Preston Artists Coronavirus Hardship Fund

NOTE: The crowdfunder is for artists of any kind, including (but not limited to): performers, poets, actors, writers, photographers, painters, sculptors, sound artists and musicians.

IN A NUTSHELL: This crowdfunder is raising money for artists and creatives in Preston to produce new works to be performed/displayed after the covid-19 lockodwn is lifted.

My name is Garry Cook, I’m a freelance photographer and arts producer based in Preston. I’ve been putting on theatre and spoken-word performances in the city and around the North West for the past few years.

I’m launching this Go Fund Me campaign for two reasons. As a freelance creative, I know how difficult this coronavirus lockdown has been for artists. Many already work on tight budgets and are now really struggling after having commissions and jobs cancelled. And secondly, because of this covid-19 lockdown, this city and its people have been starved of live theatre, performance and art experience – and I want to make sure we bounce back with a celebration of this area’s brilliant creativity.

The initial idea of the fundraiser is to provide five artists with £200 each. If more money is raised, more artists will receive £200. The money will be paid upfront to artists in order to give them immediate financial support during a period where many of them will not have any income.

Then – when all this is over – the aim is to get as many people as possible to see the new works (whatever they may be) so that the people of Preston and the wider area of Lancashire can experience great art and performance – and feel proud of the city and the place they live.

However, this crowdfunder differs in two ways from others currently active in cities across the country.

Firstly, the money is essentially payment for artists to produce a piece of new work of their choice. I would like that work to be performed or displayed in Preston, Lancashire, on one night or more, sometime after this covid-19 lockdown is lifted (date(s) to be confirmed, possibly in October 2020). If an artwork, the artist should be willing to attend the opening and introduce their work.

Secondly, unlike other hardship funds this WILL NOT be done on a first-come, first served basis. All applications will be assessed on artistic merit. I will assess them (and may ask a trusted arts-based practitioner to help me).

Please share this fundraiser with all your friends and contacts, particularly local businesses and organisations who you think may like to be involved. I’m hoping some of the city’s bigger institutions will step forward and donate to this fundraiser, and stand alongside the people of this city in supporting its great and growing creative sector.

For the artists getting the money:

My only firm stipulations for suitability of work are that the applications demonstrate high artistic quality. I will be looking for a diverse range of art forms.

My own work in the arts has seen me put on a load of performance shows in several venues across the city, often bringing nationally and internationally acclaimed performers and shows to Preston. But part of my work, particularly during Lancashire Fringe Festival in 2019, has been developing new, emerging and local talent – which is where this crowdfunder is focused.

Preston has made huge strides in arts and cultures over the last ten years and I want the creatives instrumental in this growth can be supported during this hugely difficult time,

If £1,000 is raised, I will immediately assess applications and commission five creatives. This process will be repeated after every additional £1,000 (with ALL applications reconsidered, so no need to re-apply.

Information and how to apply
For any performances or exhibitions of new art works, I will organise venues and logistics, working with all artists involved. You can see some of the performers I’ve brought to the city enjoyshow.co.uk – but please don’t let these examples limit your ideas.

The only criteria needed to apply for this funding is that you can demonstrate a connection with Preston and are willing to perform/display your new work in the city later this year (possibly in October as stated already). The money raised for this crowdfunder is available to anyone who works as a creative, including students. Individuals or groups can apply. If it is successful, I expect a lot more applications than I can commission and appreciate that too many people will not be funded by this project – but I’m hoping it will really make a difference to some of the fantastic creatives currently living and working within this city.

I’ll do my best to answer any questions (within a reasonable time).

To apply for this fund email gazcook@googlemail.com with:

Your name, address and contact details
Your bank details
Your connection with Preston (one sentence)
Brief description of new work you would like to create (300 words max)
NOTE: Photographs/videos/web links of proposed work/previous work are welcome (and are not counted as part of the 300 word project description)

Further information:
I appreciate that for some artists £200 will not cover materials costs. For example, this money would not cover the printing and framing of photographs for an exhibition – but I would not want a photographer to be deterred from entering. I appreciate that a meaningful photography project could not be carried out under lockdown, but new/recent work – not previously exhibited – is welcome to be submitted.

If you are submitting a single piece of new artwork, exhibiting existing additional work may be possible.

Unfortunately, there will be no additional funds available above the £200, but where possible I will aim to assist in reducing production costs either through support of local businesses, loan of equipment or support in kind.

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