India Center Foundation’s Arts Resiliency Fund Gains National Grassroots Momentum

(New York, NY – April 23, 2020) As the coronavirus pandemic continues to take its toll on the livelihood of artists and arts organizations across every major discipline, grassroots communities are uniting to show their support for The South Asian Arts Resiliency Fund (SAARF), a grant program created by the India Center Foundation for South Asian artists and arts workers in the U.S. who have been impacted by the economic fallout of COVID-19 because of postponed or canceled performances, events or exhibitions.

Supported by ICF seed money, a crowdfunding campaign and multiple live streaming experiences, the Fund has already raised more than $25,000, with a targeted goal of $500,000, which the organization hopes to raise over time from generous support by arts patrons and philanthropic communities. In fact, multiple solo artists and groups, like Third Eye Collective, Non Resident and Kathak Meetup NYC, have already hosted online performances and live stream festivals to benefit the Fund, while other arts/community organizations are sharing information about the program with its patrons.

 India Center Foundation's Arts Resiliency Fund Gains National Grassroots Momentum

To date, more than 80 artists and arts workers have applied for a grant through SAARF; their ancestral origins range from across South Asia, including Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and India. Sixty percent of these applicants say they have lost more than 80% of their income due to COVID-19. Applications have also originated from 10 of the 50 states in the

United States, primarily from the ‘performing arts’ field, and within that, predominantly ‘dance.’

“We are humbled by the response SAARF has been getting over the past two weeks, especially from artists, patrons and community groups” said Raoul Bhavnani, one of ICF’s Co-Founders. “But we have a long way to go to even make a DENT in repairing some of the havoc this pandemic has wrecked on the lives of the South Asian artist community. We are surviving our respective lockdowns, in part, because of the art we are consuming on a daily basis, whether it be a film or television series, a virtual museum tour or an online live music concert. Our artists’ livelihoods have been paused, and they have very few places to turn. We need everyone to pitch in to make this initiative the success it has the potential of becoming for the South Asian arts community.”


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.

*Grants will be targeted to at least $1,000, depending on eligibility and financial need. Online applications have been available since April 13th at the organization’s website,
About Us: 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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