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Artist Relief Fund Press Release 9.9.2020

Media Inquiries:
Chivona Roberts



“Sipp Culture Artist Relief Fund” Announced

The Mississippi Center for Cultural Production to distribute $500,000 in emergency relief support for individuals and organizations in five Southern states .

9/9/20, Utica, MSThe Mississippi Center for Cultural Production (Sipp Culture) announced the launch of the “Sipp Culture Artist Relief Fund” to support individuals and organizations facing economic crisis during the COVID pandemic. The $500,000 fund is part of a $5 Million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to the five partner organizations of the Intercultural Leadership Institute (ILI). Sipp Culture’s fund will be directed toward artists of color and organizations led by people of color working in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

“The Sipp Culture Artist Relief fund will support independent artists and under-resourced small arts organizations,” said Carlton Turner, Lead Artist/Director. “There are a number of national organizations addressing financial recovery and sustainability right now. Unfortunately, the need outweighs the support. We hope this specific focus will help alleviate some of the extreme pressures being felt by small arts organizations, cultural producers, and artists that fly under the national radar – the people who may not have access to emergency support that is critical for their survival.”

The regional relief fund is part of a collective response by the five ILI partners: Alternate ROOTS, First Peoples Fund, the National Association of Latino Arts & Cultures (NALAC), PA’I Foundation, and Sipp Culture. The partners of ILI banded together to respond to immediate need, and also to protect the legacy of arts & culture during transformative times.

“In the midst of uncertainty and social transformation, arts and culture leaders are always part of the front-line of active change-making,” said Turner. “During 2020 especially, these vantage points are helping shape the narrative of the moment and engage people in ways that go beyond news media. We need to protect that.”

Through the five partnering organizations, their combined re-granting mechanisms will provide support to approximately 1,500 artists and arts and cultural organizations of color across diverse regions of the country. Sipp Culture will disseminate funds to artists of color and organizations led by people of color working in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

Along with the other ILI partners, this program will ensure that networks of arts organizations, the artists they serve, and Indigenous cultural producers are supported with financial and technological resources to lessen the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on livelihoods and the larger arts industry. The long-standing history of the partners , collectively and individually, as cultural organizations positions them well to keep communities together during the crisis of the pandemic.



  • To provide immediate unrestricted support to individual arts and organizations.
  • Offer some temporary runway for artists to sustain themselves..
  • Support organizations with retaining their physical spaces, core staff and stave off shutting down completely.
  • Offer artists in the region a modicum of  security to strategize a plan for moving forward in an ever-changing new normal.


  • Create space for the circulation of resources throughout our communities and people of color owned businesses.
  • Offer financial resources that recipients are able to leverage during the Covid-19 Recovery.
  • Get financial aid to creatives who have been completely left out of the relief efforts due to location, non traditional income reporting or not being classified as an artist at all.
  • Acknowledge the artists and cultural workers living and working in the rural South.


Individual Artists

  • Applicants must be a person of color.
  • Applicants must be working and/ or living in one of the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi or Tennessee.
  • Applicants must be over the age of 18.


  • Organizations applying must have an annual operating budget of less than $250k.
  • Organizations must be in one of the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi or Tennessee.
  • Organizations applying must be led by a person of color and serve people of color through their mission and programs


Preference will be given to those artists and organizations within rural communities (population under 50,000) and recipients who are not eligible for aid through other programs.

Those interested in the “Sipp Culture Artist Relief Fund” should visit for details.


Application Open September 9, 2020
Applications Closes October 1, 2020
Informational /Technical Assistance September 21, 2020, 1 pm – 2 pm EST / 12 pm – 1 pm CST
Award Notifications November 12, 2020


The Mississippi Center for Cultural Production (Sipp Culture) is honoring the history and building the future of Utica, MS. Our work weaves together research, development, local agriculture, with contemporary media & storytelling to promote the legacy and vision of our hometown. Our place-based model program supports groups and individuals working to achieve social, economic, and cultural transformation toward long-term sustainability through the creation and presentation of arts, culture, and through using food (agriculture) and story to leverage community transformation and shift the material condition of Southern rural people.