San Francisco rolls out a assured earnings program giving artists $1,000 a month

San Francisco Mayor London Breed: “The arts are vital to our local economy.” Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez / Die Chronik 2018

A pilot program scheduled to begin in May will guarantee more than 100 San Francisco artists $ 1,000 per month for six months after Stockton, Oakland and Marin Counties made similar efforts to help struggling residents during the pandemic support.

The Guaranteed Income Program, announced by Mayor London Breed on Thursday March 25th, is accepting applications from now until April 15th through the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts website.

“This program is one of several guaranteed income pilots we’re developing in San Francisco,” Breed told The Chronicle Recovery.

YBCA will administer the program and use a partially computerized system to determine eligibility to select 130 local artists, with the process being randomized in the later stages, said Deborah Cullinan, CEO of YBCA.

Deborah Cullinan, director of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, will help manage the funds under the new pilot program. Photo: Michael Short / Die Chronik

Qualifications for the program include being a San Francisco resident and being an artist “whose artistic practice is rooted in a historically marginalized community” which, according to Cullinan, does not exclude anyone from any cultural or racial group, but rather underrepresented artists Encourage communities should apply.

Artists are defined as “someone who actively engages with the community through music, dance, creative writing, visual arts, performance art, installation, photography, theater or film,” according to the program’s website.

Teaching artists and art educators as well as “culturally influenced craftsmen and doers” can also apply.

Applicants must have income below certain income limits to qualify: For a single person household, the income limit is $ 60,900; for a two-person household, the combined limit is $ 69,600. These income limits were determined by researching the best practices of other guaranteed income programs across the country, including Stockton, where 125 residents were given $ 500 a month and showed improved quality of life, according to a study commissioned by the city.

“Ultimately, we want everyone in San Francisco to live healthy, happy, and fulfilling lives without worrying about how to pay rent or get food on the table,” said Breed. “I am committed to making San Francisco a fairer, more just, and prosperous city, and we are investigating this guaranteed income model to see if it can help us achieve these goals.”

The pilot program is led by the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Photo: Jessica Christian / Die Chronik

The pilot program is a collaboration between the Office of Racial Equity at the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, YBCA, Grants for the Arts, and the San Francisco Arts Commission. The program is funded from the Arts Impact Endowment, established by Proposition E, an action reallocated in 2018 1.5% of the existing 8% hotel tax on art and cultural services, i.e. money jointly managed by the Arts Commission and Grants for the Arts.

In developing the program, YBCA worked with organizations such as SOMA Pilipinas, the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center, the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco, the Dance Mission Theater, the Galería de la Raza, the San Francisco Bay Area Theater Company, the African American Art and Culture. together Complex and members of the Racial Equity in the Arts Working Group. Bay Area poets Tongo Eisen-Martin and Kim Shuck also worked closely with the groups involved for the pilot project.

“We talked about different ways we can reach BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color), the disabled, LGBT, displaced and below the poverty line,” said Rodney Earl, co-founder of the San Francisco Bay Area Theater Company Jackson Jr “Many artists fall into these categories.”

The San Francisco native Tongo Eisen-Martin helped develop the new pilot program. Photo: Jessica Christian / Die Chronik

The initiative is in line with the policy recommendations of the Economic Recovery Task Force of San Francisco, which the city issued in October 2020. The task force recommended identifying new sources of funding and revenue for the arts “to catalyze neighborhood recovery through the arts” and continue investing in color communities.

According to the San Francisco Arts Commission, the city’s creative sector generates $ 1.45 billion in economic activity annually and supports nearly 40,000 full-time jobs.

“COVID-19 has seriously threatened this important sector,” said Ralph Remington, the Commission’s director of cultural affairs, in a statement, “and the Guaranteed Income pilot is allowing artists to focus on their creative work through other programs like this one focus and support “the recovery of the industry as a whole.”

Cullinan said YBCA staff are prepared for a quick rollout despite an expected large influx of applications.

“We’ll be ready for direct deposits, writing checks to people, and working right away with people who don’t have a bank account,” she said.

After launching the pilot, YBCA plans to study the process and its impact on artists to see how the program can be better customized in the future.

“There are people living in difficult circumstances right now,” said Cullinan. “We want to act as quickly as possible to provide you with the resources you need.”

Apply: Visit www.ybca.org/guaranteed-income-pilot. The application deadline is April 15th.

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