– $165K 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

– The first notification of grantees will occur May 1

– There is no restriction on usage of funds

– Grantees for this award will not be announced publicly


Q&A Video Session #1 (4-22-2020)

Next week marks the halfway point for the Rocket Relief Emergency Grant and artists in need of emergency relief aid are still heavily encouraged to apply.
Since starting out with $120,000 at launch, we have fundraised up to $165,000 for the Rocket Relief fund! That means 45 more artists will be able to receive the emergency funds they applied for. ​The deadline remains July 17, 2020.  Originally, 10 artists ​randomly selected each week have received $1000. With this newly fundraised total, we can begin to give more and increase the number of grants awarded each week.  ​You can expect more information soon.

April 15 Update

A new emergency relief fund is now available for artists who have been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. In response to the severe impact on Kansas City’s local artist community, Charlotte Street Foundation, Spencer Museum of Art, ArtsKC – Regional Arts Council, with underwriting from the Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts and Theater League Kansas City, are partnering to provide $120,000 in emergency aid.

Artists can apply for Rocket Relief funds immediately through this link. Beginning May 1, ten eligible artists will be randomly selected each week to receive benefits until the funds are distributed. Applications may continue to be submitted and eligible applicants will be added to the pool until funds are distributed.

Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis beginning immediately. Ten eligible artists will be randomly selected and notified on a weekly basis beginning May 1, and grants will continue each week until funds are depleted. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis as long as funds are available. Once an artist has entered an application, they will remain in the pool until all Rocket Relief funds are distributed. Artists with questions should email rocketrelief@charlottestreet.org for help regarding the application process.

The Rocket Relief fund aims to provide emergency support to individual artists in the Missouri/Kansas bi-state region within 80 miles of Kansas City. This grant is intended to help artists whose incomes have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and who need assistance with basic expenses such as food, rent, medical costs, and child care. Rocket Relief utilizes a lottery method that is weighted to prioritize applications based on emergency needs.

This fund is open to all self-identifying visual, multi-disciplinary, and performing artists within an 80-mile radius of Kansas City. Grant amounts are available as flat stipends of $1,000. Once artists have entered the pool and been confirmed as eligible, they will remain in the weekly selection process until all funds are distributed. Funds are for individual artists specifically and nonprofit entities are not eligible for funding.

The emergency aid grant is established by $60,000 in funds provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts, $40,000 from Theater League of Kansas City, and $20,000 from ArtsKC Regional Arts Council.

“Artists are critical to our cultural vibrancy and sense of connection to one another. Our ongoing partnership with Charlotte Street and the Warhol Foundation allows us the great honor of providing direct support to artists in this challenging time,” said Spencer Museum Director Saralyn Reece Hardy.

“We’re excited to join the Charlotte Street Foundation, Andy Warhol Foundation, Arts KC, and Spencer Museum of Art in extending this help to our artistic community,” explained Theater League president Mark Edelman. “Actors, stage managers, directors, designers and backstage technicians forced out of work by this public health crisis need our support more than ever.”

“Artists are integral to our collective recovery. The Rocket Relief Grants will provide funding to individual artists, who are a key part of the region’s artistic success. ArtsKC is eager to join this funding partnership as one step toward securing the future of our vital arts community.” – Dana Knapp, President & CEO, ArtsKC – Regional Arts Council.

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 Grants Program, administrated by Charlotte Street Foundation and the Spencer Museum of Art), to create and support facilitation of coronavirus emergency relief funds in their communities. As a result of this opportunity, the $60,000 annually allocated toward Rocket Grant awards will be distributed in emergency grants to visual and multidisciplinary artists in the Rocket Grants region. The Rocket Grant program will resume its intended project-based funding framework in 2021. Additionally, the generous funding and administrative support that has enabled this opportunity to be extended to all disciplines is being provided by ArtsKC and Theater League. At launch, $120,000 in total is available in grants to artists of all disciplines in the Rocket Grants region. UPDATE: Since launching the fund, we have now raised $165,000 to distribute to artists in need!

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.

Applications are only accepted online through the Call for Entry (CaFÉ) system. Emailed or hard copy submissions will not be accepted. The following eligibility requirements are addressed in the application.

A note about uploading images:

Your ability to receive a grant is not based on the images your provide in your application. The image requirement is only required because the system we use, CAFE. We recognize that is not ideal. Below is a link for artists to learn how to upload images. It should be noted that audio and video links are not required. You only have to upload 5 images of a certain pixel quality (1,200 pixels or greater on the longest side). They can relate to your work but it isn’t necessary for it to be.




Eligibility requirements:

  • 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);


  • 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 Poet, Spoken Word Artist, or Storyteller (artists must work as poets, spoken word, or storytelling artists in a way that involves public performance of work)
  • Must be an artist whose primary residence is within an 80-mile radius of the Kansas City metro area.
  • All artists must be over 21 at the time of the application, and may not be full-time students
  • Able to receive taxable income in the U.S. (e.g. citizen, green card holder, and/or permanent resident who can provide a W9 and Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
  • Determine recently active (within the past two years) record as exhibiting or performing artist by submitting one of the following-
    • CV or resume
    • link to artists website/online presence
    • link to public event that the artist recently participated in
  • Describe, in a short 300 word or less narrative (or 2 minute max video or voice narrative), loss of income due to the Corona Virus 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 include but are 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 time because of cancelled classes and school closures
  • Support for artists working full or part-time 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 caretaking duties for a family member or member of household
  • Increased costs due to unexpected Corona Virus related health care for yourself or immediate family member


Employees or board members (or immediate family members of employees or board members) of Charlotte Street Foundation, ArtsKC, Theater League, and Spencer Museum of Art are not eligible for this opportunity.

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 artists provide in the application is confidential and will be used only to report demographics without identifying information.

In the Café application system, artists will also be asked to upload 5 images that relate to their practice (which can include images of work or headshots), and/or 1 video or sound clip. This is a requirement for the system Charlotte Street is using, but will not be part of the selection process. Charlotte Street Foundation and Spencer Museum of Art may review images uploaded for other future programming opportunities. Note for Theater and Performing Artists applying for a grant: you may satisfy this requirement by posting your resume or one photo, including your head shot or photograph of you on stage or backstage.  If the Café system requires more than one document, you may post the same resume or photo five times.

To ensure that information is entered by the first lottery drawing, artists should plan to complete the application by April 24. The first notification of grantees will occur May 1, and every subsequent week 10 artists will be selected and notified until all funds are distributed. Applications may continue to be submitted and eligible applicants will be added to the pool until funds are distributed.

Official Partners

The emergency aid grant is established by $60,000 in funds provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts, $40,000 from Theater League Kansas City, and $20,000 from ArtsKC Regional Arts Council. 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.


The Spencer Museum of Art, located on the University of Kansas Lawrence campus, explores the intersection of art, ideas, and experiences. With a diverse collection of more than 45,000 works, the Spencer is the only museum in Kansas with contemporary and historic artwork in all mediums from cultures across six continents. The Spencer Museum facilitates arts engagement and research through exhibitions, artist commissions and residencies, conferences, performances, lectures, children’s art activities, and arts and culture festivals. Admission to the Spencer Museum of Art is free. To learn more about the museum and its programs you can visit http://www.spencerart.ku.edu/.

Spencer Museum

ArtsKC is a regional nonprofit arts council that promotes, supports and advocates for the arts across a five-county region. We promote the arts for their individual, community and economic benefits, and we create initiatives that drive audience engagement in the arts. We provide arts organizations, artists, and arts programs with professional support and investment, including grants that we award annually. We serve as the voice of the arts regionally by building relationships with government officials and advocating for the development of public funding, all in support of the arts as an economic and social driver. Please visit www.ArtsKC.org for more information and visit www.artskcgo.com, a local arts and cultural events calendar brought to you by ArtsKC.


Theater League has enhanced the quality of life in Kansas City since its first Best of Broadway series at the Lyric Theatre in 1977. Under the direction of founder Mark Edelman, the League presented forty-two touring Broadway seasons, built the Quality Hill Playhouse, produced two summer series at Starlight and brought professional theater to more than twenty stages in the metro area. The League produces the nationally-syndicated public radio show 12th STREET JUMP and supports mid-size theater companies from the Coterie and Unicorn to Spinning Tree, Mesner Puppet Theater, Musical Theatre Heritage, KCAT and the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival.

Theater League KC


The Regional Regranting Program of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts aims to support vibrant, under-the-radar artistic activity by partneringwith leading cultural institutions in communities across the country. The program allows the Foundation to reach the sizeable population of informal, non- incorporated artist collectives and to support their alternative gathering spaces, publications, websites, events and other projects. The Foundation plans to expand this program with partner organizations in areas where the level of on- the-ground, self-organized artistic activity is highest. You can read more information at https://warholfoundation.org/grant/regranting.html

andy warhol foundation


Charlotte Street identifies the needs and fuels the evolution of an ever-changing multidisciplinary arts ecosystem, acting as its primary provocateur. Charlotte Street cultivates the contemporary, the exceptional, and the unexpected in the practice of artists working in and engaging with the Kansas City art community. Since 1997, Charlotte Street has distributed over $1.1 million in awards and grants to artists and their innovative projects, and connected individual artists to each other and to the greater Kansas City community. For more information about Charlotte Street, its awards, programs, and initiatives, visit www.charlottestreet.org.


In order for this call to reach out to all artists in need of the Rocket Relief Fund, Charlotte Street Foundation and our partners would like to thank our fellow arts organizations who helped us spread the message online and in-person. Please make sure you support our peers during the Coronavirus pandemic!