Folk Arts COVID-19 Relief


NYC Round 1
Application Ends-
Monday, May 18, 2020

The Center for Art, Tradition and Cultural Heritage (CATCH) is awarding grants of $500 to folk, traditional and community-based artists impacted by Covid-19. CATCH is a consortium including City Lore, the Center for Traditional Music and Dance, Bronx Music Heritage Center, Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center, Mano a Mano: Mexican Culture Without Borders, Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute, New York Folklore, and the Folk Arts Program of the Brooklyn Arts Council. Decisions will be made by a committee comprise of our Relief Fund Partners (see below).

We are accepting applications in English, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Haitian Creole, Chinese, and Portuguese. If you have technical difficulties, or would prefer to have a voice interview, or text message exchange to complete this application, please email [email protected] and indicate if you would like to be contacted in a language other than English.


Folk and traditional artists are among the most vulnerable members of the creative community, often coming from new immigrant and underserved communities. Many of these revered musicians and craftspeople have structural impediments including the digital divide and language barriers to access federal relief funds or private sources of funding. In response, a consortium of organizations led by the Center for Art, Tradition, and Cultural Heritage (CATCH) and including  City Lore, the Center for Traditional Music and Dance (CTMD),  Bronx Music Heritage Center (BMHC), Mind Builders Creative Arts Center, Mano a Mano: Mexican Culture Without Borders, Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute, New York Folklore, and the Folk Arts Program of the Brooklyn Arts Council have established The Folk Arts Relief Fund for New York City. 

The Folk Artists Relief Fund is designed to offer rapid short-term payments to individuals and small groups of folk and traditional artists who have lost income as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  It will be open to artists in all forms of traditional art and music. It will be designed to cover losses resulting from cancelled concerts, performances, exhibitions and other events.   



As an artist who has dedicated my life to the art of dance, theater, and music, a live performance is a vital element. This pandemic represents an existential threat to the most essential work for our artist community. Reminding us how fragile the life can be and how essential our activity is for our society. Support, help, care is what we need to continue. I am determined to redesign artistic languages for the current needs, build art and heal our civilization.”Cuidemosno”

BAFA (Bangladeshi Academy of Fine Arts) has been suffering substantially due to the corona virus pandemic. Our school has been shut down completely for months, which means the little income it generated for maintenance is not coming in. We were anticipating a DYCD grant which has been halted. The BCA grant was also low this year. All in all, we’re struggling to pay rent. We had been paying out of pocket since last year however, considering that we can’t continue our regular jobs due to the shut down, it’s tough to pay out of pocket now. We still continue to host online classes, complete free for all our students. Hopefully situations will improve soon.

…I see it is a necessity to ask for support and as a new resident of this country I don’t have a lot of information about the government support system, the economic contributions of migrants aren’t recognized, although it is worse for our undocumented brothers and sisters, so to confront this pandemic it’s necessary to turn to foundations and organizations with good hearts who can help us.



On July 2, 2020, the CATCH Folk Arts Relief Fund was completed. The CATCH Folk Arts Relief Fund gave away over $42,000 to over 80 ($500 each) folk and traditional artists in New York City. Our panel process was coordinated by our dedicated partner organizations. We are grateful to all of our Go Fund Me contributors for their contributions.