The America-Israel Cultural Foundation (AICF), which promotes artistic and cultural life in Israel, just announced that it is expanding its Artist Relief Fund, which provides grants to Israeli artists and will distribute an additional NIS 2.5 million to help artists in coping with the severe economic distress that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. In September, AICF established its fund and distributed 105 grants of NIS 2,000 each to artists. In this second cycle of the fund, AICF will distribute the about 900 grants of NIS 3,000 each. The 105 artists who received a grant the first time around will receive an additional NIS 1,000. AICF has launched a dedicated website for the Artist Relief Fund, with a simple online application for candidates, which requires personal details, proof of occupation and an explanation of their difficult economic situation as a result of the global pandemic. Candidates eligible to apply for this second cycle of relief grants must be professional artists with Israeli citizenship who are at least 21 years old and live in Israel. The fund will award grants to those candidates who meet the requirements and have experienced significant financial distress due to the pandemic. The Artist Relief Fund grants are not intended for AICF’s current scholarship recipients from 2020-2021.The grants are intended for artists who work in the fields of:– Dance: Dancers and choreographers, as well as costume, set and lighting designers; – Film: Directors, producers, cinematographers, editors, screenwriters and costume, set and lighting designers; – Music: Composers, instrumentalists, singers and conductors; – Theater: Directors, actors, playwrights, dramatists, pantomimists and costume, set and lighting designers; – Visual Arts: Photographers, painters, sculptors, plastic artists, performance artists, animators, cartoonists and video artists.Iris Reff Ronen, CEO of AICF said, “The global COVID-19 crisis has hit culture and the arts hard in Israel and around the world. Artists have found themselves without their livelihood for nearly a year and therefore need immediate financial assistance. America-Israel Cultural Foundation’s overarching goal is to support and promote art and artists in Israel. Four months ago the Foundation distributed nearly NIS 250,000 to 105 artists, and now we are launching a second cycle of assistance, totaling NIS 2.5 million, funds raised specifically for this purpose.” Throughout the years, the foundation has supported 18,000 artists, among them such notable artists as Pinchas Zuckerman, Ohad Naharin, Rita, Keren Peles, Itzhak Perlman, Shlomi Shaban, Shuli Rand, Michal Rovner and more.To apply for assistance through the Israeli Artist Relief Fund, artists are invited to visit the website at bit.ly/3bRrLaB and submit an online application and accompanying documents.