Shubhangi Mehrotra's picture

The South Asian Arts Resiliency Fund is a direct response to the damage caused by projects, exhibitions, and events being canceled or postponed.

Created by the India Center Foundation, with the support of MELA Arts Connect, the South Asian Arts Resiliency Fund will assist United States-based South Asian arts workers in performing arts, film, visual arts, and/or literature, who have been impacted by the economic fallout of COVID-19. With a minimum of $1000 project-based grants to create and innovate, the Fund wants to ensure that resources are available during the ongoing pandemic and once it subsides. Grants will be distributed on a rolling basis. Applications will be reviewed weekly by a panel of leaders in the arts and non-profit field and grants will be distributed on a rolling basis.

The India Center Foundation is putting $20,000 towards the launch of the fund and initial round of grants from the fund. With your generous support, we can support hundreds of individuals.

To Donate, visit


Why this Fund?

This pandemic and its impact on the arts will impede the ability of many South Asians to remain in the arts, which is what this fund seeks to stem.

In the last five years, there has been a significant growth in the number of South Asians in the United States making the leap to pursue careers in the arts.

While it can often be an uncertain career choice, this has led to an increase in the visibility of South Asians in the arts. In industries that have historically been devoid of South Asian representation, when the pandemic subsides, we want to ensure that artists and arts professionals have the resources they need to help in continuing to narrow this gap.

The South Asian Arts Resiliency Fund is a means to continue building representation in the field while supporting arts workers to do what they do best: innovate and create.

 Arts in the time of COVID-19

With necessary physical distancing in place for the foreseeable future to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, this pandemic has had a huge economic impact on the arts. In an ongoing survey, ‘Americans for the Arts’ estimates a crippling loss of over $115 million USD for the industry.

Artists and arts professionals — producers, agents, managers, administrators, technicians, and more – have lost months to a year worth of income or have been laid off. Many have limited options to generate alternate revenue.

In spite of their own financial challenges, the arts community is stepping up in these times to provide solace and entertainment in our homes by continuing to share their work through streaming concerts, online workshops, and more – very often for free.

Through this fund, you can give impacted arts workers hope and encouragement to continue creating and sharing art. Now more than ever, human beings are counting on the arts to gather, to find connection, and to rally.

Losses will only continue to grow well into the “recovery period” and will become detrimental unless we choose to support them now.

Who does the Fund Support?

The development and creation of work and connecting artists to audiences requires the time and expertise of a multitude of people, not just the artist.

Eligible applicants are US-based South Asian arts workers in the performing arts, film, visual arts, and/or literature, who can demonstrate they have had a loss of income because of canceled or postponed engagements due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Arts workers are defined as:

  • Artists such as: dancer, choreographer, musician, poet, actor, comedian, playwright, director, filmmaker, writer, composer, visual artist, etc.; and
  • Arts personnel such as: technicians (lighting, sound, costume, stage management, production, editor), independent curator/presenter, producers, agents, and managers, etc.

The fund will support South Asian arts workers in the US through project based grants. 

With grant amounts of at least $1000 per project, this fund:

1. Gives arts workers the ability to focus on the development and creation of work instead of leaving the arts
2. Necessary moral support and acknowledgment of the value of their talent and work

Examples of projects include, but are not limited to:

  • Creation of music, dance, theater, film, visual arts, or literature projects (ongoing or new)
  • Research for development of music, dance, theater, film, or visual arts projects (ongoing or new)
  • Strategic planning by a manager or agent for an artist
  • Content creation for project deployment
  • Creation of resources for artists to support careers in the arts

The initial project grants will be funded by the India Center Foundation. With your tax deductible donations we can support even more people!

Grants will be distributed on a rolling basis. Applications will be reviewed by a panel on a weekly basis with money being released within days of approval, pending funds availability.

Grant applications open on April 9, 2020.

Who is Behind the Fund?

The South Asian Arts Resiliency Fund has been created by The India Center Foundation (ICF), a registered US 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. ICF will be funding the initial round of grants. Additional funds will be raised through a crowdfunding campaign to expand the impact of the fund with the support of the arts patrons like you as well as the philanthropic community.

The campaign is being set up and managed by MELA Arts Connect. The grant program will be jointly administered by ICF and MELA Arts Connect.

Thank you to the following partners for their funding support (through direct funds or fundraising initiatives): Nonresident

Thank you to our friends at Brown Girl Magazine, Kalakars, New York Kathak Festival, Product of Culture, Third Eye Collective for helping to spread the word.

About The India Center Foundation
The India Center Foundation is a New York City-based non-profit organization dedicated to the study and celebration of Indian Art & Culture, as well as the exploration of India’s place in the world and relationship with The United States. Primarily through collaborations with preeminent cultural and public affairs organizations, The India Center Foundation aims to be the American home for dialogue, debate, and education about the subcontinent and its diaspora.

About MELA Arts Connect
MELA Arts Connect are cultural connectors for South Asian performing arts and community. MELA’s goal is to facilitate the creation, presentation, and engagement with performing arts, artists, and communities connected to the Indian subcontinent. To achieve this, MELA offers services as consultants, curators and booking agents; and producers of South Asian arts experiences. Through its work across the United States, MELA has worked with over 100 performing arts ensembles and companies and more than 700 artists in the past 3 years.