(CelebrityAccess) — New England Musicians Relief Fund (NEMRF) has kicked off a new fundraising campaign with a hopeful eye towards distributing $200,000 to musicians in need ahead of the holidays.
The fund, which was launched earlier this year, is intended to help musicians cope with the financial strain that the extended shutdown that the pandemic has imposed on the live events industry.
Any musician in New England and New York’s Upper Hudson Valley facing financial difficulties is invited to apply for a grant from the fund at NEMRF.org/apply.
As the NEMRF noted, financial assistance from the CARES Act has long ago dried up and a new round of federal support appears unlikely in the near future.
“Eight months in, push is coming to shove. For some of us, it is already ‘game over.’ For others, it is a struggle to redefine what we do. For all of us, it is a question of who we are and what we serve,” said violinist and single mom Katherine Winterstein. “It is no longer a question of endurance as much as it is a question of whether or not we can meaningfully adapt to the limited set of options in this new world. It’s hard to even consider those questions when basic survival is still on the line.”
“We’re facing a winter, and possibly longer, of no work and no income. I’m very concerned,” added vocalist Wanda Houston of the Berkshires.
“Without assistance, some musicians will leave the industry, which could devastate our once-vibrant New England arts scene. Helping musicians today is an investment in the quality of life we all hope to return to,” said Hazel Dean Davis, a horn player and one of the founders of NEMRF. “We created NEMRF to help musicians weather the COVID-19 shutdown, but even as we devote all our resources to this current crisis, we realize the need for a safety net will extend beyond the virus. Whether it is long term side effects from COVID, a car accident, a lost instrument, or another nationwide shutdown, the New England Musicians Relief Fund will be here to support musicians in crisis for years to come.”
Supporters wishing to make a tax-deductible donation to the Immediate Relief Fund may do so at NEMRF.org/takeaction.