India Center Foundation’s Covid-related South Asian Arts Resiliency Fund Announces First Round of Grantees

India Center Foundation's Covid-related South Asian Arts Resiliency Fund Announces First Round of Grantees

(New York, NY – May 13, 2020) Twelve artists from multiple disciplines, ethnic backgrounds and geographic diversity will receive the first round of the The South Asian Arts Resiliency Fund (SAARF), a grant program created by the India Center Foundation (ICF) for South Asian-American artists and arts workers who have been impacted by the economic fallout of COVID-19. From filmmakers to performance and visual artists to writers and musicians, the grantees trace their roots to South Asia (Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Afghanistan and India) and represent its culture through their art in the U.S.

Grantees are as diverse as the applicants and are chosen on the strengths of their contributions. One such grantee is LA-based MC Seti X (aka Mandeep Sethi), whose politically charged verses have had GQ Magazine call him “India’s booming hip hop scene’s new voice.” Other grantees include curator, painter, educator and advocate Sadaf Padder, who is serving her community of Brooklyn as an Artists-in-Masks Resident with COPE NYC by designing PPE for essential workers along with NYC youth. Included also are tabla player Rajesh Bhanderi, whose 20-year career has seen him perform with the likes of Ustad Zakir Hussain, Falu Shah and Shakira and, finally, cartoonist Soumya Dhulekar, whose cartoons with themes of grief, memory and coming-of-age have been printed in various anthologies and included in national exhibitions. More information can be found on the ICF website,

“We’ve had 120 applicants from 19 states so far for round one, and though their contributions to culture and society are invaluable, their reported income loss from this pandemic, collectively, hovers around $1.5 million,” says Raoul Bhavnani, one of ICF’s Co-Founders. “Our goal is to provide $500,000 in grants to South Asian-American artists and arts workers of all disciplines, in order to help them continue creating work that embodies South Asian culture, while also supporting their livelihoods.”

The deadline for Round Two of the grant is May 15, with winners being announced May 25th. Although the Fund has reached $30,000 towards its $500,000 goal, with ICF providing the initial seed money, “We have a long way to go,” adds Bhavnani. “This is very much a grassroots campaign, and although we are gaining momentum, we appreciate all donations no matter how big or small they are.”


The development, creation and presentation of work requires the time and expertise of a multitude of people, not just the artist. As such, the fund will provide support for artists and arts personnel in the U.S. through project grants on a rolling basis for the development of work, particularly during the ongoing pandemic.

Examples of Projects:

  • Creation of music, dance, theater, film, visual arts or literature projects (ongoing or new)
  • Research for development of music, dance, theater, film or visual arts projects (ongoing or new)
  • Strategic planning by a manager or agent for an artist
  • Content creation for project deployment
  • Creation of resources for artists to support careers in the arts


Eligible applicants are United States-based, South Asian arts workers in the performing arts, film, visual arts or literature who can demonstrate loss of income because of canceled or postponed engagements due to COVID-19.

Arts Workers are defined as:

  • Artists such as: dancers, choreographers, musicians, poets, actors, comedians, playwrights, directors, filmmakers, writers, composers, visual artists, etc.
  • Arts personnel such as: technicians (lighting, sound, costume, stage management, production, editor), independent curators / presenters, producers, agents, managers, etc.

The India Center Foundation is a New York City-based, non-profit organization dedicated to the study and celebration of Indian Art & Culture, as well as the exploration of India’s place in the world and relationship with The United States. Primarily through collaborations with preeminent cultural and public affairs organizations, The India Center Foundation aims to be the American home for dialogue, debate and education about the subcontinent and its Diaspora. For more information, please visit

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