III Points and ICA's Miami Artist Initiative Offers Relief Funds to Local Creatives

III Points' Ross LaBrie (left), David Sinopoli, and Erica Freshman.
III Points' Ross LaBrie (left), David Sinopoli, and Erica Freshman.
Photo by Karli Evans
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David Sinopoli spent the past couple of weeks searching for a potential post-quarantine date for III Points. Now that the Strokes, Wu-Tang Clan, and more than 100 of the bands originally slated to play the music festival in May have committed to October 16 and 17, Sinopoli and the rest of the III Points gang realized it would be tone-deaf not to give back to the people suffering from the COVID-19 economic catastrophe.

"We knew a lineup announcement would get us some attention," Sinopoli says, "but it didn't seem ethical to push for a ticket layaway plan right now. III Points has always been about the local scene. We saw artists didn't have anyone speaking for them the way other industries are supporting their own. We tried to think of an idea to use our platform to raise money to help musicians. With all the closures, so many musicians have had residencies and shows canceled. We wanted to find a way to supplement their incomes."

So III Points, in the partnership with the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami (ICA), is offering local artists the opportunity to apply for financial assistance in amounts ranging from $50 to $300 thanks to the Miami Artist Initiative. Sinopoli says the aid is available for local artists of any discipline, including visual or graphic art, music, film, DJ'ing, and writing. The only caveats are that applicants must reside in Miami-Dade County and must have worked as an artist for a minimum of one year. Also, only those who are genuinely in need should apply because "funds are limited."

Nothing will be expected in return for the money, Sinopoli says. Artists will not be obligated to use the funds to compose a song, create a painting, film a movie, or write a sonnet. Instead, the money is intended to help artists pay rent, buy groceries, or make a car payment at a time when income is nearly impossible to find.

Sinopoli is unsure exactly how soon he and his team will be able to get the money to artists, but he encourages people to apply as quickly as possible. "We have to see what comes in on the application side. It's really hard to speculate how many people might need the money. So we decided to get it up and rolling and see what the need is before we can come up with a time frame."

Now that a new date for III Points 2020 has been set, Sinopoli will spend the next week trying to raise money and attention for the cause. He hopes people who aren't feeling an economic pinch will contribute funds to the artists who enlighten and entertain through good and bad times. "It's hard for me to ask anyone to do anything with the way things are right now," he says, "but if you're in the position to donate, this is a way to help support the arts and this city."

To donate to or apply for the Miami Artist Initiative, visit iiipoints.com/experience/get-involved.

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