San Francisco Will Pay Artists $1,000 a Month in Universal Basic Income

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The pilot program intended to assist the city’s arts community during the pandemic is drawing both interest and criticism from proponents of unconditional cash transfers.

San Francisco will become the latest city to experiment with a universal basic income (UBI). Sort of.

In an effort to assist the city’s struggling arts community in bouncing back from the pandemic, Mayor London Breed announced last week that she’d be rolling out a cash transfer program for artists.

Under the mayor’s plan, 130 artists in the city will receive a $1,000 monthly cash stipend for a period of six months starting early next year.  It’s one of several arts-themed policies sourced from the city’s Economic Recovery Task Force final report released last Thursday, which also includes funding for “artists to paint murals with a public health theme on boarded-up businesses and deploy performance artists to promote COVID-safe behaviors in high foot traffic areas.”

“In the months and years ahead, it’s going to take that same collective effort to confront the economic devastation caused by this virus,” said Breed in a press release. “We need to continue to translate these ideas into action so we can get people back to work and get San Francisco moving forward.”


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