Freelancers and Artists

As COVID-19 has impacted L.A.’s economy, artists and contractors in the entertainment industry, along with gig workers, have been hit hard. The resources below are targeted toward these workers.

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Due to the federal government’s passage of the CARES Act, many artists, creative economy workers and gig workers are now eligible for benefits to compensate for economic impacts from COVID-19. The new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program helps unemployed Californians who are business owners, self-employed, independent contractors, have limited work history, and others not usually eligible for regular state UI benefits who are out of business or services are significantly reduced as a direct result of the pandemic. The provisions of the program, once operational, include:

  • Up to 39 weeks of benefits starting with weeks of unemployment beginning February 2, 2020, through the week ending December 26, 2020, depending on when you became directly impacted by the pandemic.
  • An additional $600 to each PUA weekly benefit amount you may be eligible to receive, as part of the separate CARES Act Pandemic Additional Compensation program. Only the weeks of a claim between March 29 and July 25 are eligible for the extra $600 payments.

To determine eligibility, payment amounts and for more information, visit California’s Employment Development Department website. EDD began accepting online applications for this program on April 28.


This program provides emergency relief grants to City of Los Angeles-based dance, music, and theatre artists, as well as small ensembles who have had their public performances, shows, or concerts cancelled. Solo artists are eligible for up to $400 and ensembles up to $1,200 to cover losses in time and/or materials that were committed toward events, which were to have taken place at a venue within the City of Los Angeles and were to be open to the general public. Eligible events should have been publicly advertised and scheduled to take between March 16, 2020, and May 16, 2020, AND must have been cancelled (or postponed to after August 30, 2020).

Professional dance, music, and theatre solo artists may apply directly. Small ensembles should designate a single individual to represent the group. Only one application is allowable per eligible individual or group, and Individuals may apply only once, as either a solo performing artist or as a member of a small ensemble.


All applicants must:

  • Reside within the City of Los Angeles: click here to verify your home address is within the boundaries of the City of Los Angeles.
  • Demonstrate professional presenting experience over at least the past 3 years on an attached resume for the applying performing artist or group.

Applicants cannot be high school or college students performing projects for school accreditation.

For more information and to apply, click here.

The California Arts Council has put together an extensive resource page, including emergency funding opportunities, emergency preparedness best practices, and webinars featuring arts leaders and artists from the national arts community.