A periodic round-up of news for artists related to the COVID-19 crisis.
CARES Act Update This week, the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance announced an update on its implementation of new benefits from the federal CARES Act. Self-employed individuals in the creative sector may have heard that the CARES Act benefits include temporary unemployment compensation to those not typically covered by unemployment insurance, like independent contractors and those employed in the gig economy. The Dept. of Unemployment Assistance announced that these benefits (called the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program) are almost ready. The Dept. is building a platform for individuals to apply and expects that platform to be ready on or near April 30, 2020. Learn more about CARES Act implementation. When they are ready, the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation details will be published here.
Artists Relief Funding Good news about more funding opportunities for artists facing the dire consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. A group of major arts funders has banded together, supergroup style, to offer Artist Relief, a fund that offers grants of $5,000 to artists facing financial emergencies stemming from COVID-19. The fund will operate through September 2020.
More Artists Relief Funding Closer to home, the Dance Complex announced the intriguing The Dance Complex Artists Rent Relief Fund, a fund to cover rent costs for the many artists who rent space at The Dance Complex in Cambridge.
A Cancellation, but then More Artists Relief Funding We heard the sad news that the Cambridge Arts River Festival scheduled for June has been canceled by Cambridge Arts. But then, a silver lining: $20,000 budgeted for the festival has been contributed to the Cambridge Artist Relief Fund. Also intriguing: Cambridge Arts will be launching the Cambridge Arts Stream Festival online in the coming weeks.
In Case You Missed This Artists Relief Funding We have launched the Mass Cultural Council COVID-19 Relief Fund for Individuals, offering $1,000 grants for Massachusetts artists with income losses due to COVID-19, deadline April 22, 20200.
AND DON’T FORGET We frequently update our COVID-19 Funding for Artists page.
Arts and Culture in the Virtual Realm Massachusetts artists and cultural organizations are continuing to find ways to connect through art. Some examples:
- Art Instruction Online IS183 Art School in Stockbridge is offering online resources including paid classes and free video tutorials.
- Playwriting Series HowlRound, a free and open platform for theatremakers that’s based at the Emerson College Office of the Arts, is livestreaming a 5-week, Latinx-led playwriting series featuring writers/theatremakers from across the U.S.
- Online Photography Exhibit/Contest The Cape Cod Art Center is hosting a Photography Scavenger Hunt, a kind of weekly community exhibition and contest. See work by one of the photographers, Janet Walton, embedded at the beginning of this article.
- Public Art Project The Natick Cultural District has hosting a community art project: LOVE 01760.
- Choreographers-in-Residence The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, like so many institutions, have had to close to visitors and suspend their performance calendar. But the Gardner shared this video of a performance by Gardner Museum Choreographers-In-Residence, All Ready, from October 2018. All Ready created an original work inspired by John Singer Sargent’s El Jaleo and the Flamenco records that the painter used to exchange with Isabella Stewart Gardner.
Culture Chats Finally, check out our Culture Chats hosted by Mass Cultural Council Executive Director Anita Walker, featuring inspiring conversations with Massachusetts cultural leaders. The next is April 13, 2020, 1 PM, with Lee Heald, Director of the AHA! program in New Bedford, discussing how her organization adapted their in-person arts and culture nights to a virtual event.
Image: Photography by Janet Walton, from the Cape Cod Art Center’s Photography Scavenger Hunt.