SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — While many businesses have taken a big hit during the pandemic this year, many individual artists and performers have also seen substantial losses.
“Events are the backbone of my business,” visual artist Christopher Reistroffer said.
Reistroffer spends most of his summers working at large events, but the pandemic postponed or cancelled every major creative job he had scheduled after March 2020.
“This year with all of those events and a lot of money given back, it created a whirlwind,” Reistroffer said.
2020 brought a similar story for many other artists and performers across the state.
“Many of whom really rely on summer income whether it’s arts festivals, pow wows or outdoor performances as musicians,” Reistroffer said.
It’s why the nonprofit organization Arts South Dakota helped organize the Artist Emergency Relief fund this summer.
“We were able to fund 168 artists with gifts of $500, which we know doesn’t solve anyone’s problems, but we hope it can provide a certain amount of stop gap help for people,” Arts South Dakota Community Development Director Andrew Reinartz said.
Now a new donor has helped open up a second round of relief.
“We are very lucky to have an anonymous partner, so anonymous we don’t even know who they are,” Reinartz said.
They hope to give out another 90 grants to artists, performers and culture bearers who can apply from all corners of the state.
“We had 62 communities represented in those 165 applicants and 26 percent of those people were citizens of one of the nine native nations with lands in South Dakota,” Reinartz said.
“Essentially, they’re sending seed money, taking a small amount of money and allowing you to grow and expand your business that bit more,” Reistroffer said.
Reistroffer says this is the first time he’s been on the receiving end of a grant; an investment to help keep local artists and performers afloat until business returns.
“Making sure that the people that make your home, home, continue to be able to live and operate and do the work they do,” Reinartz said.
Applications are now open until January 22nd. Any artist, performer or culture bearer that has seen their income impacted by the pandemic can apply. You can find more information at ArtsSouthDakota.org.