– The current Rocket Relief cycle currently provides $50K in emergency grants for artists impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic

– Eligible artists must be within an 80-mile radius of Kansas City

– 10 artists are randomly selected each week to receive $1,000

– Deadline to apply for last drawing is Friday, October 23

– There is no restriction on usage of funds

– Grantees for this award will not be announced publicly

Throughout the summer of 2020, the first cycle of Rocket Relief emergency grants distributed $143,000 to 143 local artists within 80 miles of Kansas City, MO. After much success and reflection of the original granting process, Rocket Relief emergency grants have returned for a second round cycle in the fall of 2020 for individual artists experiencing hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Rocket Relief program aims to provide emergency support to individual artists in the Kansas City regional bi-state (or Missouri/Kansas bi-state) region within 80 miles of Kansas City. Organizations (such as non-profits, artist-run collectives, independent art businesses) are not eligible for funding as entities, however individual artists associated with entities are eligible as individuals. Applicants who have already received a Rocket Relief grant are no longer eligible.


This grant is intended to help artists whose income has been impacted by the Coronavirus Pandemic and who need assistance with basic expenses such as food, housing, medical costs, and child care. This fund is open to all self-identifying visual, multi-disciplinary, and performing artists in the Rocket Relief Region. Grant amounts are available as flat stipends of $1,000.


In this second cycle, Rocket Relief utilizes a lottery method that is weighted to prioritize applications based on financial need. In recognition of the disproportionate impact on Black, Indigenous and/or People of Color (BIPOC) from COVID-19 as reported by the CDC, cycle 2 will see the addition of using demographic information to also prioritize artists who self-identify as BIPOC. Eligible artists will be included in a distribution pool, from which ten artists per week will be chosen by lottery until all funds are exhausted. At least 60% of the grants will be awarded to BIPOC artists who are most affected. Once an artist has entered the pool and is confirmed as eligible, they will remain in the pool and weekly selection process until funds are fully depleted.


Applications are only accepted online through the Call for Entry (CAfE) system. Emailed or hard copy submissions will not be accepted. Applications are open now as of August 18, 2020.

If you applied for the Rocket Relief grant during the first cycle and did not receive a grant, your application will automatically be re-entered into the pool of received applications. However, you will be given an opportunity to review and revise your application between August 18 – September 8 to let us know if your circumstances have changed since you first submitted your application. For example, please let us know in your narrative if you are at risk of being homeless or impacted by systemic racism or tick any additional circumstances or risk factors that may now apply to you. Alternatively if your circumstances have improved you can email rocketrelief@charlottestreet.org and request for your application to be removed from the pool. Simply log on to CaFE during August 18 – September 8 to make revisions or email us during this time to remove your application.

If you are a new applicant and to ensure that your information is entered by the first lottery drawing, plan to complete the application by September 18, 2020. The first 10 recipients will be notified on September 25, 2020, and every subsequent week 10 artists will be drawn from the lottery and notified until the funds are depleted. Applications may continue to be submitted and eligible applicants will be added to the pool until funds are depleted. The deadline to apply for the lottery is Friday, October 23 at 11:59 PM.


Funds are for individual artists specifically and nonprofit entities are not eligible for funding. Applicants who have already received a Rocket Relief grant are no longer eligible.

The following eligibility requirements are addressed in the application:

  1. Must identify as an artist as described in one of the following categories:
    Is a Visual/Multidisciplinary artist (artists must create original work in painting, drawing, sculpture, book art, ceramics, fiber, printmaking, digital/media works, film, video, photography, performance art, sound art, social practice and/or hybrid or interdisciplinary practice of any/all of the above);
    OR, is a Theater Artist (artists must work as actors, stage managers, puppeteers, stage directors, theater choreographers, designers, stage technicians, and or hybrid or interdisciplinary practice of any/all of the above);
    OR, is a Dancer or Musician (artists must work as dancers, choreographers, musicians, composers)
    OR, is a Performative Storyteller, Poet, or Spoken Word Artist (artists must work as poets, spoken word artists, or storytellers in a way that involves public performance of work)
  2. Must be an artist whose primary residence is within an 80-mile radius of the Kansas City metro area (See Map).
  3. Artists must be over 21 at the time of the application, and may not be a full-me student.
  4. Able to provide a W9 and Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) if notified that you have been selected for a Rocket Relief grant. The name and mailing address you provide in this application must match the name and mailing address on a W9.
  5. Employees or board members (or immediate family members of employees or board members) of Charlotte Street Foundation, Spencer Museum of Art, and ArtsKC are not eligible for this opportunity.
  6. Artists must demonstrate a recently active creative practice record (within the past two years) as visual or multidisciplinary artist, theater artist, dancer or musician, or performing storyteller, poet, or spoken word artist by submitting a link to one of the following:
    • CV or resume
    • artist’s website/online presence
    • public event that the artist recently participated in
    • You will also be asked to upload 5 images that relate to your creative practice, and/or 1 video or sound clip. Images, video and/or sound clips will be considered in cycle 2 to determine eligibility when assessing active creative practice criteria. Note for Performing Artists applying for a grant: you may satisfy this requirement by posing one photo, including your head shot or photograph of you on stage or backstage five times. Uploads can also include your CV or resume.
  1. Describe, in a short 300 word or less narrative (or 2-minute max video or voice narrative), loss of income due to the coronavirus pandemic. Please capture any additional circumstances that are heightening your personal risk of being able to meet basic needs at this time. Acceptable loss of income circumstances includes but is not limited to:
    • Cancellations of performances, exhibitions, fairs, public programming, readings, panels, loss of sales, commissions and speaking opportunities
    • Reimbursement for travel expenses related to creative work that you paid for yourself. This includes but is not limited to: Attending conferences and convenings that have been cancelled, Artist residencies, Touring
    • Offsetting loss of income for teaching artists who could not teach during this me because of cancelled classes and school closures
    • Support for artists working full or part-me in the service or other non-arts related industry who have lost supplemental income used to support their creative practices
    • Loss of ability to work due to care-taking duties for a family member or member of household
    • Increased costs due to unexpected coronavirus related health care for yourself or immediate family member

Eligibility is not impacted by prior or current engagements, awards, or programming affiliations with the Charlotte Street Foundation, Spencer Museum of Art, ArtsKC, or the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

There is no restriction on usage of funds. Once granted, artists may use the award however they see fit. There will be no final report required.

Due to the potentially sensitive nature of circumstances regarding eligibility for this grant, grantees for this award will not be announced publicly. The information you provide in this application is confidential and may be used to report demographics without identifying information. Testimonials that were voluntarily entered into the application may also be shared privately with funders, but only without identifying information.


Rocket Relief has been made possible by the generosity of the Andy Warhol Foundation’s regional regranting program. The Warhol Foundation has authorized its re-granting partners to re-allocate the $100,000 grants typically used for administration and distribution of regranting funds (In our region, the Rocket Grant Program, usually administered by Charlotte Street Foundation and the Spencer Museum of Art), to create and support administration of Coronavirus emergency relief funds in their communities. As a result of this opportunity, cycle 1 saw the $60,000 annually allocated toward Rocket Grant awards distributed in emergency grants to artists in the Rocket Grants region. The Rocket Grant program will resume its intended project-based funding framework in 2021.

At launch of cycle 2, $50,000 in total is available in grants to artists of all disciplines in the Kansas City region thanks to generous financial and administrative support from Arts KC, Spencer Museum of Art, and  Andy Warhol Foundation.


If you or your organization would like to contribute additional funds to this Emergency grant program, please contact Charlotte Street Foundation’s Associate Director of Development at margaret@charlottestreet.org or ArtsKC’s Manager of Grants at hbeffa@artskc.org and indicate that you would like to contribute to the Rocket Relief. You can also contribute directly to Charlotte Street’s Rocket Relief GoFundMe campaign.