Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Music Relief Fund Opens Grant Applications for Musicians


The Hardly Strictly Music Relief Fund: Bay Area is now accepting applications from local musicians. Created by Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis, this $1.5 million charitable effort seeks to recognize, appreciate, and care for the people who lend their creativity, heart, and hard work to the American roots music ecosystem in the Bay Area. The fund includes $450,000 for individual musicians’ relief and additional support for local music venues and their workers.

The individual grant program is open to roots musicians living full time in San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo, or Sonoma Counties. Applications will be accepted through September 14, 2020, at 5 p.m. Applicants will be notified about their award status by September 25, 2020, followed immediately by the disbursement of funds.

“Our fund for roots music musicians, in the form of grants up to $2,000 in unrestricted funds, is available to all but will give priority to Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color,” says Frances Hellman, one of the directors of the Hellman Foundation, which since 2011, has focused on supporting local organizations and initiatives homegrown in the Bay Area, while bolstering the impact of partner organizations and engaging in strategic public-private partnerships such as Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. “This is not only because these communities have been historically under-funded by philanthropy, but also because they have been adversely affected by the pandemic.”


The Fund will be administered by the Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA) and the Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI). CCI has a longstanding practice of prioritizing those who have been marginalized in the conventional arts and culture field. They have mobilized their many years of expertise in supporting individuals to facilitate COVID relief funds for artists, and have successfully worked with the cities of San Francisco and Oakland, as well as the State of California, on COVID relief. Both ACTA and CCI bring their long commitment and experience as grantmaking intermediaries supporting individual artists and cultural communities towards advancing racial and cultural equity.

“This music relief effort recognizes the impact of artists whose roots music reflects the expressions, histories, and values of their communities,” says Amy Kitchener, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Alliance for California Traditional Arts. “In these pandemic times, supporting artists also acknowledges the deep impact musicians have on cultural continuity.”

The fund’s definition of American roots music acknowledges that the landscape of music in the United States has evolved from a wide variety of musical genres and peoples. Broadly, roots music is shaped by the American social, cultural, and environmental landscape. Roots music is characterized by its deep connection to people and the communities, reflecting a sense of place, history, values, language, and aesthetics.

In addition to the musician grant program, The Hardly Strictly Music Relief Fund includes a grant program for Bay Area music venues with a track record of presenting American Roots styles. The nomination process for venues is now closed with funding announcements being made soon.

For more information on the individual musicians grant opportunity and to apply, visit actaonline.org/hardlystrictly.

For more information on the venue grant opportunity, visit http://www.hardlystrictlybluegrass.com/2020/music-relief/

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GGM Staff


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