.
Fuenmayor was to have some of his work at fairs in Brazil and Peru in the coming months. The events, like concert tours, movie openings, even album releases, were, of course, canceled. He is spending much of his time, alongside his wife, caring for their children, who are out of school.
“That’s lost studio time. It’s hard to make up,” Fuenmayor said.