Our Partners in the Field



The arts and cultural community is just as important as we were before the COVID-19 pandemic. This is being illustrated all across the world as creative projects take over living spaces by artists, children, and antsy adults.

We’re all asking the question that NY Times art critic A.O. Scott posed in his recent piece: What Happens When We Lose the Art That Brings Us Together? Well, for one, we get creative. And we’re not just singing from balconies like the Italians or over video like Berklee musicians, doodling during lunchtime with Mo Willems, or rolling up rugs to dance together. The creative community is employing every creative tactic to try and slow the economic crisis artists, culture workers, and nonprofits are facing due to canceled gigs and closed venues.

There’s dozens of relief funds that have come online to provide artists and organizations with emergency relief funds. We want to give a shout out to some that have paved the way.

Boston Artist Relief Fund

On March 12, just two days after Gov. Baker declared a state of emergency for MA, the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture reopened its Opportunity Fund as the Boston Artist Relief Fund. To grow the pool of resources, the City partnered with Boston Center for the Arts so individuals can donate to the Artist Relief Fund. 

Boston Music Maker COVID-19 Fund

The Record Co. also created one of the first relief funds on the scene on March 12, establishing the Boston Music Maker COVID-19 Fund to provide financial relief to Boston area music makers experiencing lost income as the result of performance cancellations related to COVID-19. As of April 14, over $101k has been raised, and over 500 applications approved and funded.

Essex County Community Foundation Creative County Initiative

The Essex County Community Foundation (ECCF) launched two relief funds as part of their Creative County Initiative (CCI). The Essex County Artist Fund aims to support the legions of individuals who are experiencing an unprecedented loss of income in the creative industries. The CCI COVID-19 Relief Fund for Culture aims to provide direct support to cultural organizations and venues across Essex County so they can stay afloat, pay staff, and support their communities during this crisis.

Mass Cultural Council Relief Funds

Mass Cultural Council polled Massachusetts’ cultural sector amid COVID-19 from March 16-22 and again April 4-14. Over both polling periods, nearly 700 cultural organizations reported a loss of more than $264M in revenue over both reporting periods. From March 16-22, 595 individual artists and independent teaching artists/humanists/scientists reported a total of more than $2.89M in lost personal income during the first polling period. In response, Mass Cultural Council program staff quickly mobilized to bring two new program proposals to the governing Council for consideration and approval:

You can learn more about these funds and more through MASSCreative’s COVID-19 Resources page.



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Creativity Finds A Way

By Guest Contributor John Andrews, Creative Collective

In the face of crisis, the inherent creativity of humans WILL not stop. Many of those that create for a living quickly pivoted, adjusted, and learned new platforms to share their time and talents for essential needs, education, and entertainment purposes. From online dance lessons, social distance friendly front porch photo sessions, to late-night immersive theatre LARPS and virtual festivals featuring music from all over the world there is no lack of opportunities to engage with while we stay safe.

Creative_collective_topart.jpgBanner from Facebook group Quarantine Dance 
Specials 2020, contributed by Tiny Rosales

These events and actions not only help us stay connected, they represent meaningful income opportunities for artists and creatives who lost earnings from performances, in-person sales and design contracts. As Massachusetts reports record numbers of unemployment filings and the Federal government passes laws to include the “gig economy” in unemployment assistance programs, many makers and artisans moved their work online to create new ways to earn income. 

The thousands of digital performances and creative initiatives popping up in cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth also demonstrate the collective power of the creative community. The Brickyard Collaborative in Lynn, MA is just one of many groups organizing makers to help protect frontline workers by sewing masks. Students at Berklee College of Music created an uplifting virtual musical performance and MassArt is converting their campus for emergency worker housing.


The Ecotarium in Worcester developed a series of educational resources to engage students stuck at home in the public sciences. A spontaneous public art project covering iconic running statues along the Boston Marathon route is raising awareness for public safety. By harnessing the resources, ingenuity, and skills of the creative and cultural community, we are contributing to the care of our neighbors across the Commonwealth and around the globe. 

Comedians, actors, and indigenous dancers local and far, are proving that isolation doesn’t mean the end of art, creativity, and cultural celebration. In fact, thanks to online creative content creation due to social distancing, we are forging meaningful connections across the globe.

Creativity will find a way and yes #ArtsMatter.

Statue of Dick and Rick Hoyt in Hopkinton by Mike Tabor 
Photo by GEORGE V. BROWN, from Boston Globe


John Andrews is a member of MASSCreative’s Leadership Council and the owner of Creative Collective, a business program that fosters the sustainability of creative industries throughout the North Shore and beyond.  Visit Creativecollectivema.com for information on the business program and creativenorthshore.com for news and information on arts, culture, and happenings north of Boston.




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#ArtsMatter at Home



The COVID-19 pandemic has hit each member of our community in difficult and unpredictable ways. We are worried for the present and uncertain for the future, and we feel more isolated than ever. But despite the changes and fears this crisis has brought, we at MASSCreative still believe in our mantra: arts matter. 

This time of great trouble has shown us that when we can’t physically be with one another, art still allows us to touch each other’s hearts and bring joy into our lives. How many of us have spent the past weeks reading, watching, singing, dancing, creating? We have turned to the arts in our darkest moment to get us through, to keep our communities intact and uplift our stories of struggles and success.

We want to showcase how the arts matter to us in the Commonwealth. That’s why we’re starting #ArtsMatter Monday on our Instagram and Facebook to promote how our community still sees the arts as a vital part of our lives. Make a post featuring how you’re using the arts to get through this crisis– whether creating it, teaching it, or consuming it– using the hashtag #ArtsMatter and we’ll feature you on our Instagram and Facebook stories.

Looking for another creative outlet and a way to celebrate history? Contribute to the DRAWING ACT 150 community art project. 150 years ago, legislators in Massachusetts responded to the demands of industry by requiring that arts education be taught public schools. Through the passage of the Drawing Act, the Legislature mandated that industrial and mechanical drawing education be available in day and evening schools to anyone over 15 years old. This was the first state mandated arts education bill in the country.

In celebration of the anniversary, everyone from across the Commonwealth is invited to contribute to the DRAWING ACT 150 community art project. Participants are asked to make a small drawing of something you see everyday. Contributed drawings will be considered for online and in-person displays to celebrate the passage of the Drawing Act. 

The arts and cultural community of Massachusetts is vibrant and resilient. We are incredibly proud of the ways our community has come together to support one another and celebrate the creativity that’s still in our lives. We’ve shown that through the arts, we may be distant in space but not in our hearts and spirits.



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Staff Recommendations: Articles to Read 



We’ve curated a series of newsworthy pieces that demonstrate the power of the creative community both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of these were published prior to physical distancing, but still inspire us.


Equal access and opportunities for participation

  • Meet the classical musicians inspiring people with mental illness Read more

  • Massachusetts artist partners with Needham to boost local art initiatives Read more

Connected Communities

  • Couple turns old mill into sprawling arts complex Read more
  • His Mom Taught Him to Quilt. Black Artists Guided His Style. Read More
  • Architect in Italy turns shipping containers into hospitals for treating COVID-19 Read More

  • Virtual ‘Love Sweet Love’ From Quarantined Berklee College of Music Students Read More

Access to a well-rounded education for all students

  • Teaching kids how to make guitars can get them hooked on engineering Read More

  • Teaching the Performing Arts During the Pandemic Read more

Respect and support for the creative workforce and economy

  • COVID-19 immediately affected artists and cultural organizations here are ways to address the impact. Read more

  • Handel and Haydn Society Pledges to Pay its Musicians for Cancelled Concerts Read more

  • Efforts from arts organizations support artists during the pandemic Read more

Happy and healthy people

  • Berkshire initiative looks to UK programs linking arts and culture to public health read more

  • Making Art Is Good For Your Health. Here’s How To Start A Habit. Read more 
  • Music takes 13 minutes to ‘release sadness’ and 9 to make you happy, according to new study Read more





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Action Alert from Association of Science and Technology Centers

Via Association of Science and Technology Centers:

Here are a few key messages that members of ASTC and the American Alliance of Museums have been using in advocacy efforts related to the COVID-19 response.

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Action Alert from National Humanities Alliance

Via National Humanities Alliance:

We are working with the Congressional Humanities Caucus to build support for this funding. Together, we are urging significant supplemental funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities to support: 

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Join us for MASSCreative’s First COVID-19 Virtual Policy & Action Update

Yes, we know, another webinar series. Hear us out. Every Friday at 9:45AM, we’ll host a 15-minute COVID-19 Virtual Policy & Action Update to help you make sense of what Congress and the MA Legislature are doing to strengthen the social and economic safety net during this public health emergency. As always, MASSCreative is here to provide you with practical policy updates and simple tools to make your voice heard. Our goal is to keep these webinars short, sweet, and to the point.

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Now Available: COVID-19 Small Business Association Loans

The U.S. Small Business Association is now accepting applications for its Coronavirus Relief Funds, as made available through the CARES Act. Nonprofits (with less than 500 employees), sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals (like individual artists) are all eligible for these loans.

Nonprofits and sole proprietors need to apply as soon as you can. The need is greater than the money available, which will be lent on a first-come, first-served basis. 

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Eviction Moratorium Passes MA House

Update: On April 9, H.4615: 'An Act providing for a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 Emergency' was sent to conference committee.

The members of conference committee are:

House: Reps. Michlewitz, Honan & Durant
Senate: Senators Crighton, Rodrigues & Tarr

On April 2, the MA House passed H.4615: An Act providing for a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 Emergency. 

This bill:

  • Prohibits all non-emergency residential and commercial evictions until 30 days after the end of the emergency declaration.
  • Prohibits late fees or any negative credit reporting for rent non-payment if it is related to the virus outbreak.
  • Prohibits any residential foreclosures until 30 days after the emergency declaration is lifted. 
  • Allows reverse mortgage counseling to be conducted virtually during the emergency.
                                                                                                                      (via CHAPA)
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Action Alert: Eviction and Foreclosure Moratorium

April 20 Update:

On April 20, Governor Baker signed H.4615, enacting the an eviction and foreclosure moratorium until either August 18th or 45 days following the end of the state of emergency, whichever is sooner. Thank you to the Massachusetts House & Senate for passing the strongest protections for tenants and property owners in the country.

This bill has been signed into law, so this Action Alert is no longer active.

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