Artists and cultural practitioners across the Arab region are already working in challenging contexts that experience war, economic pressures, repressive measures on liberties but also administrative and institutional hurdles. The Coronavirus crisis has caused further stress but mainly magnified long-standing inequalities and lack of social safety nets. In the midst of failing economies and on-going humanitarian and political calamities in different countries of the Arab region, the spread of COVID-19 globally has compounded the situation even more. Many communities have to deal with additional economic damages resulting from the disruption of normal life and the lingering lockdown, to counter the spread of the virus. Within the arts and culture sector, a lot of actors have to rely on their ability as individuals and small collectives to adapt to the situation as best as they can.

While the current crisis exposes further the vulnerability and precariousness of the arts and culture sector across the region, calling for strategic thinking and efforts, the immediate needs and challenges cannot be undermined. More than ever, it is essential to balance immediate actions and responses with strategic visions and goals.

In that frame, AFAC is launching an exceptional support scheme, the Artist Support Grant, in solidarity with artists and independent cultural practitioners under confinement across the Arab region, and whose creative practices and incomes are being adversely impacted by the Coronavirus crisis.

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