May 12 Policy & Action Review

In an effort to simplify and fulfill MASSCreative’s mission to interpret arts & cultural policy into action, we bring you this weekly Policy & Action Review. Sign up to receive these updates at the start of the week.

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Virtual Policy & Action Updates

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Every Friday from 9:45-10am, the MASSCreative team hosts our COVID-19 Virtual Policy & Action Updates. These 15-minute updates are meant to provide you with what you need to know about COVID-19 policy advocacy and actions you can take to support the creative community.

Check out MASSCreative’s May 8 Policy & Action Update

Register for MASSCreative’s May 15 Policy & Action Update

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Top Policy Update

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On Capital Hill, talks are underway regarding the next COVID-19 federal aid package. The House is putting together a multitrillion-dollar proposal and the bill could be put on the House floor for a vote this week. While the House is pushing to finalize the bill under the increasing pressure of economic hardship, the White House and the Senate disagree over the pace and content of the next package.

Right now, the roughly $3 trillion dollar House package includes urgent new spending for businesses, households, states and cities, among others. MASSCreative will update you as the bill progresses through Congress.

Read more on the Next COVID-19 Federal Aid Package here

 

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Top Actions

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The Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston designed a survey in partnership with MASSCreative to ensure that artists and creative workers are getting the support they need.

Take the 10-minute survey for MA Creative Workers + Artists by May 15

As more cities and towns discuss how to reopen the Massachusetts economy, we need to advocate for artists & arts and cultural leaders to be invited to the table.

Sign up to Start & Share a Local Sign-on Letter

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Some Good News

The creative community continues to find innovative ways to lift up each other and support the communities we serve and represent during this public health emergency. That’s why we want to highlight the efforts of North Shore Community Development Coalition (NSCDC), which is offering paid opportunities to artists to develop Public Safety Announcements (PSAs) that are representative of and specifically serve immigrant, non-English speaking, and low-income communities of color. Driven by the recognition that not all vital public safety information is reaching every community equitably, NSCDC wanted to develop an initiative through their public arts program, the Punto Urban Art Museum, that would harness the powerful ability of the arts to communicate and aid in this public health crisis. 

Read MASSCreative’s Spotlight on NSCDC and the Punto Urban Art Museum

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So mark your calendars for every Friday from 9:45-10am and look out for this Policy & Action Review in your inbox at the start of the week. If you’re looking for more COVID-19 resources, you can check out MASSCreative’s COVID-19 pages, including updatesresourcesadvocacypolicy recommendations, and policy & action updates.

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Next COVID-19 Federal Aid Package


From Politico Morning Shift 5.11.20:

DEMOCRATS PRESS AHEAD ON STIMULUS: Democrats will release, perhaps as early as this week, another coronavirus stimulus proposal that includes more than $750 billion in aid to state and local governments “as well as direct support to Americans,” Natalie Andrews reports in The Wall Street Journal. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi worked through the weekend on the plan, Newsday’s Tom Brune reports, after extensive talks last week with the Democratic caucus and with committee chairs. The package “could cost upward of $2 trillion” and include hazard pay for frontline workers and funds for expanded testing and contract tracing, as POLITICO’s Heather Caygle, Sarah Ferris, and John Bresnahan have reported.

“We put a marker down that follows the lead of other bipartisan legislation that has been passed, with increased funding,” Pelosi told C-SPAN Friday.

Congressional Republicans and the White House have signaled they’re not too eager about another stimulus bill, even after Friday’s jobs report showed unemployment to be higher than at any time since 1939. “We’re kind of paused as far as formal negotiations go,” Larry Kudlow, the director of the White House’s National Economic Council, told reporters Friday. That same day, President Donald Trump said, “We’re in no rush.

But by Sunday Kudlow was objecting on ABC’s “This Week” to weekend newspaper headlines claiming there had been no talks (he may have been thinking of this one from The Washington Post). He said that he and economic adviser Kevin Hassett on Friday held a bipartisan “conference call with about 50 House members,” and that a similar call with Senate Democrats and Republicans is scheduled for today. “It’s not that we’re not talking.,” Kudlow said. “We are. It’s just informal at this stage.”

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Spotlight: NSCDC Spreads Awareness and Opportunities

Art by Yuko Okabe

In a crisis like the current pandemic, inequity doesn’t just persist; it is exacerbated. Many are struggling, including the creative community.The precarious nature of our everyday lives has come into sharp focus as more and more arts & cultural workers lose employment, cultural organizations cancel events and exhibitions, and opportunities to produce art outside the digital sphere run few and far between. And amongst our most marginalized communities, the toll of the virus has hit especially hard, making an even deeper impact on physical health, safety, education, and economic stability.

But as we’ve seen before, the creative community continues to find innovative ways to lift up each other and support the communities we serve and represent. That’s why we want to highlight the efforts of North Shore Community Development Coalition (NSCDC), which is offering paid opportunities to artists to develop Public Safety Announcements (PSA) that are representative of and specifically serve immigrant, non-English speaking, and low-income communities of color. Driven by the recognition that not all vital public safety information is reaching every community equitably, NSCDC wanted to develop an initiative through their public arts program, the Punto Urban Art Museum, that would harness the powerful ability of the arts to communicate and aid in this public health crisis. 

Twenty-five artists will be awarded $1000 each for proposals that develop PSAs addressing topics related to the COVID-19 public health emergency and are culturally relevant to the marginalized communities NSCDC serves, especially LatinX and Spanish-speaking communities. Selection will prioritize applicants from marginalized backgrounds and artists who have lost opportunities due to the pandemic. Additionally, NSCDC is particularly interested in how they can distribute art outside of the digital sphere. Recognizing the divide in access to social media and other forms of online communication in marginalized communities, PSAs that are effective non-virtually will be of significant help in addressing the inequity of information. Interested applicants should visit puntourbanartmuseum.org/rfp/ for more information and submit their proposals by May 15th. 

MASSCreative applauds the unique opportunity NSCDC has created with this program, addressing both the economic needs of the creative sector and the public health concerns of marginalized communities. It is these types of efforts that demonstrate that arts and culture are not a luxury, but a vital and powerful tool in combating inequality and uplifting our community. In times of crisis, the arts matter more than ever.

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May 5 Policy & Action Review

We know there’s a lot of information and resources coming to you through email, social media, and the internet. In an effort to simplify and fulfill MASSCreative’s mission to interpret arts & cultural policy into action, we bring you this new weekly Policy & Action Review. Look out for these updates in your inbox at the start of your week.

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Virtual Policy & Action Updates

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Every Friday at 9:45-10am, Emily and I host MASSCreative’s COVID-19 Virtual Policy & Action Updates. These 15-minute updates are meant to provide you with what you need to know about COVID-19 policy advocacy and actions you can take to support the creative community.

Check out MASSCreative’s May 1 Policy & Action Update

Register for MASSCreative’s May 8 Policy & Action Update

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Top Policy Update

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Last week, Gov. Baker announced the formation a Reopening Advisory Board to guide the reopening of the MA economy. MASSCreative staff quickly mobilized to circulate a letter to arts & cultural leaders and individuals asking the Reopening Advisory Board to tap the talents and expertise of the creative community in forming their guidelines.

The letter garnered 650+ signatures and was cited in a Boston Globe editorial calling for a broader group of diverse leaders to advise the board on reopening the MA economy, including the arts.

Read the MASSCreative Letter to Gov. Baker and the Reopening Advisory Board

Read the Boston Globe’s editorial ‘Baker advisory panel is just the first step’

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Top Action Update

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As you know, media shapes public opinion and defines what is important. An easy way to share your point of view and quickly respond to the news is to write a Letter to the Editor of your local paper.  

Check out MASSCreative’s Letter to the Editor templates

Check out MASSCreative’s Tips to Writing a Letter to the Editor

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Some Good News

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The creative community is playing a vital role during this public health emergency. Our neighbors are actively relying on arts and creativity to get through weeks of stay-at-home orders with movies, books, and free online arts classes and cultural events. And the creative community is doing what it does best--using our talents to problem solve and innovate, and play our part in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This week, we’d like to spotlight Artisan’s Asylum for pivoting their work and space to producing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including surgical grade face shields, face masks, and hospital gowns.  

Read MASSCreative’s blog post on Artisan’s Asylum

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So mark your calendars for every Friday from 9:45-10am and look out for this Policy & Action Review in your inbox at the start of the week. 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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UPDATED: Economic Relief for the Creative Community in Federal COVID-19 Relief Bill

On March 27, Congress passed and President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act--the third phase of the federal government’s COVID-19 response. This $2 trillion emergency stimulus package includes $300 million in economic relief to support nonprofit cultural organizations, museums, libraries, public broadcasting, and state and local arts and humanities agencies, as well as substantial additional economic relief opportunities for independent contractors like "gig economy" workers such as actors, musicians, and artists and nonprofit organizations and small businesses, including those working in the creative economy.

There are a number of provisions within the CARES Act that artists, cultural workers, independent contractors, and both for-profit and non-profit businesses can access, including:

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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
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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.
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COVID-19: March 20 Update

A lot has changed in the past 10 days since Gov. Baker declared a state of emergency in response to coronavirus. We know the toll it has taken on the arts, culture, and creative community. While social distancing keeps us apart, we want to thank the arts and culture sector for caring for the communities you’ve worked so hard to create. Thank you for being early adopters and leaders in slowing the spread of coronavirus. 

While public health and safety is still the top priority during this pandemic, we know that many in the creative community are grappling with the financial impact of cancelled events and lost gigs. We’ve begun to see our local, state, and federal governments respond to the financial impact of COVID-19, and MASSCreative has been advocating to ensure that the needs of the arts and culture sector are considered and included. 

It's going to take all of us to care for the communities we've worked so hard to create. You can support the creative community by taking these advocacy actions:

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COVID-19: March 17 Update

In his press conference today, Gov. Baker reiterated the importance of people staying home and not engaging in “non-essential activities.” Both MA Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders and MA Commissioner of Public Health Monica Bharel emphasized that these social distancing measures are vital to slowing the spread of the coronavirus. The goal of slowing the spread of the virus is to space out demand on the state’s health care system for those diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

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