Image: City of Chicago's Covid Awareness Billboard program, Covid Sunshine by Candace Hunter

3Arts offers two types of swift, responsive grant programs aimed to help artists navigate moments of crisis (3ER) or seize opportunities that can advance their careers (3-Opp). These programs are open to artists who have received past support from 3Arts. 

3ER (3Arts Emergency Response)

3ER provides grants for short-term relief when artists face urgent needs that jeopardize their ability to support basic living expenses. Since 2020, we have distributed more than $300,000 in 3ER funds to 200+ area artists.

The purpose of 3ER is to offer essential support in times of crisis, for example, when artists are experiencing:

  • Unexpected loss of employment and/or income
  • New or increased financial burdens due to physical and mental health concerns
  • Personal and family healthcare, medical bills, and caregiving
  • Precarious or unsafe living situations

In the four years since this program began, a majority of the artists seeking this support requested funds to offset medical expenses or help cover the cost of health insurance, highlighting a larger trend that working artists lack affordable, reliable, and consistent access to healthcare.

Artists in the network may apply for grants of up to $1,500 on a first-come, first-served basis. 

3-Opp (3Arts Opportunities)

Launched in 2024, our 3-Opp program functions similarly to 3ER but with a focus on helping artists pursue an unanticipated creative or career opportunity. Examples include travel and shipping costs for a residency, expenses related to an upcoming exhibition or performance, and taking a workshop to learn skills needed for their artistic practices.

Artists in the network may apply for grants of up to $1,000 on a first-come, first-served basis. 



"Thanks to 3ER, I was able to avoid having my insurance cancelled, pay out-of-pocket surgical expenses, and avoid choosing between essentials like utilities and disconnection."

"The 3Arts community is one of the reasons why I still live here. 3Arts has continued to be one of the most supportive and active nonprofits in helping Chicago based artists achieve their goals. It means a great deal to be a part of this family."