Ijeoma Oluo has launched coronavirus relief fund for Seattle artists

In America, the sad fact is that artists are among the most economically vulnerable citizens. Those artists who are brave enough to make a living of their work are often one big event away from financial destitution.

From the cancellation of Emerald City Comic Con to the endless slate of canceled readings around town, the coronavirus has hit Seattle's arts community very hard. Dozens of writers and singers and artists have lost out on events that could have supported them financially for months, and there's no safety net for artists — no sick days, no family leave.

Thankfully, Seattle artists are looking out for their own. Local bestselling author Ijeoma Oluo has launched a GoFundMe to raise $100,000 to support artists affected by coronavirus. She writes:

I know that so far every speaking engagement I had for the next month has been cancelled or postponed, and I’m in the very rare and privileged position to be able to weather this financially. Many are not. We’re seeing canceled events through the end of this month and it's probably going to continue to grow. A large percentage of artists supplement their incomes with part time jobs often in the service industry which is another industry that is being hit hard. ...This fund is aimed at helping those in the greater Seattle arts community who have been financially impacted by cancellations due to COVID-19, with priority given to to BIPOC artists, transgender & nonbinary artists, and disabled artists - but we will try to help as many artists with need in Seattle as we can.

I know that everyone is asking for money these days — perils of living in a hugely unequal country where the majority of people are one paycheck away from disaster — but this is a very worthy cause, and if you have anything to give, you should give it. Oluo has done artist fundraisers like this in the past, and she's about as trustworthy a cultural figure as we have in this town. Your money will absolutely be put to good use.

Likewise, if you, or an artist you know, has been hurt by coronavirus cancellations, please apply for some of these relief funds here. Don't be afraid to ask for support; if you're a writer or cartoonist who contributes to the cultural life of this city, Seattle owes you a debt. It's okay to reach out to your community when you need help.