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Arts supporters launch 'The New Normal: An Artist's Response to COVID-19'

Posted April 28, 2020

painting of a man wearing a medical mask
'PPE' is an acrylic on canvas by Jay Wilkinson.

The New Normal: An Artist’s Response to COVID-19 challenges local visual artists to create works that reflect their experience living through the pandemic as members of the Fort Worth area community.

Fine Line Group, the family office of Sasha and Edward P. Bass, launched the $100,000 artist initiative to support Fort Worth-area artists. Led by the Fine Line Group, in partnership with the Alice L. Walton Foundation, the Donny Wiley Memorial Fund at the North Texas Community Foundation, and Kit and Charlie Moncrief, the program is designed to support Fort Worth’s economic and emotional recovery through both service and art and will culminate in the creation of an important and profound body of work that interprets and documents the uniquely Fort Worth experience during these uncertain, surreal and often worrisome times.

A recent survey commissioned by Americans for the Arts found that as many as two-thirds of artists in the U.S. are without income due to the pandemic, making it one of the hardest-hit professions in the country. The New Normal initiative is said to be the first of its kind in the U.S., aiming to jumpstart Fort Worth’s creative economy by providing a highly-focused support structure that helps its artists get back to work, while also bringing the Fort Worth community together to share, process and heal through art that truly speaks to what members of the community are experiencing.

“Throughout history, artists have responded to major catastrophes and provided the world with visual interpretations of a reality that captures and preserves the human experience of the time,” said Sasha Bass, the initiative’s founder. “Ed and I, along with our partners, are thrilled to launch this program, which will provide much-needed income to our talented local artists and sustain the creative experiences essential to our communal spirit. Even in this age of social distancing, coming together through art is possible.”

The New Normal is administered by Gallery of Dreams, a Fort Worth nonprofit arts organization established by Lauren Childs of Fort Works Art.

Applicants are asked to submit a written proposal including a personal statement sharing their views on how this opportunity will help them create; an overview of the COVID-19-related work they intend to create; and an idea on how their art can support others. Examples of the artist’s current work, along with a statement of need demonstrating loss of income due to the COVID-19 crisis, are also required. There is no fee to apply. View the application.

A panel of eight influential leaders from Fort Worth’s arts community will manage the selection process. Panelists will review candidate applications and award grants — in increments of either $2,000 or $5,000 — to at least 60 Fort Worth artists based on the strength of their proposal, portfolio and demonstrated financial need.

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