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William Gear RA (1915-1997) Winter Landscape, 1955 © The William Gear estate

Jerwood Foundation announces Blue Sky Fund

12 March 2021

Jerwood Foundation announces Jerwood Blue Sky Fund, a £1 million donation to the Theatre Artists Fund and Help Musicians.

Jerwood Foundation, Jerwood Arts benefactor, is delighted to launch Jerwood Blue Sky Fund, a £1 million donation to the Theatre Artists Fund and Help Musicians. It will fund small grants for freelancers in the arts who are still suffering greatly due to the effects of the pandemic and remain unable to secure other forms of Covid-19 support. The donation comes a year after theatres and music venues were first closed due to the pandemic.

“This is an incredible contribution to the emergency support available to independent artists across theatre and music who are still really struggling. It shows the collective power of Jerwood as a family of philanthropic organisations to step up to the plate and support talent in a time of crisis. We are very proud of our benefactors’ leadership in this area” says Lilli Geissendorfer, Director of Jerwood Arts.

The grants will be administered by the Theatre Artists Fund and Help Musicians. The Theatre Artists Fund was set up to provide emergency support for theatre workers and freelancers across the UK. It is for theatre professionals who are in need of urgent and critical financial support following the devastating impact of Covid-19. Help Musicians is an independent UK charity for professional musicians of all genres, from starting through to retirement. It gives people the extra support they need at a crucial stage that could make or break their career, or in times of crisis in their lives.

This new £1 million Jerwood Blue Sky Fund is the first in a series of milestones to mark the 30 years since John Jerwood died and Alan Grieve was appointed Chairman of Jerwood Foundation.

Alan Grieve, CBE, Chairman of Jerwood Foundation says: “It is now a year since theatre and music venues first had to close. It is a real tragedy that this fund is even necessary and so vital, but Covid-19 is sadly still wreaking havoc and loss in the arts. Jerwood Blue Sky Fund will support the Theatre Artists Fund and Help Musicians, both of which are doing excellent work helping a vast number of creative and technical freelancers at this exceedingly difficult time.

“There is a bright light and blue sky at the end of the tunnel, but we still have an uncertain road to travel before the much-loved venues can reopen, let alone at their full capacity. So now is the hour to be decisive and act. All of us who love theatre and music are determined to see a vibrant rebirth of the performing arts.”

Sam Mendes, director and co-founder of the Theatre Artists Fund, says: “We are hugely grateful for this fantastically generous donation from Jerwood Foundation. It will enable us to reopen grant applications on 16 March so we can continue to support the hundreds of struggling theatre freelancers in desperate financial need.

“Since launching the Theatre Artists Fund last summer, we have given away over £5.5m in over 5,359 emergency grants, and have now raised £6.53m. Despite the provisional reopening dates outlined in the Government roadmap, we must still raise over £750,000 a month to meet current demand. We will continue to fundraise and support those in need until doors can reopen and theatres can return to full capacity.”

James Ainscough, Help Musicians Chief Executive says: “2020 was a devastating year for musicians across the U.K and, until live music fully returns, thousands of freelance musicians who are struggling financially will need more help in the months to come.

“This generous donation from Jerwood Foundation will make such a difference to the scale of support we can offer to those in real need, providing musicians with a greater element of certainty and financial reassurance during the difficult months ahead. It will act as the founding donation to the fourth phase of our Financial Hardship funding which will open for applications soon and provide support from May – September.”

To find out more about Jerwood Foundation, visit jerwood.org

To find out more about the Theatre Artists Fund or donate, visit theatreartists.fund

To find out more about Help Musicians or donate, visit helpmusicians.org.uk