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An Update to Our Response to COVID-19

Anita Walker, Executive Director

We are living and working in uncertain times. I am reaching out to commit to you that as new information becomes available on coronavirus (COVID-19) and relevant guidance and/or directives are issued by federal and state officials, Mass Cultural Council will remain in close touch to provide you, the Commonwealth’s cultural sector, with updates.

On Sunday, March 15, 2020, Governor Baker issued a number of Emergency Actions intended to protect the public. Mass Cultural Council is following the Administration’s announcements closely. Consistent with the Executive Branch, our team will not be reporting to the office today or tomorrow (March 16 and 17), and we’ll continue to follow guidance as it becomes available moving forward. Please know that our team is able to continue its important work on your behalf remotely, and that if you have any questions you should not hesitate to reach out to your staff contact by phone or email.

Mass Cultural Council is prioritizing five action items to help the cultural sector manage financial disruption associated with Coronavirus:

  1. We are collecting data from the field on how coronavirus is impacting you/or your organization. Please respond to our survey for artists and arts and culture educators or our survey for cultural organizations as information and data becomes clear to you. We have begun conversations with state legislators on future state mitigation efforts and we want to make sure they are able to craft this legislation with real data and impacts in mind.
  2. We are working internally to accelerate the processing and disbursement of any remaining fiscal year payments to our organizations. Updates on this will come from program staff as they are available.
  3. We are exploring options on how to extend deadlines on final reports – please connect with program staff with any questions.
  4. With our governing Council, we are revisiting our FY20 spending plan with a critical eye to assess how we might redeploy unspent dollars as emergency mitigation funds to support our artists and cultural nonprofits.
  5. On Thursday, March 19 at 3pm we will host a webinar to share the best advice available on how to manage our organizations during this crisis led by staff from the Boston Public Health Commission. During the conversation, we’ll share best practices, resources, and discuss what you are experiencing in your organizations now to start to understand what resources you need. (This webinar is limited to 500 participants and will be available online soon after.)

Again, we will continue to be in touch as information and updates become available. Stay safe and make healthy choices.

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