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Artists band together to support each other during uncertain time

With galleries and concert venues closed due to the coronavirus, artists are left without a place to perform or showcase their talents.

DENVER — Artists and creatives make our community more colorful. Murals, live music venues, theaters, and galleries line many Denver streets.

Right now, those colorful places are empty, and the artists who work there are out of jobs.

“We are feeling the crunch ourselves, and we know a lot of our friends are feeling that crunch as well,” said Marnie Ward, a local musician. “We don’t have safety nets, we don’t have 401Ks , we don’t have insurance provided through our employer.”

That’s why Mehria Wiese, another local artist, decided she needed to do something. After these places shut their doors, along with restaurants and bars, she knew the local creative community would be hurting. So she started the Denver Metro Area Artist Relief Fund for those artists who might need a little help making ends meet for this time period.

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“We set this fund up with the intention of helping with immediate needs, with prescription medication, and with groceries,” Wiese said. “The artistic community here has supported me and encouraged me my entire life, and I’ve had those moments in my life I had to lean on people for support and I’m in a position now that I can help.”

All of the money donated to the fund will be distributed to artists who have to go through an application process. Wiese, Ward, and four other local creatives decide how the money will be distributed. Currently, they have had 40 applications and have been able to help 20 people.

“We want to be the people there to tell them it’s ok—we can’t hold them up physically, but people need to know that there are people who care,” Wiese said.

Cal Duran, an artist and fund applicant, just needed $150 to help him get through this time. He said knowing people care about him and his work feels good.

“I was really appreciative that people were willing to support artists right now,” Duran said.

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He said he will continue making art during this time when galleries and museums are closed.

“I think art can heal people, and I think it’s definitely healing me from all the stress,” Duran said.

Wiese said she could not imagine a life without creators.

“There would be a gaping hole that wouldn’t be filled, that couldn’t be filled, by anything else without artists,” Wiese said.

If you’d like to contribute to the Denver Metro Area Artist Relief Fund, or apply for assistance, go to DenverArtistRelief.org.

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