A periodic round-up of news for artists related to the COVID-19 crisis.
Mass Cultural Council Pandemic-Related Funding On April 27, 2020, Mass Cultural Council announced 272 awards to individual artists and independent teaching artists/scientists/humanists as part of the COVID-19 Relief Fund for Individuals. We received over 1,800 applications and awarded the grants by allocating the funding to six geographic regions and then selecting grantees through a randomized selection. Our original expectation was to fund a total of 225 awards by redirecting existing Agency funds. However, due to the support and generosity of the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), who donated $47,000 to the COVID-19 Relief Fund for Individuals, we were able to make 47 additional grants. If more funding becomes available this fiscal year, we will make additional awards to individuals who applied, using the same randomized selection process.
CARES Act Funding for Creative Youth Development On April 29, 2020, the Mass Cultural Council governing council voted to distribute funds to 74 Massachusetts Creative Youth Development organizations. The special funding comes to us via the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), which received $75 million as part of the federal CARES Act. The CYD grants are in addition to those we announced earlier in April, awarding supplemental operating support grants to existing Mass Cultural Council CIP Portfolio and Gateway grantees.
Recovery Mass Cultural Council Executive Director Anita Walker wrote an editorial in CommonWealth Magazine about the way forward for the cultural sector, “the heart and soul of the best of Massachusetts.”
A.R.T. Study Speaking of the way forward, Greg Cook wrote in Wonderland about the American Repertory Theater’s collaborative study with the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Roadmap to Recovery and Resilience for Theater.
Webinars with Arts Administrators Arts Administration Association New England has announced a series of “Sip and Chat” webinars with arts administrators from the region. The first is May 5, 2020, 4 PM, featuring Erin Becker (Executive Director, Cambridge Arts Association), Deborah Davidson (Founder/Director, Catalyst Conversation), and Kris Waldman (Executive Director, Hopkinton Center for the Arts).
Open Studios Though unable currently to do in-person studio visits, Somerville Open Studios has launched a Youtube Channel featuring Somerville artists finding creative ways to invite viewers into their studio spaces.
Connecting Artists Callie Chapman at Studio @550 has launched Artist2Artist, an online platform meant to connect artists with classes and offerings by other artists, in the Greater Boston area.
Homebound Symphony The Boston Symphony Orchestra is sharing video content while its doors are closed due to COVID-19. The BSO at Home: Musicians series includes videos from BSO’s worldclass musicians as they find ways to integrate music into their lives sheltering in place.
Changes in Cambridge The City of Cambridge announced that it has temporarily suspended its Street Performer Program to stem the spread of COVID-19. In April, Cambridge Arts canceled its 2020 Cambridge Arts River Festival (schedule for June), but the agency plans to run its Cambridge Arts Stream Festival throughout the Spring.
Writing Prompts Like many organizations, Grub Street Writers is finding ways to continue supporting artists online. The organization has published the next video in its Write On series, prompts to help writers get unstuck. This video features Maya Shanbhag Lang, author of What We Carry: A Memoir.
The Power of Narrative NPR interviewed Suzanne Koven, Writer-in-Residence at Mass General Hospital, about working at the cross-section of health care and storytelling. Koven recently took part in Poetry at Work: Healing Words of Unity and Inclusion at the MGH, a livestreamed event featuring hospital staff reciting and discussing their favorite poems.
Online Exhibition Unbound Visual Arts has unveiled a virtual exhibition, Wellness: Art for Physical and Emotional Healing, on view through June 30, 2020.
Portraits at a Distance Cate McQuaid of The Boston Globe wrote about a the Connections Across Barriers project by Rania Matar (Photography Fellow ’11, ’07), creating photographic portraits through windows and doors due to social distancing. You can see images from the project on Instagram and hear more about the project in an online studio visit by Gallery Pictura (May 8, 6PM).
Image: Rania Matar (Photography Fellow ’11, ’07), MICHAELA AND ALEXANDRA, ACTON, MASSACHUSETTS (2020), from the CONNECTIONS ACROSS BARRIERS series.