GREENSBORO, N.C. – Many working artists in Greensboro are seeing the negative impacts COVID-19 has on their way of life.
Many artists in the Triad have lost their income.
Dom-Sebastian Alexis received his degree in choreography and contemporary dance at UNC Greensboro. He has been dancing for as long as he can remember. Now at 27, dance continues to be his life and his source of income. His street dance crew does performances at Folk Fest and other local festivals. He also teaches dance classes at Salem College and the cultural center.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic has shut down bars, canceled festivals, and banned gatherings, Alexis and others have not been able to do what they know best.
"It's really impacted all artists because we really rely on the community more than anything else. If we can't put our art out there, it's impossible for us to sustain any type of living," Alexis said.
One organization, called ArtsGreensboro, is stepping in to help. It has created an artist emergency relief fund to help local artists financially. President and CEO Laura Way says in just one week the organization received 67 applications from local artists.
"People who play at bars and restaurants, those are gone now. You have nowhere to replace them except for social media, and it's really hard. You can put out the virtual tip jar, but you're not going to replace that fee," Way explained.
This week they started distributing funds, and plan on continuing to distribute as much as they can on a weekly basis. This will help artists pay for things like their utilities, rent, and groceries.
"We need to make sure they are still here when the doors open back up again, and we will do everything we can to help ensure that happens," Way said.
ArtsGreensboro's artist emergency relief fund is coming from donations made by the community, local businesses, and national organizations.