ACE Office partners with Mitch Albom, Huntington, to raise funds for artists

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Literary legend Mitch Albom, Huntington Bank and Metro Solutions have partnered with the Detroit Office of Arts, Culture and Entrepreneurship to host the Metro Detroit COVID-19 Artist Crisis Emergency Fund (A.C.E. Fund) to provide some relief for local arts & cultural workers who are experiencing a sudden and severe loss of wages during the COVID-19 public health crisis.
 
The rapid cancellation of events, performances and conferences and the temporary closure of the hospitality and travel industries have caused Detroit-area artists to face severe income loss. As the City of Detroit, as well as Wayne and Oakland counties, work overtime to help all residents who have lost jobs or income—the A.C.E. Fund will address the plight of individual artists who live from gig to gig, event to event, one 1099 tax form to the next.
 
Musicians across the city lost the places where they perform; painters lost exhibitions to sell their work. Some arts organizations lost their entire spring seasons, leaving artists with talent, but no stage.
 
We have launched a GoFundMe campaign at http://tiny.cc/acefund that will provide unrestricted cash grants to help artists who:

  • Have lost wages and earnings
  • Need reimbursement for conference and travel losses
  • Need funds for medical expenses, rent or mortgage payments, food and utilities, and other living expenses.

 

Our initial goal for the campaign is $50,000. The Fund is expected to exceed $100,000, thanks to initial investments from the Huntington Bank Foundation, Mitch Albom and Rochelle Riley. Anyone and everyone can also donate to the A.C.E. Fund by sending a check to Metro Solutions, 18000 W. Nine Mile Rd. Suite 360, Southfield, MI 48075. Please write A.C.E. Fund in the memo section. Metro Solutions is the fiduciary for the fund. All donations are tax-deductible.

As a part of this campaign, Mitch and Rochelle also are planning a virtual telethon featuring performances by and visits with fine and performing artists and others across the region performing, creating or talking about their work.

We are asking artists of all genres to please send a horizontal video no more than three minutes long, showing them performing, creating or talking about their craft or lives. We will edit these smaller packages into a stream to show our community the genius that exists here. Videos can be submitted to [email protected]. Details of the telethon will be released shortly.

This effort mirrors those in other cities, such as Seattle, Indianapolis and Chicago, where artist emergency relief funds have been established. Germany recently approved a $54 billion national relief package for artists and others impacted by the pandemic.

If our region is as generous as it has always been to the arts communities, the A.C.E. Fund may extend to artists in a larger part of the region. Please join us to help one of our creative community not just survive but thrive when the pandemic ends.

 

How the Fund would work
Applicants will apply directly to the fund here. Metro Solutions will accept online applications and distribute one $500 grant per artist whose livelihood was affected by the pandemic. The funds would be distributed until they run out. Any artists who do not receive awards will be tracked and directed to other resources. We don’t want to leave anyone out.

 

Why this is important
Michigan’s creative industries are part of a national arts and culture segment that is vital to our national, state and local economy. The nation’s culture and creative industries were responsible for 4.5 percent of the 2017 national gross national product, or GDP, according to a just-released Bureau of Economic Analysis report. That compared to 3.7 percent from the U.S. auto industry that year.

 

The impact of COVID-19 on local arts & culture
The pandemic has affected thousands of artists as well as the administrators and employees of more than 200 arts and cultural organizations in Detroit, Wayne and Oakland counties creative economy, including those that teach children.

Even as artists reel from the health crisis, they are seeking ways to inspire through social media. The music we’re listening to and shows we’re watching and books we’re reading and games we’re playing are testimonies to the way the arts provide us joy in times of pain.

We are asking the entire creative community and its supporters to share news of The Fund on social media to amplify our efforts to serve and support our community at this difficult time.

Artists and supporters can find updated information daily on the ACE Office website.

 

Six ways to support local arts & culture in Detroit, Wayne and Oakland counties

  • Donate to the A.C.E. Fund.
  • Visit detroitmi.gov/ace to learn more about the growing number of resources for artists and arts and culture organizations. Notify the ACE Office about other opportunities by sending them to [email protected].
  • Donate tickets to canceled events back to the organization instead of asking for a refund.
  • Donate directly to arts and culture organizations and venues that you value.
  • Buy art from individual artists as they share their work on social media. The City’s ACE Office has partnered with MOCAD to sell the works of artists impacted by the pandemic. Visit www.mocad.org to learn more.
  • Become members of our city treasures, our museums as well as arts and cultural organizations. Buy gift cards that can be used in the fall.

 

MITCH ALBOM is an internationally renowned and best-selling author, journalist, screenwriter, playwright, radio and television broadcaster and musician. His books have sold more than 40 million copies worldwide and been published in 49 territories and 47 languages around the world. Some have made into Emmy Award-winning and critically-acclaimed television movies.

METRO SOLUTIONS is a leading fiscal oversight fiduciary that connects community organizations to funding. It helps a diverse community of service providers  acquire funds and maximize resources through a full suite of grants management and consultative services.

THE DETROIT OFFICE OF ARTS, CULTURE AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP was established in 2019 to: give shape and focus to Detroit’s investments in arts and culture; advocate for opportunities for one of the most inventive and resourceful creative communities in the world;  lead efforts to attract additional funding and talent to help build on Detroit’s vibrant arts, cultural and creative sector; and to integrate arts and culture into the city’s strategic plans to transform neighborhoods. It is managed by Rochelle Riley, the city’s Director of Arts and Culture.

HUNTINGTON BANK has earned a reputation for strong community involvement and supportive civic leadership for over 150 years. With a network of nearly 1000 branches in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania, Huntington believes that developing relationships and investing in local nonprofit and charitable organizations builds healthy and vibrant communities. Huntington continues the tradition of providing meaningful support to charitable programs and initiatives that seek to improve self-sufficiency and quality of life in the communities served by Huntington.

What you should know

  • Artists must live in Detroit, Wayne County or Oakland County.
  • Ability to award grants would depend on how much money is raised.
  • Metro Solutions would award the grants on a weekly basis.
  • Any artist who doesn’t fill out the application completely may have the application rejected. Metro Solutions would email them regarding those applications (if they provided an email address) so they could re-apply. No artist will be rejected because of an error or technicality.
  • To quickly assist as many people as possible, the partners decided on fixed-amount grants to everyone. That amount would be $500 each.

 

Media Contact
Rochelle Riley
313-720-1016
[email protected]