Art as a public good supported by public funds sounds like a radical idea, even to the artists themselves. But the coronavirus pandemic has provoked a re-examination of support programs for artists across the United States. In California, two arts organizations are trying out pilots that provide monthly, no-strings-attached funding for local artists from marginalized communities who have been affected by the pandemic. After initial city funding, the pilots have also received private support to extend the program to 18 months. “We’re looking at human beings not as tools of the market, we’re looking at human beings as inherently valuable,” says community activist Kofi Hunt. And for Kris Watts, the artist, the money, and the feeling that his vision is valued, are both “just a godsend."

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