Image: City of Chicago's Covid Awareness Billboard program
Covid Sunshine by Candace Hunter

3ER (3Arts Emergency Response)

3ER (3Arts Emergency Response) was originally designed to be an ongoing fund to help support any pressing needs experienced by artists in the 3Arts network. Through this program we provide swift, short-term relief when artists’ basic livelihoods are precarious or when urgent needs arise, using a distribution process requiring as little administrative burden as possible.

In December 2020, 3ER shifted focus to provide grants for artists adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. With contributions from individuals and grants from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Illinois, The Field Foundation of Illinois, the HMS Fund, and the SIF Fund at the Chicago Community Foundation, by the end of 2020 we were able to support 35 artists with $1,500 grants.

In early 2021, an anonymous donor at The Chicago Community Foundation refueled the 3ER fund with $250,000, enabling us to reach an exponentially larger group of artists during the second year of the pandemic. We combined this with funds raised from our 2021 Community Award campaign to be able to distribute 154 3ER grants by the end of 2021. To date, we have provided 189 grants of $1,500 to artists in the 3Arts network.

As we plan for the future of 3ER, even if what qualifies as a "pressing need" may evolve, we anticipate that some artists will continue to need pandemic-related financial support into next year. 3Arts will continue to fundraise to refuel 3ER so that funds are available to artists in the new year.



"Thanks to 3ER, I was able to avoid having my insurance cancelled, pay out-of-pocket surgical expenses, and avoid choosing between essentials like utilities and disconnection."

"The 3Arts community is one of the reasons why I still live here. 3Arts has continued to be one of the most supportive and active nonprofits in helping Chicago based artists achieve their goals. It means a great deal to be a part of this family."