We do not own a building, are we eligible for funding?
Yes, your organization is eligible for funding. We have define “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 non-profit 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.
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 appearance on Pollstar or another similar touring roster, representation by established artists’ management, and/or a touring schedule that includes three states in the last three 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.
Your eligibility requirements say applicants must be “legally recognized as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in good standing in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.” What does it mean to be in good standing?
For non-profit 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- Have a 501(c)3 designation with the Internal Revenue Service which is currently active and has not been revoked.
- 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
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 are 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 include dance, music, opera, theater, 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 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.