Lowcountry Strong: Artists start non-profit to keep creative scene alive during COVID-19

VIDEO: Group looks to help struggling artists

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - With public galleries, shops and events cancelled during the novel coronavirus pandemic, Lowcountry artists are feeling the financial strain.

That’s why Lowcountry artists have started the non-profit “Supporting Local Artists Y’all,” also known as SLAY.

Founder Amiri Farris is a Bluffton-based painter who said he wanted to start the organization after seeing the toll the virus has taken on creative business all over the Lowcountry.

“It’s really a part of their paycheck so all of those things are really cut off right now, you know, the different festivals and exhibits,” Farris said. “I created SLAY to help those artists that are still creating and want to create new content, new paintings, new videos and media and would be able financially to do that.”

Executive Director Heather Bruemmer said the short-term goal is to provide relief to struggling artists.

“Our first initial goal is to raise some funds for immediate need,” Bruemmer said. “Engaging our artists, allowing them to sort of unleash their creativity in this way and be a sort of first responder to this crisis in their own unique way.”

Farris said while many remain self-isolated during the pandemic, he wants to engage people who otherwise wouldn’t seek out art.

“I think people are really seeing how important the arts are right now because everyone’s kind of stuck at home,” Farris said. “Art is everything and so I think that everything that you see in the world around you involves art somehow.”

Bruemmer said she wants the organization to outlive COVID-19 as more than an emergency resource, but as an online gallery to connect creative minds.

“We also have an amazing team of artists that were working with and we are collaborating to create content to expand that website,” Bruemmer said.

The organization is currently accepting one time requests for up to $500 in assistance on a first-come-first-serve basis for Lowcountry artists.

More information on donations and funding requests can be found on their website.

Copyright 2020 WCSC. All rights reserved.