San Francisco is trialling giving local artists $1,000 monthly basic income

Musicians and filmmakers will be among the recipients

The city of San Francisco will run a six-month trial this year, paying local artists $1,000 (£725) a month in a bid to better support its creative community.

The money is to be paid in cash from May this year to 130 local artists “whose artistic practice is rooted in a historically marginalised community,” reports The San Francisco Chronicle.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced the pilot program on Thursday (March 25), saying it’s to help artists survive the coronavirus crisis and embolden their work moving forward.


“This new program is an innovative effort to help our creative sector get through this challenging time, and come back even stronger and more resilient than before,” Breed said on the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) website. “The arts are critical to our local economy and are an essential part of our long-term recovery.”

The pilot is open to those working across the arts and entertainment sectors, which includes music, theatre, film, dance, creative writing, visual art, performance art, installation and photography. An income qualification must be met should art teachers and craft workers want to be counted.

According to the YBCA, San Francisco’s artistic community generated $1.45billion (£1.05billion) prior to the crisis and employed shy of 40,000 local residents.

“There are people living in challenging circumstances right now,” Deborah Cullinan told the Chronicle. “We want to move as quickly as we can to get them the resources they need.”


The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas last year discussed the concept of universal basic income in an interview with former US presidential candidate Andrew Yang.