Phase 3 Reopening

Last Friday, July 2, Governor Baker announced his plan for Phase 3 of the Massachusetts reopening plan. As most arts and cultural organizations will be reopening their spaces in Phases 3 and 4, MASSCreative is here to help make sense of the reopening plan and clearly communicate sector-specific guidance. The arts and cultural community has been hit hard by the pandemic, and reopening can be a difficult and daunting process. At MASSCreative, we are here to direct and support you as best we can.

Main take-aways from Phase 3 Reopening

As a Commonwealth, we have seen the number of cases and deaths from COVID-19 decrease thanks to following common-sense public health guidelines including wearing masks and maintaining social distances. As Phase 3 begins it will be our responsibility as a sector to carefully adhere to guidance and mandates in order to protect our artists, staff, audiences, and communities.

Below you will find direct links to industry-specific guidance for our sector. Similar to Phase 2, Phase 3 will involve two steps:

Phase 3, Step 1 (Begins today July 6th)
Please note: The City of Boston will begin Phase 3, Step 1 on Monday, July 13th. 

Phase 3, Step 2 (detailed guidance and start date will be released soon.)

  • Theaters and Performance Venues - indoor seating allowed
  • Indoor recreation - activities with greater potential for contact allowed. 

Phase 4 - Start date will be announced based on data and the progress of previous phases. 

  • Large capacity venues (arenas, stadiums, night clubs, exhibition and convention halls)

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Reopening Resources

Victor "MARKA27" Quinonez's mural on Exchange Street in Lynn, MA
 

We recommend reviewing the Commonwealth’s Reopening Resources available on their website

In addition, here are several useful guides that provide national and international best practices: 

Submit your questions about Phase 3 & 4  Reopening

We understand that Reopening Guidance from the Commonwealth is ongoing and will evolve as more information and feedback are collected. MASSCreative has been in communication with the administration about your questions on Phases 3 and 4, and will relay information to you as soon as possible. We are still collecting questions with this form

 

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Virtual Policy & Action Updates

 

We hope to provide more in-depth guidance at our next Policy & Action Update on Friday, July 10 from 9:45-10am.  This week we will feature arts and cultural organizations who have developed reopening plans for Phase 3.  Please join us. 

Register for MASSCreative’s July 10 Policy & Action Update

 

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Relief for the Arts and Cultural Sector

Last week the Senate debated SB 2789, a Supplemental Budget that would set spending for COVID-19 related relief funds.  As part of the Senate Bill, Senator Patrick O’Connor (R-Weymouth) filed Amendment #123 to create a relief fund for small cultural nonprofit organizations. Distributed by the Mass Cultural Council, the the fund would be for small nonprofit organizations with less than 25 employees. As Senator O’Connor said during the debate: “These organizations [small cultural nonprofits] are indispensable to our communities.". Many of these small groups were ineligible for the Paycheck Protection Program or CARES Act relief funds distributed by the NEA, NEH, IMLS, Mass Cultural Council and Mass Humanities. 

We are delighted to share that the amendment was accepted and a $2 million relief fund was included in the final Senate bill.  We encourage emailing Senator O’Connor (Patrick.O'[email protected]) and Senator Adam Hinds ([email protected]) a note of thanks for their leadership and advocacy for this fund.

From here the bill will go to conference committee where the House and Senate will reconcile differences between their versions. We recognize that the needs of our sector are great requiring multiple policy interventions, government programs and safety nets in order to get us through prolonged closure.  This fund is a piece of our overall advocacy and efforts.

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If you’re looking for more COVID-19 resources, you can check out MASSCreative’s COVID-19 pages, including updates, resources, advocacy, policy recommendations, and policy & action updates.

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June 29 Policy & Action Review

Last week, we launched Create the Vote 2020 in partnership with a steering committee of organizations from across the Commonwealth. This kind of coalition is new for the Create the Vote campaign, but we can’t help but feel that there’s no better time for this type of partnership. All over the country, we’re seeing the power of collective action in creating change within our communities. In a newly-isolated world, we at MASSCreative hope our actions and campaigns offer you the opportunity to get involved, connect with your network, and work together to make Massachusetts a more vibrant, creative place. 

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Virtual Policy & Action Updates

Thank you to the hundreds of advocates that have joined the MASSCreative team for our weekly Virtual Policy & Action Updates on Fridays from 9:45-10:00am.

Check out MASSCreative’s June 26 Policy & Action Update

Register for MASSCreative’s July 10 Policy & Action Update

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Top Policy Update

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MASSCreative continues to monitor and report on state and federal policy that supports equitable communities and a stronger, more inclusive creative sector. 

Learn more in MASSCreative's Policy Update, including:

  • State Budgets
  • Economic Development Bond Bill
  • Reopening Plan
  • Federal Reserve

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Top Action: Create the Vote

On Wednesday, June 24 we launched Create the Vote 2020 alongside the Create the Vote Steering Committee! This year, we’re asking partners to pledge to Create the Vote and increase voter participation through non-partisan voter registration, education and turnout. We have radical hope for the future of our community, and ask you to join us in building a more equitable, inclusive representative democracy for all. Will you pledge to #CreateTheVote?

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Top Action: Arts Education

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Right now, the Commonwealth and its cities and towns are grappling with major losses in tax revenue and increased sanitation costs brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. In facing these difficult decisions, several school districts have laid off educators, including art teachers. As schools plan to reopen in the fall, students will need more educators and resources that support their social and emotional learning, not less. Reach out to your MA legislators to advocate for the protection of Chapter 70 Education Funding and equitable access to quality education.

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Top Action: Call for Testimony for Economic Development Bond Bill

The Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies scheduled a hearing last Friday for HB 4529, An Act enabling partnerships for growth. Currently, the bill does not include any relief funds, workforce development programs or other supports for the creative sector. We encourage members of the creative sector to submit written testimony stating the creative sector's role in the economic recovery of the Commonwealth and requesting that the committee include our sector in the bill by July 1.

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Some Good News

Despite the isolation that the current public health emergency requires of all of us, the concept of community has never felt so important. Every day, we’re seeing the ways people are reaching out to one another — to connect, to comfort, to offer resources or support or gratitude. For those of us involved in arts & culture here in the Commonwealth, this emphasis on community is not new, but rather baked into the very nature of our work. And in some very special places, these strong community networks have long been in the making.

Read more in our Spotlight: Arlington Community Comes Together Through Art

Image courtesy of Stewart Ikeda.


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We want to note that there will not be a Virtual Policy & Action Update this Friday, July 3 as the MASSCreative staff will be taking a long weekend. Our next Policy & Action Update will be Friday, July 10 from 9:45-10am, and we hope to see you there!

If you’re looking for more COVID-19 resources, you can check out MASSCreative’s COVID-19 pages, including updates, resources, advocacy, policy recommendations, and policy & action updates.

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June 29 Policy Update

MASSCreative continues to monitor and report on state and federal policy that supports equitable communities and a stronger, more inclusive creative sector. Here's the Policy Update from the last week:

FY20 Final Supplemental Budget

On June 22, the House passed the $1.1 billion FY20 supplemental budget, which is an additional budget that provides more money to some items in the final budget. Rep. Bud Williams added Amendment #81 to make Juneteenth an official state holiday. Currently, Massachusetts’ commemoration of Juneteenth occurs on the Sunday after June 17, but this new law would officially put the holiday on its actual date of June 19. The supplemental budget still needs to be enacted by the Senate on Wednesday before it can be approved by Gov. Charlie Baker. We will be advocating for Rep. Williams’ amendment to be included in the final Senate version of the budget.

read more >
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Spotlight: Arlington Community Comes Together Through Art

Despite the isolation that the current public health emergency requires of all of us, the concept of community has never felt so important. Every day, we’re seeing the ways people are reaching out to one another — to connect, to comfort, to offer resources or support or gratitude. For those of us involved in arts & culture here in the Commonwealth, this emphasis on community is not new, but rather baked into the very nature of our work. And in some very special places, these strong community networks have long been in the making.

read more >
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Action Alert: Bond Bill to Support the Creative Economy's Recovery

Update: Testimony for this bill is now closed. 

MASSCreative encourages individuals and organizations to submit testimony on House Bill 4529, An Act Enabling Partnerships for Growth.

The Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies held a virtual hearing on bill H.4529 on Friday, June 26. Testimony on this bill will be accepted through Wednesday July 1 at 5pm. 

Governor Baker filed HB.4529 in early March, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic hit Massachusetts.  As a result much of the bill focuses on pre-COVID-19 priorities.  We expect that the bill will go through significant changes during the legislative process. 

We urge all arts and cultural organizations, artists and culture workers, and culture and arts supporters to submit testimony demonstrating the vital role the creative sector plays to the overall economic well-being of the Commonwealth and ask that provisions that support the economic recovery of the Creative Economy be included in the bill.

read more >
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MASSCreative launches Create the Vote 2020 with focus on civic engagement and democracy

BOSTON, June 24, 2020—MASSCreative announces today that it is launching this year’s non-partisan, grassroots Create the Vote campaign with a focus on increasing civic engagement and strengthening our democracy. Led by MASSCreative’s Create the Vote Steering Committee, the campaign will use art and culture to develop creative strategies to register people to vote, educate voters about casting ballots by mail, getting people to participate in the electoral process, advocate for safer in-person elections, and turning people out to vote. 

“Many of us are intensely focused on this year’s presidential election,” said MASSCreative Executive Director Emily Ruddock. “But important decisions that affect the communities in which we live are made by local officials. These include regulations around policing, education, and public investment in community-based arts. There are many ways to build a better world, but the easiest and most effective way to make change is by electing candidates for state and local office who share your views for a racially just world in which we all have access to creative expression that reflects our lives.” 

The Create the Vote Steering Committee is led by MASSCreative, MassVOTE, and The Theater Offensive in collaboration with ArtsBoston, Arts Foundation of Cape Cod, Dunamis, Elevated Thought, Front Porch Arts Collective, Massachusetts Artists Leaders Coalition (MALC), the New England Museum Association, and StageSource. 

“Arts and culture help advance our society and civic life.” said Harold Steward, The Theatre Offensive’s Producing Co-Executive Director. “Through art and culture, we examine the present world, share visions of new possibilities, and take bold action steps to make these possibilities our lived reality. Engaging in voter registration, education and turnout is a natural space for artists and culture workers, because when we vote we bring forth our imaginative futures.” 

"Our fall elections will look like nothing that has ever taken place in Massachusetts before," said Cheryl Clyburn Crawford, Executive Director at MassVOTE. "More people will opt to vote by mail, and at the same time, more people will be voting early. Yet with these modifications come challenges, namely ensuring that polling places are adequately staffed, and that local election officials have the resources to handle the massive influx of mailed ballots. With this in mind, we are honored and privileged to be partnering with MASSCreative in promoting public education around our fall elections. Their unique experiences and insight will prove pivotal in our combined effort to make sure that voters have the tools they need to vote safely this fall."

“The creative ecosystem is experiencing catastrophic disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of us are struggling to reimagine the future of our sector while also trying to manage the details of reopening, restarting, and staying financially afloat in the meanwhile,” added Ruddock. “In the midst of this, a massive, grassroots resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, in which artists have played key roles, is calling for an end to racial inequities in policing, education, and our criminal-legal system. It is incredibly important that artists, culture workers, arts and cultural organizations, and arts and culture advocates increase their civic engagement to strengthen our democracy in 2020.” 

Create the Vote is a non-partisan, grassroots campaign to engage voters and candidates for office in Massachusetts on the vital role that arts, culture and creative expression play in improving our schools, strengthening our economy, and building neighborhoods where people want to live, work, and play. MASSCreative has collaborated with arts and culture advocates on Create the Vote campaigns in communities across the Commonwealth since 2013, when its inaugural campaign elevated arts and culture issues during the 2013 Boston mayoral election. Since then, Create the Vote campaigns have supported local advocacy efforts to encourage candidates to develop cultural policies for their cities, towns, and school districts, and to lead by example by convening community leaders on the arts and by attending arts and cultural events. 

“This year’s reimagining of the Create the Vote campaign to focus on the use of art, culture, and creativity to deepen civic engagement will strengthen partnerships and collaborations across sectors,” said Ruddock. “This people-powered approach is how we create lasting change.” 

You can sign up to get Create the Vote updates here: http://www.mass-creative.org/ctv2020signup 

You can sign the #CreateTheVote pledge here: http://www.mass-creative.org/ctv2020pledge 

Follow the campaign on Twitter with the hashtag #CreateTheVote. You can also “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @MASSCreative, and visit http://www.mass-creative.org/ctv. 

read more >
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June 22 Policy & Action Review

Last Friday, we celebrated Juneteenth--an honoring of freedom and emancipation of the last remaining enslaved people in 1865, two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. The work towards racial and economic justice calls us as creatives, artists, and culture workers to take individual and collective action towards a more just future. This weekly Policy & Action Review includes ways to stay informed, take action, and connect with the larger advocacy community. Please join us in our work to build a stronger, more inclusive creative sector.

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Virtual Policy & Action Updates

Thank you to the hundreds of advocates that have joined the MASSCreative team for our weekly Virtual Policy & Action Updates on Fridays from 9:45-10:00am.

Check out MASSCreative’s June 19 Policy & Action Update

Register for MASSCreative’s June 26 Policy & Action Update

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Top Policy Update

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MASSCreative continues to monitor and report on state and federal policy that supports equitable communities and a stronger, more inclusive creative sector. 

Learn more in MASSCreative's Policy Update, including:

  • Safe and Fair Elections
  • Arts Education
  • Capital Budget and Reopening Plan
  • Federal Reserve and SBA

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Top Action: Create the Vote

Save the Date! On Wednesday, June 24, MASSCreative and the Create the Vote Steering Committee are launching Create the Vote 2020! Create the Vote 2020 is a nonpartisan, public education campaign to increase civic engagement and strengthen democracy by engaging members of the creative community in voter education, registration, and turnout. Keep a look out on Wednesday for the #CreateTheVote Pledge and online Toolkit.

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Top Action: Arts Education

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Right now, the Commonwealth and its cities and towns are grappling with major losses in tax revenue and increased sanitation costs brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. In facing these hard decisions, several school districts have laid off educators, including art teachers. As schools plan to reopen in the fall, students will need more educators and resources that support their social and emotional learning, not less. Reach out to your MA Legislators to advocate for the protection of Chapter 70 Education Funding and equitable access to quality education.

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Spotlight

In 2013, MASSCreative launched Create the Vote around the Boston mayoral election to ensure arts and culture was part of the debate and vision for a future Boston. Over the past seven years, this nonpartisan, public education campaign has gone statewide and activated local networks of arts and culture advocates to engage in conversation with candidates running for local office about arts and culture policy. With Create the Vote 2020 launching this week, longtime supporters will notice that this year’s campaign is taking on a different shape.

Read more in our Spotlight: Reimagining Create the Vote


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Hope to see you on Friday, June 26 from 9:45-10am for our next Policy & Action Update.

If you’re looking for more COVID-19 resources, you can check out MASSCreative’s COVID-19 pages, including updates, resources, advocacy, policy recommendations, and policy & action updates.

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June 22 Policy Update

MASSCreative continues to monitor and report on state and federal policy that supports equitable communities and a stronger, more inclusive creative sector. Here's the Policy Update from the last week:

Safe and Fair Elections

In the past two weeks, both the House and the Senate passed “an act relative to voting options in response to COVID-19,” which would expand vote-by-mail and other voter accommodations in light of the pandemic. However, the versions of the bills that were passed in the House and Senate—HB4778 and SB2764, respectively—are different. When the House and Senate pass different versions of the same bill, they must go through the Conference Committee to reconcile their differences. The Conference Committee members are: Representative Lawn and Senator Finegold (Co-chairs of the Election Laws Committee), Senators Creem and Fattman, and Representatives Moran and Hill.

read more >
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Spotlight: Reimagining Create the Vote

In 2013, MASSCreative launched Create the Vote around the Boston mayoral election to ensure arts and culture was part of the debate and vision for a future Boston. Over the past seven years, this nonpartisan, public education campaign has gone statewide and activated local networks of arts and culture advocates to engage in conversation with candidates running for local office about arts and culture policy. With Create the Vote 2020 launching this week, longtime supporters will notice that this year’s campaign is taking on a different shape.

read more >
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June 26 MASSCreative Virtual Policy & Action Update

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