As the COVID-19 public health crisis intensifies, the New England Foundation for the Arts is monitoring developments and has assembled resources 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 September 15, 2020.

Rebuilding & Reimagining the Arts Sector

Federal & State Relief Funding

CARES Act: Unemployment Insurance & Small Business Assistance

On March 27, 2020, the $2 trillion CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) was passed by Congress.

The package includes $300 million in economic relief to support nonprofit cultural organizations like museums, libraries, public broadcasting, and state and local arts and humanities agencies, as well as for nonprofit organizations and small businesses.

It also includes $260 billion in enhanced and expanded unemployment insurance (UI) to thousands of creative workers throughout the country who are being furloughed, laid off, or finding themselves without work through no fault of their own.  This includes a new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, providing federally funded unemployment benefits to individuals who are self-employed, part-time workers, independent contractors and workers otherwise ineligible for state unemployment benefits. Most of the COVID-19 economic relief funding will be distributed through state UI programs. 


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:

On April 14, NEFA announced joining State Arts Agency Partners in COVID-19 Artist Relief; see below for information from your state:

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

As of March 13, NEFA staff are working remotely and making use of technology to continue our work; don't hesitate to contact us. We are also letting our employees know that we will be flexible and supportive as issues arise for them or their families. 

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: