Denver CARES Artist Relief Fund

Denver Arts & Venues is directing up to $300,000 of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act federal funding to assist independent artists residing in the City of Denver and who are suffering as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Applications will be accepted from Oct. 5, 12 p.m. - Oct. 25, 11:59 p.m. Selected awardees will receive a one-time award of $1,000.


Denver's creative industries lost an estimated 29,840 jobs and $1.4 billion in sales revenue between April and July 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis (2020 Creative Economy Report.) Arts & Venues is committed to the well-being of artists in our community and recognizes the serious financial impact the current health pandemic is having on their livelihoods.

We encourage all artists experiencing financial distress due to the COVID-19 crisis to apply for funding, as it's our intent to support as many artists in need as possible. Denver’s arts and cultural community is diverse, and its historically under-resourced groups must be uplifted and supported. Therefore, the fund will prioritize:

  • Artists experiencing severe financial distress and who have no other source of income and/or are facing significantly diminished income or increased expenses as a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Artists from historically marginalized communities, including Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), LGBTQ+ and people with disabilities, who remain financially vulnerable to impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.


Applications open Monday, Oct. 5, 12 p.m. - Sunday, Oct. 25, 11:59 p.m.

  • Award notifications will be sent out within 30 days after the application deadline. All applicants will be notified by email of their application status at that time.
  • Funding will be issued to approved applicants within 30 days after the awardee submits all required documentation needed for processing a payment.

Apply Now 

Please use this downloadable worksheet to help prepare before submitting your online application. 

Por favor, use la hoja de trabajo descargable como ayuda para preparar su solicitud antes de enviar la solicitud en línea.


Please submit all documentation in the following format "Last Name,First Name_Name of Document"

  • W-9 - Must submit completed PDF with current address, social security number, and signature. Download fillable W-9 English or W-9 Spanish
  • Proof of loss of income due to the COVID-19 crisis - contracts, emails, receipts, cancellation notices, unemployment benefits statement or before and after pay stubs)
  • Proof of residency in the City & County of Denver - Must submit one of the following: recent utility or phone bill, pay stub, renter’s or mortgage bill, lease, current homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy, USPS change of address form

Awardee Responsibility

Funding MUST BE SPENT by Awardee no later than December 30, 2020

Awardee will be required to supply Arts & Venues with a final report on Jan 15, 2021 that they have expended all grant monies in a manner compliant with CARES Act requirements. Should the awardee be unable or unwilling to do so, CARES Act funds must be repaid to Arts & Venues upon written demand.

Arts & Venues will provide the awardee with a spending report template to complete, including:

  • Date funds were spent
  • Where funds were spent 
  • Amount spent 
  • Proof of spending
  • All receipts and documentation of spending must be held by the awardee for 5 years after funding is provided

Awardees may need to supply additional information reasonably requested by Arts & Venues.

Application Prep Worksheets - English & Spanish

Fillable W-9 Forms - English & Spanish

About the Fund

Denver's creative industries support 96,358 jobs and there are 88,217 people employed in creative occupations across multiple industries within the region. Creative industries in the Denver metropolitan region produced $16.2 billion in sales revenue in 2019.  The Denver metropolitan region’s creative industries lost an estimated 29,840 jobs and $1.4 billion in sales revenue between April and July 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis. Arts & Venues is committed to the well-being of artists in our community and recognizes the serious financial impact the current health pandemic is having on artists’ livelihoods.

The time for action to support this creative sector in Denver is now.

Eligible Applicants

Grants are open to all self-identifying artists working in one or multiple disciplines whose income has been severely impacted or who have experienced additional costs directly due to COVID-19 and who need immediate assistance with expenses.

Practicing artists:

  • Should be able to demonstrate a sustained commitment to their creative work and career 
  • Must be able to verify their art as an income-generating activity
  • Must provide proof of loss of income or increased costs directly due to COVID-19
  • Must list intended use of funds
  • Must be 18 years of age or older to apply
  • Must be a resident in the City and County of Denver since January 1, 2020
  • Must retain all grant and expenditure-related documents for 5 years (if funded)

Qualified applications not selected for funding in the initial application period will be carried over to subsequent similar funding opportunities-you do not need to re-apply if not selected. However, additional information may be required for future opportunities.

Selection Review Criteria

Arts & Venues is committed to an inclusive and equitable review and selection process.  The review panel consists of members of the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs. The role of the review panel is to recommend a roster of grantees to Denver Arts & Venues, which has the final responsibility to approve all grants. 

All applications will be evaluated on each of the following criteria:

  1. Severity of loss or increased expenses, and showing an immediate need based on current financial strain directly due to COVID-19. Before applying, we ask that applicants take a moment to self-reflect and self-evaluate whether they are experiencing dire financial emergencies during this time to make space for those most urgently in need. 
  2. Whether applicant has other sources of income
  3. Responsibility for others in the household (children, partner, spouse, etc.)
  4. Diversity background, including applicants that have been historically marginalized and remain financially vulnerable 

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Survey

In the email notification of your application status, you will receive a survey link that will help us understand the demographics of all that applied and how COVID-19 has impacted the sector. It will also help us demonstrate the need for additional financial support. Only aggregated information will be utilized.

We urge you and thank you for participating in the survey.

2020 City of Denver Creative Economy Report

Arts & Venues recently released this report detailing the scale, scope, and growth of the Denver metropolitan region’s creative economy between 2010 and 2019. The report also estimates the initial effects of the COVID-19 crisis on the region’s creative economy. 

2020 City of Denver Creative Economy Report with Initial Impacts of the COVID-19 Crisis 

If you have any questions or would like to request translation services, please contact Brooke Dilling at [email protected] using the subject line: [Your Name] Denver CARES Artist Relief Fund.