CTV Updates: Census 101

The 2020 Census is happening now! Every ten years, the nonpartisan U.S. Census Bureau counts the population of the United States and the data impacts government decisions for the next ten years! Take the Census today and encourage your loved ones to get counted at https://2020census.gov/en.html. The response deadline (previously extended due to COVID-19) has been shortened to September 30th. 

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Action Alert: Protect Education Funding

Right now, the Commonwealth and its cities and towns are facing hard decisions given the economic devastation caused by COVID-19. Yet, we know many advocates and elected officials alike still hold the value that every MA child, regardless of zip code, should have access to a quality education, including arts education.

The COVID-19 public health emergency has exposed many of the structural weaknesses and inequities in our society, from our health systems to our economic systems; from our education systems to our public and social safety net. And the most vulnerable are hit the hardest. State revenue loss and looming budget cuts mean these inequities could seep even further into our education system.

Send an email to your State Legislators

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July 13 Policy & Action Review

As Massachusetts moves into Phase 3 of Reopening, many arts and cultural groups will be able to reopen, welcoming back staff, artists, and patrons. However, the economic toll of the COVID-19 mandated closures and slow reopening plan means many of us in the creative sector are struggling.  MASSCreative is committed to connecting you with resources to support reopening and actions you can take to advocate for the survival of our arts and culture community. This week’s Policy & Action Review includes our weekly webinar featuring peers sharing their reopening strategies, updates on Federal and state policy, and ways you can advocate for a vibrant and supported creative sector in Massachusetts.

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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 July 10 Policy & Action Update

Register for MASSCreative’s July 24 Policy & Action Update

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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:

  • Boston Reopening
  • Aid for Nonprofit Unemployment Costs
  • Recovery Committee Hearing
  • Arts Education

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Top Actions

 

Right now federal and state decision makers are working on the annual state budget, COVID-19 relief packages and economic stimulus policies.  We know how important the arts and cultural community is to the economic and communal recovery of the Commonwealth. Right now it is essential we reach out for our members of Congress and state legislators to ensure we are included in relief programs and aid.

 

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Create the Vote 2020 brings the arts and culture community together to play our part for a more , inclusive representative democracy for all. Will you pledge to #CreateTheVote?

 

Both 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.

We are tracking which schools and districts are considering cuts to arts education programs so we can connect students, parents and arts education supporters to advocacy tools and actions. If you know of an arts program that is at-risk of cuts, help us track arts education programs by filling out this survey

Advocate to Protect State Funding for Education by reaching out to your MA legislators to advocate for the protection of necessary state funding for education.

 

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Spotlight

Every four years, the national conversation around elections takes on an added intensity. 2020 is no different, and in the midst of discussions about voter suppression, the census count, and a presidential election, the twin crises caused by COVID-19 and police violence against Black lives bring an increased sense of urgency and importance to this year’s vote. That’s why every community in the Commonwealth, especially the arts & cultural sector, must do their part to advocate for civic engagement.

Read more in our Spotlight: Mass Humanities Talks About The Vote 2020


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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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July 13 Policy Update

Boston Phase 3 Reopening
On July 10, Mayor Marty Walsh announced that Boston would begin Phase 3 of the Gov. Baker’s reopening plan on July 13. Boston’s step forward follows the rest of the state’s advancement to Phase 3 on July 6. The City of Boston has released industry-specific guidelines for Step One of Phase 3, most of which are largely in line with statewide guidelines.

Federal Nonprofit Unemployment Aid
On July 8, the US Senate unanimously passed the Protecting Nonprofits from Catastrophic Cash Flow Strain Act. The legislation helps alleviate the financial burden of unemployment costs on nonprofits. The CARES Act states that the federal government will cover 50% of nonprofits’ unemployment coasts; however, guidance from the Department of Labor in April stated that nonprofits had to pay 100% of unemployment costs before being reimbursed later. The full upfront cost would be overwhelming for many nonprofits, especially after drastic losses in revenue due to the pandemic. This act allows nonprofits to pay 50% of unemployment costs upfront instead of incurring 100% of costs then waiting to be reimbursed by the federal government. 

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Spotlight: Mass Humanities Talks About The Vote 2020

Every four years, the national conversation around elections takes on an added intensity. 2020 is no different, and in the midst of discussions about voter suppression, the census count, and a presidential election, the twin crises caused by COVID-19 and police violence against Black lives bring an increased sense of urgency and importance to this year’s vote. That’s why every community in the Commonwealth, especially the arts & cultural sector, must do their part to advocate for civic engagement.

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July 10 MASSCreative Virtual Policy & Action Update

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Action Alert: Support the Creative Community during COVID-19

Right now, the MA Legislature is drafting emergency legislation in response to the economic impact of the COVID-19 public health emergency. Please share your story and encourage your State Senator and Representative to include arts and cultural organizations, artists, and independent contractors in all government stimulus, emergency funding, and economic recovery efforts.

Send a quick email to your State Legislators today

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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.

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