Announcing COVID Relief Grants for Local Arts Organizations

Representative Mike Connolly is pleased to announce the Mass Cultural Council has provided $10 million in COVID relief through the Cultural Organization Economic Recovery Grant Program. In total, 183 cultural nonprofit organizations received $9,960,600, including nine organizations in Cambridge and Somerville, to support recovery from losses sustained by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"Our cultural and arts organizations are valuable to the fabric of Massachusetts and especially Cambridge and Somerville,” said Rep Connolly. "These grants will bring much needed relief to many of our cherished institutions as they face the challenges posed by the pandemic while also planning for a future beyond COVID-19. I am pleased to have supported appropriations that led to this funding, and will continue to prioritize raising new progressive revenue so our recovery can be more robust for the arts and other areas."

The Cultural Organization Economic Recovery Grant Program was extremely competitive and proved the cultural sector’s great need for public investment: a total of 424 applications were received over three weeks, requesting $30.2 million in assistance. Grant awards ranged from $1,000 to a maximum of $100,000.

Nonprofit cultural organizations have suffered staggering economic loss in recent months because of the COVID-19 public health crisis with a reported $484 million in lost revenue. Since March 2020, 898 cultural organizations have responded to Mass Cultural Council’s four COVID economic impact surveys. Collectively, these organizations identified more than $116.8 million in COVID-related capital improvements and non-capital recovery strategies necessary to reopen and safely reengage with the public. Sixty-two percent of these organizations have made the difficult decision to layoff or furlough employees or reduce their wages and/or hours – choices that have impacted 30,616 cultural employees statewide.

The Cultural Organization Economic Recovery Grant Program also attempted to reach nonprofit cultural organizations of all sizes, who serve every demographic in every region of the Commonwealth:

  • 51 grant recipients are cultural organizations whose mission primarily focuses on presenting, promoting, and/or preserving the cultural traditions, art, history, and creative expression of people of color, women, people with disabilities, veterans, immigrants, people who are LGBTQIA+, and members of other historically underrepresented groups. These cultural nonprofits received a total of $2,486,100.
  • 46 grant recipients reported that they have not received any form of federal COVID assistance to date. These cultural nonprofits received a total of $1,141,000.
  • 13 cultural nonprofits are first-time Mass Cultural Council grant recipients, receiving a total of $220,000.

See the full list of Cultural Organization Economic Recovery grant recipients. Bellow is a list of recipients from Cambridge and Somerville:

The Greek Institute Cambridge
Lorelei Ensemble Cambridge
Global Arts Live Cambridge
Central Square Theater Cambridge
Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center Cambridge
Brattle Film Foundation Cambridge
Ballet Theatre of Boston Cambridge
The Center for Arts at the Armory Somerville
ANIKAYA/Akhra Somerville