ANONYMOUS WAS A WOMAN Emergency Relief Grant

This program will distribute $250,000 in grants, up to $2,500 apiece, to women-identifying visual artists over the age of 40 who have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

Anonymous Was A Woman (AWAW) has partnered with the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) to launch an emergency relief grant program to support artists impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The program will distribute $250,000 in unrestricted grants, up to $2,500 apiece, to artists who have experienced financial hardship from loss of income or opportunity as a direct result of the crisis. As with AWAW’s annual award, the program is open to women-identifying visual artists over the age of 40 in the United States and territories, and aims to address the unique challenges faced by artists in middle age or older, particularly at this critical time. A link to the application form will be made available here on Monday, April 6 at 10:00 AM EDT.



APPLICATION CLOSES: Wednesday, April 8, 2020, 6:00 PM EDT

APPLICATION NOTIFICATION: By Thursday, April 30, 2020

Due to anticipated high demand, applications will be accepted from Monday, April 6 through Wednesday, April 8. All applications will be reviewed after the closing date. Funds will be awarded to eligible applicants in the order in which applications are received.


  • Applicants must be visual artists identifying as women (who work in Digital/New Media, Drawing, Film/Video, Installation, Painting, Photography, Sculpture).
  • Applicants must be 40 years or older on the date their application is submitted.
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate activity in their artistic discipline over the past 5 years.
  • Applicants must show documented losses of income for the period of February 1 – July 30, 2020.
  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents in any of the 50 states, District of Columbia or U.S. territories.


  • Description of losses along with documentation in the form of signed contracts, email confirmations, letters of agreement or materials describing the confirmed date of activity and fee to be paid.
  • Proof of cancellation of activity in the form of state-based shutdown communication, email or personal communication about closure/job loss/opportunity postponement, etc).
  • Amount requested. Any amount up to $2,500.
  • Demonstration of artistic activity over the last 5 years. This can be in the form of a CV/resume, link to website, copies of press or recent grant awards.
  • Proof of age. Upload passport or state-issued ID.

All questions should be directed to


Q: Where do I find the application?

A: A link to the application will appear on this page beginning Monday, April 6 at 10:00 AM EDT.

Q: What specific artist disciplines may apply?

A: Digital/New Media, Drawing, Film/Video, Installation, Painting, Photography, and Sculpture.

Q: When will recipients be notified?

A: We anticipate applicants will be notified by Thursday, April 30, 2020.

Q. What kinds of income losses are covered?

A: The fund will cover any documented lost income opportunities including, but not limited to: cancelled teaching, speaking, or consulting assignments; lost temp work; layoffs or furloughs as a result of business closures, etc.

Q: What kinds of losses are not covered?

A: More speculative, less quantifiable losses such as potential sales from an exhibition that was cancelled or postponed or a speaking engagement that was in the discussion phase, but for which no agreement was reached or contract signed, no matter how promising the conversations had been.

Your income loss does not need to be specifically related to presenting or displaying your art. It can be connected to your part-time or additional employment.

Q: Is this income taxable?

A: Yes, all recipients will be asked to complete a W-9 and will receive a W-2 if the grant is $600 or more.

Q: My losses total less than $2,500, may I still apply?

A: Yes, the maximum grant is $2,500, but applicants can request less.

Q: What file types can I upload to my application form?

A: The application form accepts the following file types: PDF, JPG, DOC, DOCX, and weblinks.

Q: How are the decisions made?

A: Applications are reviewed for completeness and must have clearly documented losses of income. Applications are funded in the order received until the total grant amount of $250,000 is distributed.

Q: What constitutes clear documentation?

A: A contract, letter of agreement, email, or other communication from another party committing to and confirming the date of activity, scope of services, and fee to be paid.

Q: May I include more than one activity in my application?

A: Yes, we understand artists frequently have a variety of things going on at once. You may apply for as many activities as meet the criteria, but the maximum grant will not exceed $2,500.

Q: What constitutes “activity” in my artistic discipline?

A: Evidence of activity includes, but is not limited to: participation in solo or group exhibitions, grants received for artistic work, commissions (completed or outstanding), application-based residencies attended, reviews or other press coverage, teaching in an accredited visual arts program, and bodies of newly created work visible on artist website.

Q: I meet all the eligibility criteria but I have received a Grant from NYFA/ and or Anonymous Was A Woman in the past. Am I still eligible?

A: Yes, all past recipients of either NYFA or Anonymous Was a Woman funding are eligible.



Image Credit: Polly Apfelbaum (NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in Sculpture ’95) and Anonymous Was A Woman recipient ’98