Guaranteed Income for Artists
CRNY’s Guaranteed Income for Artists program will provide regular, no-strings-attached cash payments for 2,400 artists who have financial need. Each artist will receive $1,000 per month for 18 consecutive months.
We are no longer accepting applications to the Guaranteed Income for Artists program. The program guidelines will remain available below for reference throughout the application period and selection process.
Guaranteed income programs build safety nets to ensure that no individual falls below a defined income floor over time. They enable people to weather crises and plan for the future. CRNY’s Guaranteed Income for Artists program takes inspiration from economic and racial justice movements of the past, government actors, reparations-focused philanthropists, and recent pilots and programs across the world.
Many guaranteed income pilots have demonstrated the efficacy of regular cash payments to improve individuals’ well-being and financial stability. Building on this body of evidence, our program’s goal is to help artists meet their basic needs outside of traditional or merit-based grantmaking.
How This Program Was Designed
In the fall of 2021, Creatives Rebuild New York convened a Think Tank—a diverse coalition of New York State artists, scholars, strategists, and activists with wide-ranging identities and lived experiences. Through bi-monthly facilitated digital meetings, this group determined the overall direction of both Guaranteed Income for Artists and Artist Employment Programs.
|February 14, 2022
|March 25, 2022
|Notification of Selection and Next Steps
|April 15, 2022
A detailed timeline with instructions for all required next steps—from Submitting Documentation of Eligibility to Onboarding—will be provided to selected artists by April 15, 2022.
Sequence of Activities
Application Period: All applications will be submitted online.
Selection: After the application period closes, eligible participants will be selected through a process that ensures equitable distribution. See Section 5, “Selection Process” for more information.
Notification of Selection: All applicants will be notified of their status. Artists who are selected to participate will receive a detailed timeline and instructions for required next steps. Artists who are not selected will be automatically added to a newsletter with information about other resources and aid they may qualify for.
Submitting Documentation of Eligibility: Before confirming entry to the program, CRNY requires that selected artists submit documentation of their eligibility.
Verification: An independent team of artists and verification experts will confirm selected artists’ eligibility based on their submitted documentation.
Benefits Counseling: After successful verification, selected artists who receive public benefits prior to accepting, will be provided with an opportunity to connect with a Benefits Counselor to consider the potential impact of this Guaranteed Income on the public benefits they receive.
Onboarding: Once they accept participation in the program, selected artists will be enrolled into the payment system.
Who Can Apply
Eligible participants must meet the following requirements:
- 18 years of age or older as of January 1, 2022
- Primary residence in New York State at the time of application
- Have financial need (as determined by the Self-Sufficiency Standard) – For this program, an applicant qualifies if their household income falls under the Self-Sufficiency Standard.
- Identify as an artist, culture bearer, or culture maker – An artist, culture bearer, or culture maker (‘artist’) is someone who regularly engages in artistic or cultural practice to: express themselves with the intention of communicating richly to or sharing with others; pass on traditional knowledge and cultural practices; offer cultural resources to their communities; and/or co-organize and co-create within communities toward social impacts. Artists aspire to sustain themselves through their practice and maintain a commitment to continuing their practice. Artists can work both individually and collaboratively, or as educators within their field of practice.
- Not a staff member or related to a staff member (e.g., an immediate family member) of Tides or Creatives Rebuild New York
Definitions and Details
The Self-Sufficiency Standard determines the amount of income required for working families to meet basic needs at a minimally adequate level. This Standard considers family composition, ages of children, and geographic differences in costs.
How to use the Self-Sufficiency Standard to determine eligibility for CRNY’s Guaranteed Income Program:
- Click here to use the Self-Sufficiency Standard Calculator.*
- Input New York State, your County, and household/family type into the calculator.
- Compare the Annual Total at the bottom of the calculator (the second to last line) to your total household/family income for 2021.
- If your total household/family income for 2021 falls below the Annual Total listed in the calculator, you are eligible for this program.
*All Self-Sufficiency Standard data produced by the Center for Women’s Welfare at University of Washington are publicly available.
Artistic and cultural practice includes: Craft, Dance, Design, Film, Literary Arts, Media Arts, Music, Oral Traditions, Social Practice, Theater, Performance Art, Traditional Arts, Visual Arts, and Interdisciplinary Arts. Click here for a detailed description of each discipline.
Artists are not permitted to apply to both the Guaranteed Income for Artists and Artist Employment Programs. We encourage all potential applicants to consider, prior to applying, which program is best suited to their needs. For more information about the Artist Employment Program, click here.
Our Guaranteed Income for Artists program does not put artists in competition with each other based on artistic merit. Like many other guaranteed income programs, our selection process seeks to minimize bias and opinions about worthiness. Our process allows us to uphold our belief that achieving equity matters and acknowledges that harm has historically been inflicted on certain populations, and these populations face structural barriers to reaching financial security.
The 2,400 eligible artists will be selected through a randomized process that prioritizes people who hold the following identities or community conditions (in no particular order):
- Black, Indigenous, and People of Color
- LGBTQIAP+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual/Aromantic, Pansexual+)
- Criminal Legal System Involvement
- Lack of Financial Safety Net
Applicants who are selected to participate will be required to submit documentation that verifies their eligibility. By April 15, 2022, each selected artist will be provided with a detailed timeline including instructions for all required next steps.
This notification will include an updated list of the exact documentation CRNY and its team of independent artists and data experts require in order to complete the verification. Artists will be notified if their eligibility is not able to be verified.
Documents may include:
- 18 years of age or older as of January 1, 2022
- Passport or Photo ID
- Any of the residency documents below with a date of birth
- Primary residence in New York State
- A non-expired NYS driver’s license
- A non-expired NYS non-driver ID
- A non-expired NYC learner’s permit issued by DMV
- A non-expired iDNYC
- State or federal tax filing or return for 2020 or 2021, whichever is most recent
- Copy of a utility bill
- Bank or credit card statement
- A lease or sublease, mortgage payment, or property tax statement
- Medical statement, bill, or record
- Identify as an artist, culture bearer, or culture maker – The following items will be used only to verify your eligibility according to CRNY’s definition of artists, culture bearers, or culture makers. Your materials will not be reviewed for merit or excellence.
- Describe your way of being an artist, culture bearer, or culture maker that explains your commitment and practice [limit 100-300 words] OR —
- Upload a video or audio of yourself describing your way of being an artist, culture bearer, or culture maker that explains your commitment and practice [limit 2 minutes]
- AND – Provide a URL to a website, social media, press links, or any other digital presence that demonstrates your practice [If you are not able to provide a URL, you will be asked to submit a Resume or Curriculum Vitae]
- Financial Need (as determined by the Self-Sufficiency Standard)
- Self-report of your total household/family income for 2021
- Self-report of your household size/family composition.
- Submission of your income information through our verification expert’s secure portal. OR – A set of documents that best represent your household/family income for 2021, which may include:
- W2(s) for 2021
- Form 1040 for 2021
- Multiple 1099s for 2021
- Combination of pay stubs and 1099s for 2021
Taking part in the Creatives Rebuild New York Guaranteed Income Program might impact city, state, or federal benefits you currently receive.
Artists who are selected to participate and currently receive benefits will have access to a benefits counselor. Meeting with a benefits counselor can assist in understanding how income will affect your eligibility for the public benefits that you currently receive, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, Medicare, Veterans Benefits, and Public Housing. Although each case will be different, Social Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are likely to be impacted.
Our benefits counseling partners will aid selected artists in their decision to accept or decline the guaranteed income. Once enrolled in the program, the benefits counselors will also be available to assist with any ongoing benefit-related issues, should they arise.
CRNY will establish and maintain appropriate security measures designed to ensure the confidentiality of participant information and to prevent unauthorized access, destruction, loss, or alteration of such data. Submittable, our application platform, has a variety of security features and compliance certifications that can be found here: https://www.submittable.com/security/.
Information submitted as part of the Guaranteed Income for Artists application process will be shared as de-identified, anonymized data with partners who assist CRNY with selection and impact assessment processes. Applicants will not be personally identified in any outputs from these processes unless additional consent is sought and secured.
Participants’ information may additionally be shared, upon consent, with benefits counseling partners to facilitate counseling about the potential loss of benefits due to participation in the program.
Participants’ data will be kept through the end of the Creatives Rebuild New York initiative (December 2024). Additional documentation is available upon request.
All onboarding details will be provided to selected participants at the time of notification, including detailed information about start and end dates. Each participant will receive monthly $1,000 payments for 18 consecutive months.
All participants will be able to receive payments regardless of their documentation status.
An artist whose true name differs from their legal name is eligible to apply. Our application asks for both a legal name and true name so that we can complete the verification process and ensure appropriate communication with each artist.
Options for receiving payments will depend on several variables, but will either be via a pre-paid reloadable debit card or via direct deposit into the artist’s existing account of choice. All details will be clearly articulated in the detailed timeline and next steps provided at the time of notification.
The original FAQ’s are included below. CRNY staff is additionally compiling FAQs gathered via Information Sessions, Help Desk inquiries, and more in this document: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1X7EjfUGWgN5lgRxxiAzskxgpfCryuOkCgIct0cURkco/ We will continue to update this document on a weekly basis until both the Guaranteed Income for Artists and Artist Employment Program applications close on March 25, 2022.
How likely am I to be selected?
Artists will not be selected based on their artistic merit, as CRNY believes all artists deserve support. The odds of being selected will depend on how many artists across the state apply. All kinds of artists, regardless of their identity, circumstance, and location within New York State will be selected.
How are you addressing equity in your selection process?
We are prioritizing populations that face structural barriers to financial security. We recognize that there is much diversity within each of the following populations, and no one group is a monolith:
Black, Indigenous, and People of Color: People whose racial identity and community of belonging face racism.
Deaf/Disabled: Disability is defined by the ADA as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (which could include movement, self-care, learning, communicating, or working). Disability includes a diverse community of people with physical, sensory, intellectual, or psycho-social disabilities and chronic illness; among others.
LGBTQIAP+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual/Aromantic, Pansexual+): All who face discrimination based on their gender expression and/or sexual orientation, particularly the harmful effects of transphobia and queerphobia.
Immigrants: People with a range of experiences whose birth country is outside the United States and who face xenophobia, detention, and deportation, among other impacts that threaten financial security.
Caregivers: People who provide care to others who need some degree of ongoing assistance with everyday tasks on a regular or daily basis. The recipients may live either in residential or institutional settings, range from children to older adults, and have chronic illnesses or disabling conditions.
Criminal legal system-involved: People who have had interactions with the criminal legal system as a defendant; possibly previously incarcerated and often face difficulties securing employment.
Lack of Financial Safety Net: A financial safety net is a personal financial cushion that can include emergency savings funds, assets, family resources, disability insurance coverage, and life insurance so that one can financially support themselves for 3 – 6 months without income and/or in the case of an emergency.
Rural: Defined in nearly a dozen different ways within New York State; however, for the purposes of the CRNY’s funding programs, ‘rural communities’ are those outside metropolitan and micropolitan areas with a population of 10,000 or fewer residents.
Will artists who live outside New York City be selected?
Yes, the selection process will account for distribution across the state, and we hope that our outreach strategies will ensure artists from all counties of New York State apply.
Will I have to pay taxes on this money?
The federal gift tax exemption for 2022 is $16,000. Artists in CRNY’s Guaranteed Income for Artists Program will receive a total of $18,000 across 18 months; no artist will receive more than $16,000 in a single participating year. Creatives Rebuild New York cannot provide tax advice regarding the tax consequences of the guaranteed income received.
What am I allowed to spend the money on?
There are no restrictions on how you spend your funds!
Do I need to have a Social Security Number to be eligible?
What is an ITIN?
An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS issues ITINs to individuals who are required to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but who do not have—and are not eligible to obtain—a Social Security number (SSN) from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
If you need support finding your ITIN or ensuring that it is still active, Free Tax Prep sites participating in the IRS Certified Acceptance Agent program, can help find your ITIN, ensure it is active, and/or help renew.
What are Benefits Counselors and why are you offering this?
Benefits Counselors are typically licensed social workers who help people and their families understand how their earned wages may affect their eligibility for public benefits, such as Social Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), Medicare, and many more.
Working with Benefits Counselors will support selected artists, prior to making their decision to accept the guaranteed income, who may face a ‘benefits cliff’ by receiving this Guaranteed Income.
People face a ‘benefits cliff’ (also known as the ‘cliff effect’) when they receive public benefits from the government, earn a raise, and then discover that they make too much money to receive the benefits. They nonetheless do not make enough money to sustain themselves and their household. Visit https://www.benefitscliff.com/what-is-a-benefits-cliff to learn more.
Why do you need to verify my eligibility?
Because CRNY is funded exclusively through private foundations, we have a legal obligation to ensure all the funds are directed toward individuals who fit the eligibility that was carefully refined and approved by our legal team.
I live in a place outside of New York part-time, am I still eligible?
To be eligible for this program, your primary residence needs to be in New York State at the time of application.
I lived in NYS in 2020 but had to leave for the pandemic. Am I eligible?
You are eligible for this program if your primary residence is in New York State at the time of application. We recognize the complex nature of residency and the pandemic, and because of volume and capacity, we are not able to consider residency on a case-by-case basis.
Who is an artist, culture bearer, or culture maker?
An artist, culture bearer, or culture maker (‘artist’) is someone who regularly engages in artistic or cultural practice to: express themselves with the intention of communicating richly to or sharing with others; pass on traditional knowledge and cultural practices; offer cultural resources to their communities; and/or co-organize and co-create within communities toward social impacts. Artists aspire to sustain themselves through their practice and maintain a commitment to continuing their practice. Artists can work both individually and collaboratively, or as educators within their field of practice.
What disciplines are included in CRNY’s definition of artistic or cultural practice?
Artistic and cultural practice includes, but is not limited to:
Craft – Includes artists working in ceramics, glass, jewelry, metalworking, and textiles – fiber, weaving, and quilting
Dance – Includes dancers, choreographers, and producers working in a variety of genres such as ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop, aerial, and modern
Design – Includes designers working in the fields of fashion, graphic, object, and industrial design
Film – Includes artists, actors, directors, creative producers, and others working in a variety of genres, such as animation, fiction, documentary, episodic, experimental, and narrative
Literary Arts – Includes writers who work in genres such as fiction, nonfiction, short story writing, memoir, screenwriting, poetry, comedy, children’s literature, and graphic novel
Media Arts – Includes artists, culture bearers, and culture makers working at the intersection of technology, aesthetics, storytelling, and digital cultures
Music – Includes singers, musicians, composers, producers (those who create the sound and feel of the recording), DJs (original work), and live sound designers working in a variety of genres such as hip hop, jazz, rock, pop, country, and classical
Oral Traditions – Includes artists, culture bearers, and culture makers whose knowledge, art, ideas, and intangible cultural material received, preserved, and transmitted from one generation to another through speech or song; may include folktales, ballads, chants, prose or verses, and storytelling
Social Practice – Includes socially engaged and civically engaged artists, culture bearers, and culture makers whose art involves people and communities in debate, collaboration, or social interaction and work wherein artists partner with communities toward community development outcomes
Theater – Includes actors and actresses, directors, playwrights, costume designers, stage designers, and lighting designers in a variety of genres such as experimental, live action, puppetry, opera, and musical theater
Performance Art – Includes artists, culture bearers, and culture makers whose work is created through actions performed by the artist or other participants, which may be live or recorded, spontaneous or scripted, tactical and site performance
Traditional Arts – Includes artists, culture bearers, and culture makers whose work is rooted in and reflective of the tradition and/or cultural heritage of a community, transmitted from generation to generation, such as cultural dance, cultural music, traditional crafts, and foodways
Visual Arts – Includes artists, culture bearers, and culture makers whose arts practice is installation, illustration, painting, drawing, collage, printmaking, photography, sculpture, video art, or public art
Interdisciplinary Arts – Includes artists, culture bearers, and culture makers who use an interdisciplinary approach involving more than one artistic discipline
Who is NOT considered an artist for the purposes of the Guaranteed Income for Artists Program?
While we understand that artistic and cultural practices are defined broadly, we are unable to consider applications from individuals whose main connection to the arts is through arts administration or commercial merchants or vendors working in fields such as, but not limited to:
baking and culinary arts,
architecture, interior, landscape design,
radio – personalities and DJs,
event planning and production, and
wellness and fitness.
What is the Self-Sufficiency Standard, and why are you using it?
The Self-Sufficiency Standard is a measure of income adequacy that is based on the real cost of all basic needs for working families: housing, childcare, food, healthcare, transportation, and miscellaneous items, as well as the cost of taxes and the impact of tax credits. This measure describes how much income families of various sizes and compositions need to make ends meet without public or private assistance. http://www.selfsufficiencystandard.org/the-standard/overview/
Many cash assistance programs use the Official Poverty Measure (OPM) in order to identify people in need. Developed half a century ago, OPM is now methodologically out of date and no longer accurately measures the ability to provide for oneself and one’s family; at best it measures deprivation. The OPM calculation is based on the cost of food only—assuming that food is one-third of a family’s budget.
Unlike OPM’s one-size-fits-all model, which varies costs just by the size of the family and number of children, the Standard costs also vary by the age of children—for example, childcare costs differ dramatically by age. Finally, while the OPM is the same throughout the entire continental U.S., the Standard varies for each county or region in a state.
I wasn’t selected and am in an emergency.
We strongly suggest that you sign up for CRNY’s newsletter to get updates on other resources and funding that you may be eligible to receive. Visit https://www.creativesrebuildny.org/contact/ to sign up.
Why can’t I apply to both the Guaranteed Income for Artists and Artists Employment Programs at CRNY?
We recognize the enormous need many artists face, and we trust artists to deeply consider which of the two programs is best for their specific needs. The primary focus of the Artist Employment Program is the partnership between artists and community-based organizations. A commitment to that partnership is integral to CRNY’s review process and to the success of the proposed collaboration. In addition, allowing artists to be considered for both programs conflicts with our goal of supporting 2,700 individual artists across New York State.
If I’m selected to receive Guaranteed Income, will my name be made public?
No. Personal information will never be disclosed or publicized without consent.
Are there reporting requirements?
Guaranteed income is truly a no-strings-attached payment and therefore no reporting will be required. Selected artists may be invited to participate, for additional compensation, in CRNY’s research, storytelling, or advocacy work in the future. Your decision whether or not to participate in any additional activities with CRNY will not have any impact on your enrollment in the guaranteed income program.
I don’t speak English or Spanish. How can I apply?
The Help Desk includes dedicated translators to assist applicants who do not speak English or Spanish, and applicants who are English language learners. Contact the Help Desk team by calling 855-929-3863 (live assistance available Monday-Friday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM Eastern) or emailing HelpDesk@creativesrebuildny.org.
I have more questions. Whom do I contact?
Contact our dedicated Help Desk team by calling 855-929-3863 (live assistance available Monday-Friday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM Eastern) or emailing HelpDesk@creativesrebuildny.org.
Guidelines in English, Spanish, Chinese (Simplified), Russian, Yiddish, Bengali, Korean, Haitian Creole, Italian, Arabic, and Polish are available to be downloaded in PDF format below. You may also use the drop-down menu in the top right of the website if you would like to translate the web-based guidelines above into any of these languages.