Today we speak with Rob Brooksher, founder of the Atlanta Artist Relief Fund. As the state and many businesses begin to reopen and “normal” life seems to resume, it’s important to remember that many artists and musicians are still heavily affected by the COVID19 world wide pandemic that has no realistic end in sight. With many music and entertainment events completely cancelled or rescheduled to summer/fall 2021, there’s are plenty of opportunities for the community to help and support those in need right here in ATL.
Who are you and what is your role?
I’m Rob Brooksher and I’m the founder and “chief optimist” of AARF. I’m in charge of all of our relief efforts, and work with our 10 person core volunteer team to organize getting artists the help they need to weather this storm.
When/ why did the Atlanta Artist Relief Fund start?
AARF started in early March, right after I got back from tour. We played Seattle for a few nights and I saw how seriously people were taking the outbreaks there, and we heard rumblings of mass cancellations of live events. After seeing Broadway and touring companies close and personally losing months of Cruise line work, I recognized that it was only a matter of time before this outbreak extended nationwide, and specifically to our Atlanta arts community. I was inspired to help our community however I could, so we started the Atlanta Artist Relief Fund.
What is it’s purpose/mission? What does AARF do for local artists?
Our primary mission is cooking and delivering free nutritious meals to artists in need. In addition to this primary mission, we also run errands, have weekly one-on-one and group socialization and isolation relief check-ins, daily children’s storytime hours for those with children. We have also created a Facebook group of over 2,700 ATL artists and patrons which acts as a message board for job postings, auditions, and unemployment/assistance advice. To date we have delivered over 350 meals to artists and cooked hundreds more, have an active team of 80 volunteers, and have raised over $20,000 dollars for the effort.
What can others do to help AARF?
As far as our group is concerned, there’s two ways to help: you can donate financially or donate food supplies by reaching out to us at atlartsrelief.org or firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can join us and help volunteer. We have volunteer needs for both food delivery and remote work, such as volunteer coordination, supply pickups and more. We are hoping to raise enough money to keep this fund solvent for the entirely of this crisis with the ability to ramp back up if we hit another round of viral outbreaks.
There is another fund I’d like to plug that has come up in response to this, which is C4 Atlanta’s Atlanta Artist Lost Gig Fund. I’ve spoken with Jessyca at C4, and we believe that we can help out as different avenues of the same mission. They are offering direct financial support while we are offering food delivery, errand runs, check ins and more boots on the ground, immediate support. They’re doing great work and I’d be remiss if I didn’t give them a shout out.
To volunteer, donate, or seek help find AARF on social media & GoFundMe!
Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/199541764601434/
Facebook page: @atlartsrelief