Aid For Art Now (AFAN) is a horizontal network for the exchange of monetary, informational, and interpersonal resources by and for arts workers. With members spanning a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds, disciplines, geographic contexts, and professional affiliations, this mutual aid project aims to sustain and support current and prospective arts workers, with priority given to arts workers who are Black, Indigenous, undocumented, trans, queer, and/or disabled.
We share a commitment to radical transformation within the arts field through the anticapitalist framework of mutual aid. Drawing inspiration from both recent and historic mutual aid efforts, we recognize that mutual aid is a long-term commitment to addressing the needs of art workers in times of both crisis and abundance, and we encourage individuals to give and request funds in a sustained way. Structured collaboratively and non-hierarchically, AFAN invites all that are interested to join and shape our organizing work.
Frequently asked questions
How can I get in touch?
We encourage you to reach out with any questions about our model and structure. Our project relies on trust, consent, and mutual care, and we welcome the opportunity to discuss with you directly. We encourage you to email or DM us @aid4artnow directly with any questions or feedback. If you are already involved in a mutual aid project, please also reach out as we are eager to support parallel initiatives.
Who are the AFAN organizers?
AFAN organizers are arts workers spanning a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds, disciplines, geographic contexts, and professional affiliations. We welcome anyone who self-identifies as an arts worker, including artists, musicians, designers, and prospective arts workers, to join. Note that we do encourage both arts workers and those outside the field with the capacity to redistribute funds and share other resources to do so.
How do I receive financial resources?
If you are an arts worker, or prospective worker in the field, and would like to receive financial resources, please complete this form, which aims to protect anonymity or help you find ways to amplify your work.
AFAN distributes funds on a cyclical basis, with applications open for one month, followed by a fundraising period to best meet the needs of those requesting. Approved recipients can expect to receive funds within a month of the application cycle closing. Due to high demand and our fundraising limits, we cannot guarantee that every applicant will receive funds. We encourage everyone to (re)apply.
When can I apply to receive financial resources?
Our current application cycle is open from April 7 to May 5, 2021. Once the application cycle closes on May 5, we will review requests and redistribute funds at the end of the month.
If your request is or becomes more urgent than the time frame we’ve outlined above, please indicate on your application and email us the additional info at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will try our best to accommodate your needs outside of the cycle, though we do have a limited financial pool for requests of this nature.
Who is eligible to receive funds?
In order to request funds or participate in AFAN, you simply need to self-identify as an arts worker. We define this expansively, recognizing that many workers in our field take on jobs outside of the arts field due to current labor and compensation conditions. Our only stipulation is self-accountability when requesting funds, as trust and honesty are fundamental values of AFAN and the future of the arts we envision.
AFAN is founded on ideas of trust and accountability between individuals, and we trust that all participants will keep this in mind in requesting funds based on financial need and our prioritization of arts workers who are Black, Indigenous, undocumented, trans, disabled, and/or queer.
What is the maximum amount I can request?
Given our current funding and our desire to meet all incoming requests, we have set a $250 limit. As our funding pool expands, we are hoping to remove this limit and, in the interim, we encourage you to reapply for funds as needed.
How many times can I apply?
You can request funds as many times as you need. We do ask in the participation form that you indicate a timeframe for need, which we will use to prioritize order of distribution. If you have any specific concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out by email or DM on Instagram @aid4artnow.
Can I both share and receive resources?
Yes. AFAN believes that if you are sharing non-financial resources, you should be compensated for your labor and time.
AFAN recognizes that so many people in this field are generous in sharing their skills, knowledge, access to professional development, and/or often limited financial resources while they are in need of resources and support as well. AFAN’s members believe that arts workers, and prospective arts workers, cannot operate from a scarcity mindset or overextend themselves in order to create the art worlds we want.
AFAN organizing members currently operate on a volunteer basis, and we welcome volunteer resource-sharers to help build this by redistributing their skills, knowledge, and access to professional development. However, we ask that you do consider requesting funds through our standard request form.
How do I share financial resources?
You can share your financial resources right now by using Venmo or PayPal. You can directly transfer funds to our @aid4artnow accounts with these platforms, which our volunteers will redistribute based on the recipients’ self-identified need and urgency.
We plan to build out capabilities for fund transfer via our website soon. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Can I send funds directly to participants?
We will be using Instagram to amplify direct funding requests from participants who choose to identify themselves publicly. You can directly transfer funds to those individuals in the AFAN mutual aid project following the information they provide publicly.
How do I share non-financial resources?
Please complete the Airtable form here with your name, contact details, resources you would like to distribute, availability, and whether you would like to be added to a Slack channel with prospective recipients of your resources. Please let us know if you prefer that AFAN connect you directly with prospective recipients. We respect everyone’s right to privacy and will not publish or release your name or contact information without explicit written permission.
Are you a 501c3?
No, we are not registered as a 501c3. Our network is rooted in a shared understanding that most art institutions and other arts nonprofits are not meeting the needs of their workers. We believe in our own collective power to directly meet our needs and seek to build a transparent, accountable framework that does not rely on tax-exempt registration as a charitable organization.
How do I get involved as an organizer?
Please complete the form linked here and request to be added to our Slack channel. We hold monthly meetings on Zoom at 5:30pm PDT/6:30pm CDT/7:30pm EDT. We welcome you to join us!
New people regularly join and if you can only make it to a couple of meetings to familiarize themselves with our work, that is still welcome. We also welcome you to join for the long haul! Both and any type of participation is encouraged, and we recognize AFAN members have many commitments. As more members join, we anticipate and hope that our group’s scope, strategies, and collaborative nature will continue to evolve.