We are more than one year into this pandemic and many of our arts and cultural organizations are still struggling to reopen and provide work for the many working artists our region supports. Below are several updates and opportunities available at this point.

Americans for the Arts COVID-19 Impact Surveys

The Americans for the Arts (AFTA) COVID-19 Impact survey is gathering critical data about how the pandemic is affecting the budgets, staffing, and programming of arts organizations, as well as assessing the creative and social—as well as financial and professional—impact of the pandemic on individual creative workers across all artistic disciplines.

The survey also collects information about the timing and challenges of returning to in-person activities. The findings will help us all address the most pertinent issues facing our local arts sector as well as inform state and federal advocacy efforts.

This survey will also provide localized findings to support advocacy efforts in our community. Once a robust sample of surveys has been collected, Americans for the Arts will send us a link (and we will share it with you) providing access to a dynamic online report that is customized for the Western New York arts and cultural sector.

All responses will be kept completely confidential, handled securely, and reported in the aggregate only. The findings will help us address the most pertinent issues facing our local arts sector, as well as inform state and federal advocacy efforts.

Click the appropriate link below to complete the survey. It takes about 15 minutes to fill out. The deadline is Friday, May 7, 2021.

Arts & Cultural Organizations: Click here to complete the organization survey.
Individual Artists & Creative Workers: Click here to complete the individual artist survey.

ASI also sent out an organizational update survey in February 2021. We understand the survey was time consuming and included a lot of specific data and we want to thank those organizations that took the time to share this important information with us. We assume that the length and detail required, in addition to all of us having limited capacity, is probably why the response was low. While the responses we have gives us vital data to use in our advocacy efforts, it does not demonstrate a complete picture of how the WNY arts and cultural industry is doing.

However, the survey is still open and organization representatives can still complete ASI’s COVID Impact Survey by clicking here. We highlight recommend you download the PDF file of questions and prepare your answers ahead of time as Survey Monkey does not let you save your answers and complete at a later date.


Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG)

The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant application portal is (re)opening today at noon! Per the SBA, below are the following recommendations to ensure success in accessing the application and securing funding.

In preparation for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant application portal reopening today at 12 p.m. EDT, follow the steps below. Remember to register on the portal in advance.

  • Now: Use the checklist to make sure you have everything you need to complete your application. Review additional resources at sba.gov/svogrant such as the applicant user guide and FAQ. Keep these resources open throughout the application process.
  • Before 11 a.m. EDT: Register on the SVOG portal. The ability to register will be temporarily suspended between 11 a.m.-12 p.m. EDT to ensure a fair process and prepare the site for opening.
  • 12 p.m. EDT: Begin the application process on the SVOG portal. Every user will be temporarily placed in a virtual waiting room and will be able to start their application in the order in which they arrived.

For technical assistance such as a password reset, browser suggestions, or how to use the multi-factor authentication with an app and the QR code, applicants can call 1-800-659-2955 or, for the deaf and hard-of-hearing 1-800-877-8339 and follow the prompts to SVOG assistance. The call center is now open 24/7.

You can also find local assistance through one of the SBA’s resource partners. Find a local resource partner here.


National Endowment for the Arts: American Rescue Plan

On March 11, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, which includes $135 million in funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support organizations and recover jobs in the arts industry that have been impacted by the pandemic. Of this total pot of funding, 40% is begin distributed to regional and state arts agencies, like NYSCA, to be distributed through their funding programs.

The NEA is in the process of developing guidelines and application materials for this competitive funding process that accessible, fair, and equitable for all nonprofit arts organizations across the country. This funding will be able to cover general operating costs and none of the funding will require cost share or matching funds from grantees.

Click here to learn more about the fund and keep checking back for updates.


Advocacy

You can join the national conversation about how to Put Creative Workers to Work to stimulate the national economy.

To thrive post-pandemic, we must leverage our creative power by putting creative workers to work rebuilding, reimagining, unifying, and healing communities in every state and territory, as well as within tribal lands. There is a new website that includes everything you would need to know about the Put Creative Workers to Work policy platform, including talking points, coalition and endorsers list, and action steps. It features 16 specific actions that the Administration can take—and you can advocate for—to activate the creative economy within a comprehensive national recovery strategy. Areas of focus include:

  • Engage in, and drive, direct employment of creative workers.
  • Drive local, state, and private sector activation of creative workers.
  • Adjust existing policies to recognize creative workers as workers.
  • Integrate creative interventions into response, recovery, and resilience programs.
  • Support access to arts, culture, and arts education.

On a local level, you can always (and should) reach out to your local elected officials to talk to them about what they can do to help. Our elected officials need to hear from us to know what is most important to their constituents.

You can find your local representatives at the links below or search for your city/town representatives.


Other Resources

We keep updated lists of funding opportunities and resources on our website. We have an entire menu dedicated to COVID-19 support and relief, which includes Emergency Grants, Reopening Resources, and more. We also have several opportunities pages that provide additional Funding opportunities, Careers, Calls for Work, and Residencies and Studios.

Individual artists can also join our Facebook group to learn about and share even more opportunities.