Big Sean, Jeff Daniels, Hill Harper join COVID-19 Artist Relief Telethon to aid local artists

The Detroit News

Editor's note: Watch the livestream here.

The pandemic has slammed local artists' bank accounts hard.

So on Thursday, a dozen celebrities including Big Sean, Hill Harper, Jeff Daniels, Morgan Fairchild, Ellen Cleghorne, Devin Scillian and others will take part in the COVID-19 Artist Relief Telethon to help out, said host Rochelle Riley.

Riley, who's director of arts and culture for the city of Detroit, said that in addition to videos by the entertainment stars, the telethon will showcase area artists and performers who've lost income from canceled gigs and exhibitions, closed by the coronavirus.

The telethon will air at 7 p.m. April 30 on Channel 21 in Detroit and on the statewide Comcast Channel 900. You can watch the event, also hosted by Mitch Albom, at According to Riley, it's likely to run about 90 minutes.

Of the telethon's origins, she said, "I was trying to find a way to do something to encourage people to give to the arts. I was getting calls every day from independent artist and event contractors saying, 'I’m broke – need help.'"

The Arts Crisis Emergency Fund, or A.C.E., will benefit artists across Wayne and Oakland counties. Donations can be made via a gofundme campaign through May at

About 16 artists responded to a call to send in short videos highlighting their craft.

Applications for A.C.E. assistance -- grants total $500, no strings attached -- are currently closed, but will reopen as donations come in. On Friday, the first day you could apply, over 200 artists registered.

The A.C.E. Fund is a partnership between Huntington Bank, Walker Miller Energy, the City of Detroit Office of Arts, Culture and Entrepreneurship and Albom.

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Twitter: @mhodgesartguy