As Milwaukee's convener, connector, and amplifier of the arts and culture community, we believe that our highest and best use during this time is to rally public support and awareness of the present challenges our city's artists and creatives are facing, as well as mobilize for our sector to benefit from public sector solutions. 

As such, Imagine MKE is focusing on a four part response:

COVID-19 Arts Leaders Task Force. We are convening regular meetings with arts leaders throughout the county to plan, coordinate, and organize the sector's response and collaborate on recovery efforts. Interested in joining us? Please e-mail info [at] imaginemke.org.

Story Collection. We have begun collecting stories from individual artists, creatives, and arts organizations being affected by COVID-19. We aim to help media tell the story of our city's artists and creatives being affected by this pandemic in the context of the broader systemic challenges that both arts and culture organizations and individual artists face.  

Public Policy response. We are working with our state and federal advocacy partners and elected officials to shape the public policy response so that arts and culture organizations and individual artists and creatives are taken care of in the relief and recovery bill and other state and local aid. You can add your voice to our legislative call to action here.

Artist Relief Fund. Applications and fundraising efforts for the Artist Relief Fund are now closed. The Relief Fund was established to provide some immediate help, with grants available up to $500 for artists residing in Milwaukee County that provided proof of practice. Click here to learn more about how the review process worked.

The Fund was launched on Friday, March 13. The organization’s initial goal was to raise $50,000 by Friday, April 10. After doubling that goal by April 10, Imagine MKE decided to increase the fundraising period to Thursday, April 30 and the total goal to $195,000 – the amount requested by approved applicants after three weeks.

That goal was reached, and 423 artists were supported thanks to generous support from over 300 individuals and significant gifts from Greater Milwaukee Foundation ($67,100 from four funds), Bader Philanthropies, Inc. ($50,000), Black Box Fund ($25,000), and Brico Fund ($5,000).