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ArtsEngageME Provides Emergency Relief to Maine Artists



Julie Richard, Maine Arts Commission,, 207-530-0439

Ann Wicks, NEFA Communications Director,, 617-951-0010 x 534

AUGUSTA, ME – The Board of Directors of ArtsEngageME is pleased  to announce grants totaling $24,000 in support of 48 Maine artists who have been hit hard by the economic impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

This is the first round of grants distributed to artists in Maine through the newly created Maine Artist Relief Fund at ArtsEngageME.  ArtsEngageME is the 501c3 support organization for the Maine Arts Commission.

In addition, the New England Foundation for the Arts has awarded  ArtsEngageME $47,000 to enable further support to artists in the coming weeks.  This funding is part of $282,000 in emergency relief from NEFA that was divided equally among the six New England states.

These funds will supplement the Maine Artist Relief Fund which was established March 23 to provide grants of $500 to artists who live in Maine and whose creative practices and incomes are being adversely impacted by the coronavirus.  With events of all types being cancelled to reduce the spread of COVID-19, people who make income partially or fully through performances, exhibits, and events are losing critical opportunities to support their well-being in our state.

“The ArtsEngageME board recognized the hardship to artists caused by COVID-19 and immediately agreed to help.  This extra funding from NEFA is so needed right now and this, along with other donations we received allowed us to expand the number of grants we can give,” said Larry Rubinstein, President of the ArtsEngageME board.

Private donations to the Fund are also being accepted and can be made at:

The more than 22,000 artists and creative workers who live in Maine are significant contributors to  Maine’s economy, who, along with creative organizations, make up 2.5% of the state’s GDP.

The application to the Maine Artist Relief Fund can be found at:


About ArtsEngageME

ArtsEngageME, the nonprofit advocacy and support organization for the Maine Arts Commission, was conceived as a priority in the Commission's cultural plan: Fortifying Maine's Creativity & Culture: Five-Year Cultural Plan 2015-2020.  ArtsEngageME is modeled on the support organizations for many of Maine's other state cultural agencies and increases the Commission's capacity to advocate and to raise funds in support of Maine's cultural sector. The organization, and its ability to hold an endowment outside of the state budget, was launched via Maine legislation in the fall of 2016. Currently, AEM is a volunteer-driven organization.


About the New England Foundation for the Arts

The New England Foundation for the Arts invests in artists and communities and fosters equitable access to the arts, enriching the cultural landscape in New England and the nation. NEFA accomplishes this by granting funds to artists and cultural organizations; connecting them to each other and their audiences; and analyzing their economic contributions. NEFA serves as a regional partner for the National Endowment for the Arts, New England’s state arts agencies, and private foundations. Learn more at

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