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Mass Cultural Council Seeks Public Input on COVID Relief Programs

Bethann Steiner, Public Affairs Director

Commonwealth’s ARPA Spending Plan includes $60M for New Cultural Sector Grants

a bold geometric rug is framed by the shoulders and hands of two people talking
Two people talking at a Mass Cultural Council convening in 2019. ©Scott Erb and Donna Dufault

Mass Cultural Council will convene a virtual Public Input Session on January 24, 2022, from 4-6pm, to solicit public comment on how the $60 million in the state’s ARPA spending plan to aid artists and cultural organizations with pandemic recovery should be utilized and invested.

The Agency is seeking feedback from all stakeholders to determine what types of assistance programs are considered most helpful or necessary by artists and cultural organizations. Those who prefer to submit written comments can do so until 5pm on February 7, 2022.

Under the law, Mass Cultural Council must administer grant programs to help artists and cultural organizations with pandemic recovery and to operate more efficiently. Mass Cultural Council has $60 million to award, and is directed to both “consider racial, geographic and programmatic diversity and equity within the cultural sector when establishing grant criteria” and “consider and prioritize those applicants with the largest demonstrated economic need as a result of the 2019 novel coronavirus pandemic, and the applicant’s demonstrated economic impact in terms of job creation and tourism generated.”

The Legislature’s direction to “consider racial, geographic, and programmatic diversity and equity within the cultural sector” when developing these relief programs mirrors Mass Cultural Council’s own equity and access goals, which are outlined in the Agency’s Racial Equity Plan. We hope all stakeholders, especially individuals who identify as, and organizations who serve BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities, under-resourced rural communities, and Gateway Cities will engage in this process and share feedback.

As outlined by Mass Cultural Council’s Access Policy, language translation assistance is available and can be requested through Equity & Inclusion Program Officer Cheyenne Cohn-Postell.

The virtual public input session will be conducted via Zoom and co-chaired by Michael J. Bobbitt, Executive Director and Jo-Ann Davis, Chair of the governing Council’s Grants Committee. Members of the Agency’s Governing Council and staff will be in attendance to listen to stakeholder testimony.

Those wishing to comment will be asked by the Co-Chairs to “raise their hands” using the Zoom feature and will be called in order. Comments should be limited to three minutes during the forum. However, there is no limit to the length of written comments and those who present may follow up in writing.

Register to Attend the Virtual Public Input Session

Submit Written Comments

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