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Club Passim Launches Artist Relief Fund With 'Keep Your Distance Fest'

Club Passim on Wednesday became the latest Boston-area organization to launch a relief fund for artists who have lost work in the coronavirus pandemic. The Passim Emergency Artist Relief Fund, or the PEAR Fund, offers grants of up to $500 and is open to any musician who has performed or taught at the Cambridge folk club in the last decade.

"We are very community-based and community strong," said Club Passim managing director Matt Smith. "So to me, it is on us to look out for people when they're having a hard time."

To raise awareness for the fund, Club Passim asked musicians to record themselves performing songs and add the videos to a YouTube playlist. They call it the Keep Your Distance Fest. The virtual "festival" launched with contributions from Passim favorites like Boston singer-songwriter Alastair Moock, indie pop musician Erin McKeown and New York jazz singer Vilray.

Club Passim joins the growing ranks of government, nonprofit and community funds created to help artists who have lost gigs due to COVID-19 precautions. In Boston, they include The Record Company's Boston Music Maker COVID-19 Fund, which gives grants of up to $200 on a first-come-first serve basis, and the Boston Artist Relief Fund, which is managed by the city and gives grants of $500 and $1,000.

The Passim Emergency Artist Relief Fund raised over $14,000 within a day of its launch. The nonprofit hopes to begin distributing grants to musicians in need by the end of the week.

Amelia Mason Twitter Arts And Culture Reporter
Amelia Mason is an arts and culture reporter and critic for The ARTery, WBUR's arts and culture team. She covers everything from fine art to television to the inner workings of the Boston music scene.

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