AUSTIN (KXAN) — Professionals in all types of industries are getting a helping hand in financial restitution after hearing South by Southwest, an event that helps sustain their annual income, would be canceled.
BACKGROUND: SXSW CANCELED AMID COVID-19 CONCERNS
“All of my roommates, all of my studio-mates, so many of my artists friends are all out anywhere from $500 to $10,000. So it’s a big blow to take,” said Ellen Bruxvoort, a fiber artist with Broad Studios.
To help these people, ilostmygig.com was launched over the weekend, a website encouraging donations. The site lists the names, approximate lost incomes and usernames to various mobile pay services like Venmo and PayPal.
“Your stories are heartbreaking but we know them all too well. We appreciate you, we see you, and we love you, Austin. Hang in there,” the website states.
Since its introduction, more than 280 submissions have been entered, totaling nearly $1.5 million in lost income.
“You put this kind of thing up wondering how receptive people are going to be to it, but I’m not surprised,” said Luke Lashley, the website’s creator and a partner at BL&S Film. “I think everyone is jumping at the chance to raise awareness about how much these events mean to freelance people and service workers.”
Lashley said he is carefully vetting each of the submissions to make sure they are legitimate. The only requirement is that the person lives in the greater-Austin area.
It helps out people like Samantha McCrary, a florist who wrote that her arrangements at the conference would’ve helped her pocket $15,000.
Cat Ballew is also on the list. She is a digital product designer and she won’t be able to showcase her client’s latest tech gadget, a digital mood ring that is connected to your phone.
“Talented and creative people have really big hearts because they put their heart and soul into their work and we are rampant with that in the Austin area. And I think its really important that people do that for each other right now,” Ballew said.
Ballew told KXAN she plans to give half of each donation she gets to a different person on the list.
Some people, like Bruxvoort aren’t on the list, but have still seen a tremendous effort within the city to soften the financial blow to many of Austin’s creative minds.
“Musicians, florists, carpenters, ceramicists, painters, there are so many in the city. And whenever we go through something together, we find out a way to get through it,” Bruxvoort said.