Gaming Mitigation Fund
What is a touring show or artist?
Touring shows or artists are independent entities which are presented at the “Performing Arts Center” as a guest. Touring shows or artists can be verified through their appearance on Pollstar or another similar touring roster, representation by established artists’ management, and/or an established history of touring within the last five years.
Performers appearing in a piece that is being produced by the “Performing Arts Center” can still be classified as an eligible touring artist if they are an independent entity, appear as a headliner who is used as a marketing tool, and meet the required qualifications.
We do not own a building, are we eligible for funding?
Yes, your organization is eligible for funding. We have defined “Performing Arts Center” as an organization whose primary mission is to promote access, excellence, diversity, or education in the arts, humanities, or sciences that commits 50% or more of their operating expenses to the performing arts. Performing arts are performed live and include dance, music, opera, theater, magic, spoken word, puppetry, and circus arts.
Managing entities – organizations contracted to do all the programming in a nonprofit or municipally owned performance venue – are eligible for funding if the managing entity has a long-term (five years) contract, lease, or deed that articulates their management responsibilities.
Your eligibility requirements say applicants must be “legally recognized as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in good standing in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.” What does it mean to be in good standing?
For nonprofit performing arts centers to be in good standing means that the organization must:
- Have a 501(c)3 designation with the Internal Revenue Service which is currently active and has not been revoked. Check for this designation.
- Complete all required filings as a public charity with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.
- Complete all Annual Report filings as a nonprofit corporation with the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth.
In addition, any organization incorporated outside of Massachusetts must have a current certificate of registration from the Secretary of the Commonwealth to operate as foreign corporation within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Calculating Operating Expenses
Our organization is fully-cultural and only presents performing arts. Can we say all our operating expenses are committed to the performing arts?
Generally, the answer is yes. However, if you have significant operating expenses related to non-performing arts events or programming, you may need to consider removing them. You may speak with Mass Cultural Council staff if you are unsure or have questions.
We are a multi-disciplinary organization. How should we calculate the dollar amount and percentage of operating expenses we commit to the performing arts?
Ultimately your organization will have to make some decisions about what to include or exclude and/or how to divide overhead costs that are shared across more than one discipline.
- In terms of overhead costs, you might decide to use a percentage of overhead or occupancy costs to calculate the amount proportional to the performing arts programming in your operations. Or, if your facility has designated space for disciplines, you could use the proportion of your facility dedicated to the performing arts. For example, if 40% of your facility is dedicated to performing arts, you could include 40% of occupancy costs, including utilities.
- The application provides a space for you to explain your decisions and reasons and you will upload a document that shows your total expenses and the expenses you categorized as performing arts. We will review the information you submit to see if your decisions and the rationale behind them seem reasonable.
Performances and Artist Fees
What year should I look at when reporting performances?
For the current FY24 Gaming Mitigation Fund application, we are asking you to report the total number of performances for calendar year 2022 (January 1, 2022-December 31, 2022). This period may not align with your organization’s fiscal year, but that is fine.
We present touring shows and artists in Massachusetts and outside Massachusetts. How should we account for out-of-state performances in the application?
Your total performances should reflect all the performances your organization presents, including any out-of-state performances. However, when you narrow that list down to the eligible list of performances, you can only include performances by touring shows/artists that take place in Massachusetts that are available to the general public.
What makes something available to the general public?
Performances are considered available to the general public if any member of the public may buy a ticket to the performance. Performances only open to university students, K-12 school groups, corporate groups, or other limited audiences are not considered open to the general public.
Our venue also hosts craft fairs, blood drives, yoga classes, gallery nights, and other events. Do we count those as performances?
No. When you are counting your total performances, you should only count the total number of live presentations of performing arts for an audience. Performing arts can include dance, music, opera, theater, comedy, magic, spoken word, puppetry and circus arts.
Can I count performances that were presented by a producer renting my space as part of the total number of performances? What about the fees paid to those artists?
Yes, you can count shows presented in your venue by a renter in your total performances because we recognize those performances are an important component of your business model. However, you cannot count the fees paid to those artists in your Total Fees Paid to Touring Shows and Artists because the producer/renter is the one who is paying those fees to the touring show or artist. You can only include fees that you pay directly to the touring shows or artists.
Can I include virtual performances?
Virtual performances that were presented as a live-stream or pre-recorded and offered at a specific date and time can be counted in your total performances (and in your total number of performances by eligible touring shows/artists if the virtual performance did include an eligible touring show/artist). For example, a pre-recorded symphony concert that was then offered virtually on a specific date and time can be counted in your total performances.
Virtual productions/performances that were only offered on-demand or available to view at the viewer’s discretion should not be counted toward total performances or in performances by eligible touring shows/artists.
Are fundraising events eligible if they include a performance by a touring show/artist?
If the fundraising event is open to the general public (meaning that anyone could purchase a ticket or attend the event), then it could be included. However, if the fundraising event was limited to members/subscribers only or for other limited groups/admission, then it is not considered publicly available and should not be included.
Some of the artists in our presented production are not eligible, can I still include the fees for the eligible artists?
If a contract package/agreement with a touring show or artists includes both eligible and ineligible performances (such as matinees for school groups) the applicant can include the full amount they paid the touring show/artist for all the performances in the Total Fees Paid to Touring Shows or Artists.
If a touring show or artist’s contract package/agreement only included ineligible performances, then none of the fees paid to that artist can be included in the Total Fees Paid to Touring Shows Artists.
If my application is approved, what will I need to do to get the funds?
If you are awarded a Gaming Mitigation grant, you will need to complete your contract package in order to receive the funds. You will receive an email notification with instructions on how to complete the contract through the state’s new online DocuSign process.
What information will be needed to complete the final report and when will it be due?
The FY24 Gaming Mitigation Fund application will serve as the final report. The guidelines and timeline for the FY24 Gaming Mitigation Fund application process will be announced next year. To stay up-to-date on Mass Cultural Council’s latest news and deadlines, sign up for our newsletter or visit the Power of Culture blog.
What is the time period in which Gaming Mitigation Fund grants must be spent?
Grant funds may be applied towards fees that have already been paid to touring shows/artists prior to July 1, 2023 (retroactive) or they can be used to pay fees to upcoming touring shows/artists. However, grant funds must be entirely spent no later than June 30, 2024. The touring shows/artists’ performance does not have to take place prior to June 30, 2024, but the funds must have been paid to the touring shows/artists by that date. Future Gaming Mitigation Fund grants will not be awarded unless funds have been fully spent by June 30, 2024.