Arts organisations across Greater Manchester have joined forces to support local freelance artists during the COVID-19 crisis.
GM Artist Hub brings together 13 of the city-region’s most well-known organisations in an effort to support the independent performers, artists and companies that make up Greater Manchester’s vibrant artistic community.
GM Artist Hub launched on Wednesday 8 April with opportunities for artists to sign up for sessions with artist development producers and directors from a range of different organisations to explore the challenges, ideas and opportunities these unprecedented times offer. The project has now offered over 300 private advice sessions to local artists and a number of larger opportunities for artists to learn about specific funding streams and connect with chief executives and artistic directors across the city region.
In September we were awarded £60,000 by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation to offer a range of new opportunities to local artists including creative care and wellbeing support, opportunities to develop new skills and co-commissions offered across a range of local partners.
In early October the Revive and Reboot Funds were launched, offering both financial and peer support in response to conversations with the region’s creative community.
Claire Symonds, senior producer: artist development at The Lowry, says: “Greater Manchester is known for its brilliant creative ecology, from the established venues through to the independent performers, artists and companies who are out there making things happen on their own terms.
“Independent artists and freelance creatives are carrying some of the biggest impacts in our industry, facing both an immediate loss of income with no notice as shows and projects are cancelled and the prospect of future cancellations as the situation progresses. But artists are the lifeblood of our industry. What’s more, their creativity and ability to adapt will be absolutely critical as we all look for new ways of reaching out to audiences while social distancing is in place.
“As a group of organisations we can’t protect every artist and freelance creative in Greater Manchester from the impacts of this crisis. But through GM Artist Hub we can stand with them, offering support or advice as they explore this new territory and listening and responding as they discover what they need.
“Whether you’re an artist looking to get involved or an organisation that wants to join us in supporting Greater Manchester’s independent sector, we’d love to hear from you through GM Artist Hub.”
Participating venues and arts organisations are: Community Arts North West, Contact, HOME, The Lowry, Manchester International Festival, Octagon Theatre Bolton, Oldham Coliseum Theatre, Royal Exchange Theatre, SICK! Festival, STUN (Sustained Theatre Up North), Waterside Arts and Creative Industries Trafford, hÅb/Word of Warning and Z-arts.
Visit GM-ArtistHub.co.uk for more details.