The Genesis Foundation pledges further support for freelance artists in the UK

25 September 2020

This summer, the Genesis Foundation announced the Genesis Covid-19 Artists Fund, a £100,000 rescue fund for freelancers participating in the training programmes run in the foundation’s name by its partner organisations: the Young Vic, The Sixteen, the National Theatre, the Almeida Theatre and LAMDA. This emergency fund will go some way to ensuring the survival of the many freelancers involved in these vital schemes. Later in the year, a major new Genesis Fund, tailored to support individual artists facing unprecedented hardship, will be announced.

In view of the devastating impact of Covid-19, the Board of the Genesis Foundation, which has been nurturing emerging artists for the past 20 years, is prioritising funding for its established partners and for freelance artists whose livelihoods and careers have been jeopardised by the pandemic. As a consequence of this response to an unprecedented crisis, the Foundation has been obliged to reconsider its potential commitment to several forthcoming projects.

Among these is Hackney Council’s project honouring the Windrush Generation, and specifically two artworks, by artists Thomas J Price and Veronica Ryan, set to be unveiled in 2021. John Studzinski,  Founder and Chairman of the Genesis Foundation, has championed this important project from the outset. The Foundation was hoping to contribute funding towards its realisation, but after careful consideration, and with regret, has decided to withdraw from further participation in the planning for the two artworks.

In addition to his commitment to emerging artists, John Studzinski has a long history of supporting human rights causes. Until June 2020 he was a non-executive Director at the Home Office, providing external advice from the private sector and focusing on abolishing modern slavery through disrupting its proliferation via British corporate supply chains. He is also a co-founder of the Arise Foundation, which combats slavery and human trafficking.

Unfortunately, inaccurate critical references have recently been made on social media to the Foundation’s potential involvement in Hackney Council’s Windrush project. These have distracted attention from the admirable ideals and artistic values that have driven the entire project, and which will no doubt continue to define it as it reaches fruition in 2021. The Windrush sculptures need to be made, and the Genesis Foundation feels sure that Hackney Council will find the support it needs to realise them and pay due tribute to the Windrush Generation. The Genesis Foundation looks forward to seeing this project develop and wishes it every success. In the meantime, and as the pandemic crisis continues, the Foundation will prepare to announce details before the end of 2020 of its further support for freelance artists in the UK.

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