People working in the East Bay’s arts and culture sector can apply for funding to help them survive the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the East Bay Relief Fund for Individuals in the Arts.

Grants of up to $2,000 are available to artists, teaching artists, culture bearers, and others working in the arts and culture sector in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. The application period runs through Sept. 28.

More than $400,000 is available this year in the third year of funding.

“Artists, culture bearers, teaching artists, and individuals working in the arts and culture sector have been hit hard by the pandemic and the resulting economic challenges,” Ted Russell, director of arts strategy and ventures at the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, said in a statement. “Simultaneously, federal and state funding programs have not been readily available to this sector.”

The Kenneth Rainin Foundation is leading the fund with support from the Hellman Foundation, Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, Gerbode Foundation, and East Bay Community Foundation.

The Center for Cultural Innovation, a group concerned with the economic security of artists, will administer the fund.

“Artists and arts workers play a significant role in making our communities healthy and vibrant,” Laura Poppiti, CCI program director, said in a statement. “We can’t risk losing them.”

CCI will distribute the grants and aims to reflect the East Bay’s diversity in the grants by including artists from historically underserved groups and artists financially vulnerable due to COVID-19.

Individuals can visit the CCI website for funding guidelines and to apply.

Keith Burbank is currently a fulltime reporter covering Alameda County and Oakland news for Bay City News. He has also worked on the Data Points project for Local News Matters, finding trends and stories about the region through data. In 2019, he was a California Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, producing a series about homeless deaths in Santa Clara County. He worked as a swing shift editor for the newswire for several years as well. Outside of journalism, Keith enjoys computer programming, math, economics and music.