After several years of feeling the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic, Atlanta’s creative sector is receiving a boost.

“The pandemic hit our independent creative sector hard as entertainment venues, performance spaces, filming, music and other productions were temporarily closed or suspended,” said Mayor Andre Dickens on Sept. 9 while announcing the launch of the Creative Industries Grant Fund.

The Creative Industries Grant Fund is offering awards of $5,000 to $20,000.

The fund is a joint program between the Mayor’s Office of Film and Entertainment and Invest Atlanta. The program will focus its assistance on the city of Atlanta’s independent content creators and entrepreneurs.

“Some estimates suggest that industries hit hardest by COVID-19, including arts, entertainment and recreation, will not make a full recovery until 2025 or later,” said Dr. Eloisa Klementich, president and CEO of Invest Atlanta.

“Eighty-four percent of creatives who responded to a 2020 Invest Atlanta survey said their income fell, and we recognize that many are still working to regain their footing, which makes this grant program especially helpful,” said Klementich.

The Creative Industries Grant Fund is open to:

  • Independent content creators and creative entrepreneurs located within the city of Atlanta that plan to create content within the city of Atlanta
  • Independent record, management labels and their talent located within the city of Atlanta
  • Independent businesses who provide educational resources and platforms to creative entrepreneurs, including:
    • Creative accelerators and incubators;
    • Independent commercial arts industry professionals
    • Independent designers, photographers, illustrators, web designers, graphic designers, multimedia designers

Creative professionals who received a loan through the previous Creative Industries Loan Fund may have some or all of their loan forgiven through the new grant program.

“The loan changed my life,” said actor, Devin Robinson, who received a Creative Industries Loan through Invest Atlanta during the first round.

“For the first time as an artist, I had enough funding to complete a project, not ‘just enough’ or ‘enough to make it work’ but enough. That’s huge. Ask any artist if they’ve ever had that experience,” he said.

Grant awards can support:

  • Production
  • Post-production
  • Distribution
  • Marketing outreach
  • Touring
  • Prototype development
  • Product development
  • Sales and attraction for their creative projects

“By offering grants we can do more to accelerate economic recovery and growth in one of our city’s most important industries,” said Dickens.

The fund supports the City of Atlanta’s Economic Mobility Plan. It was originally opened in 2017 as the Creative Industries Loan Fund. In recent years, it was converted to a fund with $725,000 available to support creative professionals as they recover from economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Invest Atlanta will accept applications from Sept. 9 through Nov. 9, 2022. Interested applicants can apply here.

All applicants must have a valid City of Atlanta business license.

Grants are expected to be disbursed to awardees at the beginning of 2023 after the application review and scoring period is completed in early January 2023.

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