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Craft Emergency Relief Fund

Frequently Asked Questions

We hope this information will serve as a helpful introduction to CERF+’s emergency relief programs. For complete details about these programs, please read CERF+’s assistance and assistance eligibility.

What kind of emergency relief does CERF+ provide?

CERF+ provides grants. CERF+ also works with businesses to broker craft supplies, equipment and services at no or low cost to those found eligible for emergency assistance.

Who can receive CERF+ assistance?

CERF+ provides emergency assistance to artists working in craft disciplines who have had a recent, serious emergency and are U.S. residents.

How do I know if my artwork qualifies as craft?

A detailed definition can be found here in the CERF+ emergency assistance guidelines. CERF+ considers craft to be the creation of original objects by the skillful manipulation of materials. While objects may be created out of traditional or non-traditional materials, and 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.

Artists working in craft disciplines may self-identify as a maker, designer, potter, ceramicist, mixed media artist, etc. CERF+’s broadly defines whom it serves to be inclusive of all materials-based artists regardless of whether they use “craft” to describe themselves.

What does CERF+ consider a serious emergency?

CERF+ defines a serious emergency as a recent, unforeseen or triggering event that has significantly and adversely affected your ability to produce your work such as a fire, natural disaster, or serious illness or injury. Financial distress that results from the normal uncertainties of doing business is not considered an emergency for CERF+ eligibility purposes.

How do I know if my art practice qualifies as a career working in a craft discipline?

For the three years before your recent emergency, you must have been engaged in producing a body of high quality 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. Also, you must have earned the majority of your livelihood from the sale of your art and/or activities related to your art, or your body of work clearly embodies the NEA definition of folk and traditional arts. See more on the Eligibility page.

How do I apply for CERF+ emergency relief?

It is a two stage process. First, an inquiry process, then the application.

Artists interested in and potentially eligible for CERF+ emergency assistance are asked to apply via an emailed link after their inquiry form information has been reviewed. Those inquiring are responded to within five business days of submitting the inquiry form. An assistance determination is made within two weeks of a complete application having been submitted.

Please review the CERF+ assistance eligibility guidelines and supporting documents requirements before completing the inquiry form.

How long does it take to receive emergency relief from CERF+?

Within two weeks of receiving a complete application and all necessary supporting documentation, CERF+ will notify you of the eligibility determination. After major disasters it may take us more than two weeks due to the increased volume of inquiries and applications we receive. To speed receipt of assistance to approved applicants, grant award processing includes electronically signing the grant agreement and electronically transferring the grant funds to the awardee’s bank account.

Can I apply for a grant and brokered assistance?

Yes. See the Grants + Brokered Assistance page for more information.

Once found eligible, how much financial assistance will I receive?

The CERF+ emergency assistance grant is $3,000.

Once found eligible, how much brokered assistance will I receive?

When an applicant requests brokered assistance after having been found eligible for CERF+ emergency assistance, we do our best to match the needs of the artist with the offers of goods and services from the art business community. Sometimes no matches are found and sometimes the matches take months to find and complete. For those receiving brokered assistance, the average value is $1,000 to $2,000.

Does CERF+ provide emergency relief to fine artists or photographers?

No, but there are links to other emergency relief resources for artists on CERF+’s website. If you are unsure if CERF+ would consider you an artist working in a craft discipline, review the eligibility guidelines carefully and then contact the CERF+ staff if you still have questions.

“The loan from CERF really helped me get back on my feet at a time when I wasn’t sure how I was even going to be able to buy groceries, let alone fund my artwork. Today, with CERF’s help, and the help of many others along the way, I am back at work full-time, making art, and on the road to recovery financially.”

Sarah Hood
Jeweler, Washington

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