The seats are empty, the stages in darkness and the gallery walls bare – it’s a tough time just now to be a performer or artist.
That reality was the impetus for Plan B, a crowdfunding campaign directed at raising money to support K-W artists in need in the face of COVID-19.
The fundraising idea was pitched by Neruda Arts artistic director Isabel Cisterna, who brought together MT Space artistic director Pam Patel and actors Terry Barna and Jennifer Cornish to bring Plan B to light.
With a GoFundMe page, the group has raised more than $6,000 towards the initial goal of $8,000, though that target is likely to be extended, said Patel this week.
Everyone in the artistic community is in the same boat, as there can be no audiences for any kind of event. While the local arts scene is small, it’s supportive, she said.
“We have a really good system here of being coordinated.
“Art in all its forms is what’s going to carry us through this pandemic and into the world again as we come out of it, and we must protect our artists in the face of financial loss.”
With a cut-off this week, the organizers will be making the first $4,000 available to artists based on an application process, with the allocation to be decided in a jury-style format. There will be another round of funding again next month, said Patel, noting there are no strings attached to the support funding.
“They can use it to pay the rent, or to buy some groceries …”
The funding is open to Waterloo Region residents who make their living predominantly in the arts.
With the selection process, the group will be looking to spread funding through various art forms, from music and theatre through fine arts.
“It’ll be interesting to see what medium or art form people apply for,” she said.
Pretty much everyone in the arts is suffering at this point, she said, noting her theatre, MT Space, has been able to pay some cancellation fees to actors, though that’s not always the case. With no live music, theatre or art viewings, for instance, it’s a rough time for a whole raft of people in the arts community.
With Plan B, the idea is to provide at least some funding until the situation changes.
“We’re looking to raise some money to bridge the gap,” she said.
And the gap is likely to continue for some time. There have already been cancellations of summer events such as festivals, which are typically busy times for musicians, for example, and main sources of revenue for some arts organizations.
“It’s going to be a really hard time for gigging musicians.”
In its early stages still, Plan B is likely to evolve along with the situation we’re all facing just now, she added.
“There really are so many unknowns. Things are changing on a daily basis.”
More information, including links to donate or to apply for funding, can be found at the MT Space website.