Bennett Konesni (left), and John Gawler laugh with each other while playing with their family, the Gawler Family Band, during the Belfast contra dance in 2017. Credit: Ashley L. Conti / BDN

PORTLAND, Maine — A Maine arts nonprofit is giving $70,000 to state musicians who haven’t been able to perform because of the coronavirus.

The Maine Musician Relief Fund will issue $1,000 grants to 70 Maine musicians in the coming weeks through an application process. A statewide selection committee will choose grantees “based on a mix of need and artistic merit, with consideration given to marginalized identities, as well as geographic diversity.”

“With federal relief caught in limbo and a return to regular gigging, touring and recording nowhere in sight, we know this is an urgent moment for musicians in our state and beyond,” SPACE spokesperson Genevieve Beaudoin said.

The fund was created through a mix of foundation and private donors through SPACE, a nonprofit arts venue in Portland, and the Bob Crewe Foundation, a music and fine arts development fund. Eligible grantees must be 18 and older and based in Maine.

“We will certainly be able to make payment before the end of the year,” said SPACE programmer Peter McLaughlin, one of five members of the selection committee.

Musicians, theater artists and other live performers have been among the most affected by the shutdowns. A separate effort, the Maine Music Alliance, has raised money for select live music venues that have been shut down because of the pandemic.