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 July 29, 2021.

6.24.21: National Endowment for the Arts Offers Relief Funds to Help Arts and Culture Sector Recover from Pandemic:

  • Funding comes from the American Rescue Plan
  • Two grants are available, one to nonprofit arts & culture organizations (deadline Aug 12) and another to local arts agencies (deadline July 22), regardless of whether they have received NEA funding in the past.
  • For the first time, the NEA will provide language access by translating key documents and technical assistance materials. Written translation will be in Spanish and Simplified Chinese and interpretation of videos and webinars will be in Spanish and American Sign Language

ARP Resources: 

Shuttered Venue Operators grants

On March 19, the Small Business Administration launched a notification system for the forthcoming Shuttered Venue Operators Grant portal, which opened on Thursday, April 8. Here is what eligible constituents (see page one of the latest FAQ) should do in advance in be prepared:

  • Secure a DUNS number and register with SAM.gov
  • Gather the materials on the latest application checklist
  • Watch the SBA’s March 30 informational webinar
  • SBA is updating the applicant user guide and FAQs for further clarity. 

More about current PPP and SVOG opportunities:

Americans for the Arts & the Arts Action Fund recorded webinars on the American Rescue Plan, including details on PPP and SVOG:

Rebuilding & Reimagining the Arts Sector 

Federal & State Relief Funding

Help for Homeowners and Renters 

Many in the creative sector are experiencing housing insecurity and challenges with paying mortgages and rent.  Find resources at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. 

Paycheck Protection Program

Applications to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) are currently due May 31, 2021 (extended from March 31, 2021). The American Rescue Plan made significant changes to PPP loans:

  • PPP loan forms now accommodate self-employed "Schedule C" filers.
  • Organizations may now apply for both the PPP program and the Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) grant, with the venue's SVO grant to be reduced from the PPP loan. The PPP loan must be submitted in advance of an SVO grant application.
  • The deadline is May 31, 2021

Shuttered Venue Operators grants

On March 19, the Small Business Administration launched a notification system for the forthcoming Shuttered Venue Operators Grant portal, which is scheduled to open on Thursday, April 8. Here is what eligible constituents (see page 1 of the latest FAQ) should do in advance in be prepared:

  • Secure a DUNS number and register with SAM.gov
  • Gather the materials on the latest application checklist
  • Watch the SBA’s March 30 informational webinar
  • SBA is updating the applicant user guide and FAQs for further clarity. 

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, this 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

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: