To enable me to pay the rent as I have during this time, I applied for and received £600 from the Bridging Bursary Fund offered through Creative Scotland (almost enough to cover 3 months of studio rent). I also applied to and was accepted for a commission to create a short studio video visit to represent and promote the Drill Hall along with my friend and fellow drill hall resident Mairi Brown for the Leith Late Virtual Studio and Mural Tours. This wonderful opportunity thankfully paid £200 - again, almost enough money for another month of studio rent. I have engaged in my own personal fundraising, raising another two months of studio rent on my Ko-fi site, a place where patrons can support artists. I am so thankful for all of this support and am delighted to have worked on something with Leith Late as I have wanted to for years now.
I applied for and received both self-employment grants from the UK government and will apply for a third much lesser grant when it becomes available. During this time, I have been actively promoting the galleries that represent me, while also selling my art directly to my patrons online to sustain myself. During these strange days, I have been focussed on promoting more affordable originals as well as prints as I know most folks are being as frugal as possible just now. I participated briefly in the artist support pledge on Instagram as well. I scoured the internet for other funding sources and grants, applying for two grants that I sadly wasn't chosen for, and I also applied for an art tutor position that I also didn't get. So as you can see, I am taking action steps to stay afloat during this time as are many others. It's obviously quite competitive out there just now.
I currently live about an hour's walk away from the studio or a 20-minute bus ride and the distance does, of course, hamper my ability to access my studio even when the building itself is now relatively safe with the new COVID measures in place. I have been in my studio once in July, once in August, and twice very briefly in September - as you can imagine paying for the studio and the wifi, while not using it, will eventually become unsustainable. I want to keep supporting the Drill Hall. I don't want to give up my studio and I also don't want to go into deferred debt (ie: a rent holiday which is another option the management has offered). I wrote the drill hall hoping that perhaps the half rent scheme could be extended or some other measures put into place while I and many others continue to work mostly from home solely as self-employed artists.
I appreciate that we are all struggling and I hope the Drill Hall has been the recipient of various government grants and other means of support as it is an asset to the community and one that I am proud to be a part of, long may it last.
Thank you to everyone who has bought a painting, small work, or print online, gotten in touch about a commission, or donated a cup of coffee, or sustained me through regular subscription donations. Thank you to the two patrons that bought refugee pieces during this time so I could donate money to a great cause and get two more bikes on the road. Thank you to a dear friend and patron who bought my ailing cat some prescription food and another dear friend and patron that helped to keep me in materials and regular donations during this time. Thank you to Jennifer and Tamsin my two monthly subscribers on Ko-fi. Those regular monthly amounts are extremely helpful! Thank you.