SAN FRANCISCO—The city is partnering with Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) to launch the artist guaranteed income pilot program that will pay 130 local artists monthly payments of $1,000. The program is being pushed with the conjunction of the YBCA, The Office of Racial Equity at the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, Grants for the Arts, and the San Francisco Arts Commission. The YBCA is administering the program through a $870,000 grant from the city.

The announcement came from Mayor London Breed on Thursday, March 25. The program is intended to help those artists living and working in San Francisco that have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program is defining an artist as “someone who actively engages with the community through music, dance, creative writing, visual art, performance art, installation, photography, theater, or film.” Teaching artists, arts educators, and culturally based craft workers and makers are also eligible for the program.

The following eligibility requirements must be met for artists to apply:

  1. An adult (18 years of age or older) resident of San Francisco in an eligible zip code (94102, 94110, 94112, 94124, 94134, 94103, 94107, 94109, 94115, 94117, 94130, 94158, and 94108.
  2. An artist whose artistic practice is rooted in a historically marginalized community.
  3. Facing loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  4. Income qualifying

The website provided the following chart for applicants to confirm if they are “income qualifying”:

Income Eligibility Requirements

“This Guaranteed Income Pilot is grounded in the understanding that artists and the cultural sector are the heartbeat of our civic life and must be supported through innovative funding methods,” stated YBCA CEO Deborah Cullinan.

Artists have until April 15 to submit their application on the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts website. Applicants will be notified on April 20 the status of their application. If accepted, artists will have until May 4 to confirm their participation in the program. May 21 will be the first cash payment, June 4 will be the second cash payment, and subsequent payments will be made on the first Friday of every month. October 1 will be the final cash payment.

“Learnings from the Pilot will help us to understand how guaranteed income impacts artists’ ability to focus on creative output and reinvest in their communities” stated YBCA on their website.

More information about the guaranteed income program and application is available online: ybca.org/guaranteed-income-pilot/

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I am a senior at Temple University in Philadelphia. Throughout my life, I have had a passion for writing and storytelling. I find comfort in writing – it has always been a way I can comfortably express myself. I have also had a passion for politics – specifically, social justice and equality. These interests of mine have led me to major in journalism and political science at my university. As the field of Journalism is changing, I have gained numerous multimedia skills in order to further my story-telling. I am a sports geek, a lover of music, and an outdoorsman. I hope to spread my passions with the world.