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Craft Emergency Relief Fund

Eligibility

CERF+ emergency assistance is available to established artists working in a craft discipline that meet the following eligibility requirements:

1. Working in a Craft Discipline

How does CERF+ define craft as an artistic discipline?

Craft is the creation of original objects through the skillful manipulation of materials. These materials were traditionally considered to be clay, fiber, metal, wood, or glass. However, today’s artist working in a craft discipline may also employ concrete, plastic, synthetic fibers, recycled materials and other non-traditional materials, and may self-identify as a maker, designer, potter, ceramicist, mixed media artist, etc. CERF+’s broadly defines eligible artists to be inclusive of all materials-based artists regardless of whether they use “craft” to describe themselves.

Craft objects may be functional or nonfunctional, but both types derive part of their meaning from their association with traditional functional forms such as chairs, vessels, garments or implements, and/or their association with cultural tradition. Qualities that contribute to the success of a craft object include the skill of the maker, the use of the material, the refinement of the design, the originality of expression, its cultural significance – or all of these.

In addition to satisfying the above definition, eligible work must:

  • Be well designed and executed, exhibiting integrity as traditional or contemporary craft
  • Demonstrate technical competency and personal and/or cultural identity
  • Be created by the applicant artist. However, portions of the work may be created by others under  his/her direct supervision
  • Not be based upon commercial kits, molds, patterns, or plans
  • Be created in the United States or by a U.S. artist while temporarily working abroad.

2. Art Career

An eligible art career requires a serious commitment to craft for at least the three years before your recent emergency:

  • You must have earned the majority of your livelihood from the sale of your art and/or activities related to your artmaking, been engaged in producing a body of work in a craft discipline (or disciplines), and spent at least 50% of your work time in design, creation, production, and exhibiting and/or marketing that work. OR
  • You must have had an ongoing history of producing handmade objects and/or functional visual art of high quality that embody the NEA definition of folk and traditional arts.*
    • *The National Endowment for the Arts’ defines folk and traditional arts as follows: The folk and traditional arts are rooted in and reflective of the cultural life of a community. Community members may share a common ethnic heritage, cultural mores, language, religion, occupation, or geographic region. These vital and constantly reinvigorated artistic traditions are shaped by values and standards of excellence that are passed from generation to generation, most often within family and community, through demonstration, conversation, and practice.

3. Emergency

You must have experienced a recent, unforeseen emergency or triggering event that has significantly and adversely affected your ability to produce, exhibit and/or market your work and, thus, creates the need for immediate assistance.

4. U.S. Resident

You must have been a legal U.S. resident at the time of the emergency.


Questions?

Check the FAQs page. Also, review the eligibility guidelines. If after reviewing this information, you believe you may be eligible for CERF+ emergency assistance, please complete our inquiry form. If you have additional questions, please contact us.

Please note that CERF+ may limit the frequency or total number of emergency assistance awards an artist may receive, or may limit assistance to artists who have defaulted on a CERF+ loan, even if otherwise eligible.

Artist + Beneficiary Johnathon DeSoto

Beneficiary Robert Silent Thunder displays the handmade regalia he makes as part of his Native American heritage.

Chest by Furniture Maker and Beneficiary Anthony Buzak

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