As the COVID-19 public health crisis prolongs, NEFA continues to assemble resources – federal relief, grants, reimagining the sector, social justice and inclusion, and more - to share with the arts and culture sector.

Shared experiences are fundamental to the arts sector, and we look forward to better times ahead. We are also mindful that crises often have a disparate and inequitable impact, and our values of equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility will guide us as we respond to this evolving situation.  

This page was last updated on February 25, 2021.

1.11.21: New $2.3 trillion spending bill (H.R. 133) includes $900 billion in Pandemic Relief

Signed into law on December 27, 2020, the latest pandemic relief funding includes several items of interest to the creative sector. Major highlights include:

Sources: Americans for the Arts, Arts North Carolina, League of American Orchestras, & MASSCreative

Rebuilding & Reimagining the Arts Sector

Federal & State Relief Funding

1.11.21: New $2.3 trillion spending bill (H.R. 133) includes $900 billion in Pandemic Relief

Signed into law on December 27, 2020, the latest pandemic relief funding includes several items of interest to the creative sector. Major highlights include:

  • Extension of Federal Pandemic Unemployment programs with an extra $300 per week for 11 weeks; consult your state’s Unemployment Office
  • Funding for forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans through the Small Business Administration; application deadline March 31, 2021
  • $15 Billion for Save our Stages grants for “shuttered venue operators,” which will operate through the Small Business Administration; note that any entity receiving a Save our Stages grant may not receive a second PPP loan.
  • Appropriation of $167.5 million each to the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities, an increase of $5.2 million for each agency.

Sources: Americans for the Arts, Arts North Carolina, League of American Orchestras, & MASSCreative

Where to Apply for Unemployment:

Individuals, self-employed, independent contractor, 1099 workers:

As the unemployment rate continues to increase, state unemployment offices may be overwhelmed by the influx in applications; find your state's unemployment office website and to learn about the process.

UI programs are in the process of receiving guidance on incorporating self-employed workers into the process; it's recommended that prospective applicants begin compiling a recent work history, earnings records, and documentation of separation or COVID-19 related disruptions. In most states, a social security number, physical address, e-mail address and banking information also are baseline requirements.

New England UI offices: 

Where to Apply for Small Business Assistance:

State Arts Agency Artist Relief Funds:

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Social Justice & Inclusion

Emergency Resources

In most cases, you will be guided by local public health officials in terms of whether or not you cancel events. If you are part of a larger entity, such as a university, you may also have guidance from the university that you must implement. The cultural sector can be especially vulnerable to COVID-19 because we gather people for shared experiences. There are a host of resources available to arts and culture organizations, and specifically for performing arts organizations, that can help inform your planning.

Emergency Resources & Relief:

Events, Videos & Guides on preparing your organization or event:

Emergency Planning:

NEFA is Open for Business

NEFA staff are working remotely and making use of technology to continue our work; don't hesitate to contact us.

Are NEFA's hosted events and workshops impacted?

Check individual event listings on NEFA's Events page for updates on cancellations or converting to online events.

NEFA Grantees

What if you are a NEFA grantee and your performance or event has been, or may be, cancelled?

NEFA seeks to be supportive and flexible. Please contact relevant program staff to keep us informed about disruptions, cancellations, postponements, and impact of COVID-19 on your grant. We are surveying current grantees as we try understand the impact of this crisis on their specific grants.

Public Health Resources

What reliable sources of public health information are available as you make decisions regarding regarding events, people and business? 

Check your town or city’s website for guidance related to whether events should proceed, the status of COVID-19 in your community, and access to health care resources. Your state public health department is also an important resource.

Boston & New England:

National & International: