Initiative in New York Gives Artists Grants for Childcare Needs

June 24, 2024

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By 

Elle Yap

As childcare costs in the United States continue to rise for working families, a non-profit organization in New York launched a new initiative that gives “artists identifying as mothers” funding to pay for those needs.

Artists & Mothers, founded by Maria De Victoria and Julia Trotta, aspires to address the increasing need for parents to leave the workforce to care for their children. They want to give artists room “to think creatively and [remain] committed to their practices.” The funding for now focuses on New York-based artists with children under three years of age. 

The New York City skyline. Photo by Dllu. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
The New York City skyline. Photo by Dllu. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

“With little to no public options for childcare before the age of three, too often mothers are expected to pause their careers in order to fulfill their obligations as caretakers,” the organization said. “[We recognize] the compromises artists are faced with in the early years of parenthood, and seek to provide support at a crucial time in a mother’s personal and professional development.”

Balancing the Demands of Creativity and Parenthood

The organization awarded the $25,000 grant for this year to visual artist Carissa Rodriguez. She will receive the funds throughout the next year. This is expected to cover over nine months of childcare costs for the artist. 

“I am grateful to Artists & Mothers for recognizing that social reproduction, or more simply put– the care work that holds us together as families and communities is a vital part of what makes art possible,” she said in a statement.

While the recipient for this year was chosen through a nomination process with the board, the next year will use an open-call application with an anonymous jury to choose the recipient.

A person in front of sketches and busts. Photo by Katrin Bolovtsova. Source: Pexels.
A person in front of sketches and busts. Photo by Katrin Bolovtsova. Source: Pexels.

During the announcement, Trotta told ARTNews that the funding plan underwent multiple iterations before its current one. The organization also considered a potential residency that came with childcare for the artist. 

And yet, Trotta said that the organization decided to leave it to the mothers on what will help the most. “[We] boil it down to the most impactful path, thinking about what really do people need and what we established that they needed was funding to be able to pay a childcare provider, flexible to their needs.”

The organization plans to roll out other initiatives for artists and children of different ages. Funding was provided for the 2024 iteration by The Niki Charitable Art Foundation. The James Family Foundation will support the next year’s grant. 

The Childcare Crisis in the United States

Woman with child. Photo by Kristina Paukshtite. Source: Pexels.
Woman with child. Photo by Kristina Paukshtite. Source: Pexels.

The organization’s new initiative comes as recent census data in the nation confirms the increase of childcare costs since 2014. The census data concluded that these expenses are “untenable for families throughout the country.” They’ve since called for more federal funding for childcare. 

Reports show that many women have been forced out of the workforce during the pandemic to care for their children. As many of those women attempt to return to the workforce, the increasing costs of childcare—reportedly costing more than rent for many states—put into question the tenability of dual-income households in the country. 

Related reading: Reflection House: A Home for A Mother and A Son

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