Extending a lifeline to over 500 local artists and 65 arts organizations, the city of San Francisco just announced the distribution of $1.5 million in one-time grants from the SF Arts & Artists Relief Fund.

The emergency relief fund was launched in March by the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) and Grants for the Arts (GFTA), allowing individuals to apply for up to $2,000 and organizations to apply for up to $25,000 in grants to help mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, as Mayor London Breed announced in a release and on Twitter, the grants for which applications were due two weeks ago have been announced and the funds are going out.

And due to the high volume of applications, they city is adding another $250,000 to the fund for which applications will be due tomorrow, May 1. Individuals who did not receive grants in the first round can reapply.

"We provided these grants and loans to offer some financial relief for the arts community during this challenging time,” said Mayor Breed in a statement. “Our artists and arts and culture organizations will be instrumental in our City’s recovery efforts. With this additional investment, we continue to support the creativity, flexibility, and innovation that artists bring to our city, which will be pivotal as we move forward and get through this crisis together."

The grants for individuals ended up topping out at $1,500, and only four organizations received $15,000 grants while all others got $10,000, as the Chronicle reports. The four top grantees were Brava! Women in the Arts, the Chinese Culture Foundation, Theatre Bay Area, and Women’s Audio Mission.

In total, 238 organizations and 1,144 individual artists applied.

In addition to this $1.5 million in one-time grants, the Northern California Grantmakers’ Arts Loan Fund is extending $1 million in low-interest loans to arts organizations. One organization that has received a loan is Frameline, the LGBTQ film festival that usually happens in June.

James Woolley, Frameline's executive director, said in a statement, "This loan gives Frameline a lifeline to keep paying staff and expenses during a time of crisis during which many of our usual sources of income have evaporated." He added, "With City support we look forward to returning to our home at the Castro Theatre when it is safe to do so."

Matthew Goudeau, Director of Grants for the Arts, says in a statement that these grants and loans are vital to helping support the nonprofit community in SF which employs around 40,000 people. "These relief funds are quickly infusing cash into our local economy, supporting the most vulnerable during this unprecedented time of financial and health challenges."

If you'd like to donate to the Arts & Artists Relief Fund, you can do that here.

Photo: Khara Woods