The Folk & Traditional Arts Fund at CERF+
CERF+ recognizes and celebrates folk and traditional artists who form the cultural backbone of communities across the nation. Rooted within a common ethnic heritage, geographic region, religious affiliation, or occupation, these artists create extraordinary work and demonstrate exquisite craftsmanship, passing down invaluable knowledge and skills honed and refined from one generation to the next. Despite their integral contributions to the rich heritage and history of our country, folk and traditional artists sometimes work in relative obscurity, are under-recognized in the arts, and often live in communities facing disproportionate economic hardship.
In celebration of CERF+'s executive director, Cornelia Carey, and her 25 years of service, CERF+ has created a new fund that will support the emergency and preparedness needs of folk and traditional artists. Since 2020, CERF+ has provided 292 grants totaling $329,070 to folk and traditional artists from 41 States and 3 U.S. Territories, including:
- 232 COVID-19 Relief Grants for artists experiencing dire circumstances related to food, medical, and/or housing insecurities due to COVID-19.
- 27 General Emergency Relief Grants to artists whose careers were threatened by illness, injury, accidents, or weather-related disasters.
- 33 Get Ready + COVID Career Resilience Grants to safeguard studios, protect careers, and acquire the skills and resources needed to continue their creative practice during the pandemic.
None of this would have been possible without the generous support from our community. A special thanks to GlobalGiving, The Margaret A. Cargill Fund at the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation, and Windgate Foundation for their ongoing commitment and dedication to our work and the artists we serve.
"I love my work, and every day I strive to leave imprinted, on a piece of wood, my heritage, and our Puerto Rican culture. I thank CERF+ for their unconditional support to artists because they promote our art in hard times."
— José Luis Peña-Burgos – Wood Artist, Hurricane Maria/2019 Get Ready Grant, Orocovis, Puerto Rico, Photo courtesy of the Flamboyan Arts Fund
"I'm grateful to CERF+ for looking out for us artists and craftspeople. It's good to know there is help out in this big world for us!"
— Alex Yerks – Traditional Wood Carver, 2020 COVID-19 Relief Grant, Wingdale, New York
"The COVID-19 Relief Grant was a godsend. Thanks to the grant, I was able to catch up on my gas and light bills, get wood and manure for my pottery, and buy things I needed for my two grandkids that I'm raising. I also had had enough left over to pay a booth fee for one show!"
— Judy Tafoya – 6th generation Tewa Tribe Potter, 2020 COVID-19 Grant, Santa Fe, New Mexico
"I spend hours sitting at my workbench. Posture and bad positioning can take their toll on your body. I used my CERF+ Get Ready Grant to purchase an ergonomic chair to relieve stress on my back while I work!"
— Jennifer Younger – Tlingit Carver/Jeweler, 2020 COVID-19 Grant/2021 Get Ready Grant, Sitka, Alaska