The COVID-19 pandemic brings particularly uncertain and challenging times for Vermont's creative sector, and the Vermont Arts Council is working to enable artists and arts and culture organizations to respond effectively. There are special considerations related to the creative sector that we want to make sure all of our constituents and stakeholders take into account.
Whenever possible, we will allow current grantees to use grant funds to compensate artists for performances, workshops, and other activities cancelled due to COVID-19. Please contact an Arts Council program director for specific guidance.
We will update this page as the situation evolves. This page was last updated on July 9, 2020.
Vermont’s H.966 legislation provides economic relief to businesses and organizations using funds Vermont received from the Federal CARES Act.
This support is for eligible Vermont businesses and organizations who have suffered a 50% or greater reduction in revenue due to the COVID-19 public health emergency and economic crisis in a single month from March 1, 2020 to September 1, 2020, as compared to the same period in 2019.
New Work Safe Guidance from the Vermont ACCD for June 1 Reopening
The ACCD has announced new guidance allowing arts and culture organizations to reopen with a number of restrictions, effective June 1. The restrictions announced apply to libraries, galleries, museums, theaters and other indoor arts, culture and entertainment organizations. See section 8.4 of the ACCD's Phased Restart Work Safe Guidance for restrictions specific to arts and culture organizations. In addition to section 8.4, arts and culture organizations must follow the Vermont Department of Health and CDC guidelines as described under the heading, "MANDATORY HEALTH & SAFETY REQUIREMENTS FOR ALL BUSINESS, NON-PROFIT & GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS." Guidance sections that may also be applicable to individual arts and culture organizations include:
ADDITIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS FOR ALL BUSINESS, NON-PROFIT AND GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS
BUSINESS CUSTOMER & GENERAL PUBLIC MASK USE
CROSS STATE TRAVEL
Statewide COVID-19 Relief Funds from the Arts Council and Partners
Vermont’s H.966 legislation provides economic relief to businesses and organizations using funds Vermont received from the Federal CARES Act. This support is for eligible Vermont businesses and organizations who have suffered a 50% or greater reduction in revenue due to the COVID-19 public health emergency and economic crisis in a single month from March 1, 2020 to September 1, 2020, as compared to the same period in 2019. Click here for more information on Emergency Economic Recovery grants.
The Vermont Arts Council and the Vermont Community Foundation partnered to create an Arts Recovery Fund to deliver fast-tracked support to Vermont’s struggling arts and culture sector and to provide a central place to coordinate philanthropic giving. The Arts Recovery Fund will strengthen the capacity of Vermont’s arts and culture sector to survive the immediate economic impact and to respond creatively and strategically in the months ahead. For donors, the Arts Recovery Fund is an opportunity to join a coordinated effort to facilitate the recovery of Vermont’s creative sector.
Donate to the Arts Recovery Fund on the Community Foundation’s website at vermontcf.org/ArtsRecovery.
We are also accepting direct donations to support our efforts in responding to the devastating and rapidly-evolving impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the arts sector. Donations given to the Vermont Arts Council for Covid-19 recovery will support grants to artists and arts organizations. Donate for Covid-19 recovery using our secure online donation form.
Vermont COVID-19 Cultural Relief (Closed)
The Council has partnered with Vermont Humanities to offer Cultural Relief grants to Vermont arts and humanities organizations. Funding for this program is provided primarily from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020.
Rapid Response Artist Relief (Closed)
The Council is no longer accepting applications for Rapid Response Artist Relief grants, which was our first relief fund established to support artists who have lost income due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As of late May, the Council has awarded more than $170,000 in relief grants to more than 400 artists.
Information on CARES Act Relief Fund for US Nonprofits
New details on CARES Act relief fund provisions for US nonprofits were recently announced. Below are relevant updates from our friends at the League of American Orchestras. You can find a full overview in their Federal Assistance Center.
- Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): The Treasury has issued new rules for seasonal employers that allow applicants to determine their maximum loan amount by calculating average monthly payroll over the period of March 1, 2019 to June 30, 2019 (as announced in the original PPP guidelines), or May 1, 2019 to September 15, 2019. This additional timeframe is meant to help those with higher employment in summer months. You can find other updates in the Treasury's expanded Frequently Asked Questions pdf.
- Nonprofits that Self-Insure for Unemployment Benefits: Unemployment benefit guidance issued to states (pdf) by the U.S. Department of Labor on April 27 indicates that states must first bill a self-insuring nonprofit for 100% of the costs and payment must be made to the state by the nonprofit. Only then will the 50% reimbursement included in the CARES Act be issued to the nonprofit by the state. The National Council of Nonprofits is heading a push for revised rules that would streamline this process and relieve nonprofits of the payment burden. They are also seeking 100% coverage of costs under the next version of COVID-19 relief shaped by Congress.
- Mid-sized and Main Street Loans: The Federal Reserve has announced its intention to create a Main Street Loan facility that will be available to nonprofit organizations as it "recognizes the critical role that nonprofit organizations play throughout the economy and is evaluating a separate approach to meet their unique needs."
Vermont Creative Sector Responsible Reopening
Summer Camp and Afterschool Resources
Vermont Department of Health's Health Guidance for Childcare Programs, Summer Programs and Afterschool Programs
Resources for Going Remote
"3 Smart (and Easy!) Ways to Improve Your 'On Camera From Home' Presence" from Burlington's Convey Communications
How to Plan a Virtual Event on Vimeo: Vimeo’s live production team offers advice on how schools, event coordinators, marketers, and more are evolving their event strategies to optimize engaging live streaming experiences.
How to Host a Watch Party on Facebook: With Facebook’s Watch Party feature, you can watch tons of videos and shows with members of groups you’re in on Facebook. This could be helpful for filmmakers or other artists whose screenings had to be cancelled.
In the Press: COVID-19 and Vermont's Creative Sector