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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 September 17, 2020.
Vermont’s H.966 legislation provides economic relief to businesses and organizations (including nonprofits) using funds Vermont received from the Federal CARES Act. This bill allocated $5 million to support cultural nonprofit organizations across Vermont.
As of September 2, 2020, the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) is no longer administering Vermont Economic Recovery Grants to nonprofit arts and cultural organizations. In order to distribute the remaining funds that were earmarked in H.966 for cultural nonprofits, as of September 21, the Arts Council will accept applications for Economic Recovery Grants.
Applications will be accepted beginning September 21, 2020 and will be awarded until funds are depleted. There are two types of applications: new applicant funding for organizations that have not received an Economic Recovery Grant before, and supplemental funding for organizations that have already received an Economic Recovery Grant and are in need of more funding.
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."
The Agency of Commerce and Community Development's "Phased Restart Work Safe Guidance"
Vermont Department of Health’s Schools and Child Care Programs landing page
Health Guidance for Childcare Programs, Summer Programs and Afterschool Programs (VT Dept. of Health)
Webinar: Health and Safety Guidance for Childcare, Summer, and Afterschool programs (VT Dept. of Health, recorded 5/20/2020)
Vermont Emergency Economic Recovery Grants
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 program 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.
Arts Recovery Fund
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 partnered with Vermont Humanities to offer Cultural Relief grants to Vermont arts and humanities organizations, awarding over $780,000 to 123 organizations. Funding for this program was 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. The Council awarded over $170,000 in relief grants to more than 400 artists.
The Creative Sector Reopening and Recovery Guide
These reopening guidelines were compiled by the Vermont Arts Council, the Vermont Creative Network and the Vermont Creative Sector Response and Recovery Team to serve as a resource for Vermont arts and cultural organizations as they make decisions about operations and programming while the Covid-19 pandemic persists.
Resources for Organizations
Funding, guidance, webinars, and more information specific to arts and cultural organizations.
Resources for Artists
A variety of relief funds and emergency grant opportunities for artists of all disciplines.
Virtual Arts Experiences
Online concerts, live readings, and more socially distant events held by Vermont artists and organizations during the pandemic.
The Creative Sector Response and Recovery
Resources and statewide events organized by the Vermont Creative Network to help the creative sector's economic recovery.
Changes and additions to our grant and program schedules, including new relief funds.
Donate to support relief efforts for Vermont artists and organizations impacted by the pandemic.
"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.
"Resources to Help Ensure Accessibility of Your Virtual Events for People with Disabilities" from the National Endowment for the Humanities