CDC Recommends Event Size Limited to 50 & Walz Announces Expansion of Unemployment Benefits


Important updates from Minnesota Citizens for the Arts:

Arts Supporting Organizations and Funders Begin Response to Help Arts Community

As public officials continue to work to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus as it continues to spread across the country, two announcements today affect arts organizations and workers. We have gathered a growing list of resources and recommendations for the arts community which will include the information below and continue to be updated at:

CDC Recommends Gatherings be Limited to 50 people or Less for the Next 8 Weeks:

The CDC has expanded its recommendations for closing events and gatherings:

“…CDC, in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.”

See the full recommendation here:

Governor Walz Announces Expanded Access to Unemployment Benefits for Workers Affected by COVID-19

These new orders state:

“Economic insecurity because of involuntary unemployment of workers in Minnesota is a subject of general concern. The public good is promoted by providing workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own a temporary partial wage replacement to assist unemployed workers to become reemployed. Providing a temporary partial wage replacement to assist unemployed workers allows these workers to access basic necessities and safeguard the health of themselves, their families, and other Minnesotans. Current law and regulations prevent the Minnesota Unemployment Insurance Program from providing immediate relief to employers and unemployed workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eligibility is expanded to include the following reasons for unemployment:
“The applicant has been instructed by their employer not to come to the employer’s place of business due to an outbreak of a communicable disease.”

“The applicant has received a notification from a school district, daycare, or other childcare provider that either classes are canceled or the applicant’s ordinary childcare is unavailable, provided that the applicant made reasonable effort to obtain other childcare and requested time off or other accommodation from the employer and no reasonable accommodation was available.”

Read the full order here:

National Survey Will Track Impact of Coronavirus on Creative Sector

Americans for the Arts, with whom we collaborate on national issues, will be tracking the impact of the coronavirus on the creative sector with a short, five minute survey that will be repeated over time. The survey will give arts advocates across the country real time data that can be used to advocate for the arts at the national level.

With arts events being canceled across the state just yesterday in Minnesota, for most artists and arts organizations the impacts are just beginning to be understood. We applaud this effort to get our arms around the impacts on the arts community.

Here’s what they say about the survey:

“On January 20, 2020, the first coronavirus patient in the United States was confirmed. This survey is designed to collect information about the financial and human impacts that the spread of the coronavirus has had on arts and cultural organizations. The survey also collects basic information about the participating organizations so that the data can be parsed by specific geographic regions, artistic disciplines, and budget categories. Thank you in advance for spending five minutes to fill it out!”

Take the survey HERE.

Arts Supporting Organizations and Foundations Begin to Mobilize Response

We have gathered here some responses from the state’s arts supporting foundations and organizations whose arts and culture grantees have been closed by the spread of COVID-19. Thank you to our amazing community for their speedy response!

Minnesota’s Regional Arts Councils and State Arts Board

“The RAC directors are working together with the State Arts Board and are willing to be flexible and work with applicants. The only issue that’s come up so far are grantees with FY19 money that has to be spent by June 30, 2020. That cannot be extended under law. Also, we are all sharing this language with our grantees: “We encourage any grantee that has had to change plans because of the current uncertainty to contact us to talk about changing the details of their grant to allow them to work without undue hardship. We plan to be as flexible as the law allows us in this regard. We understand that some events may need to be canceled and we will work with any grantee to find appropriate solutions.”

Minnesota State Arts Board
Information for Arts Board applicants, grantees, or grant review panelists. Arts Board staff members are available to respond to your questions. We know that COVID-19 is having an impact on your activities and want to be as helpful as we can be. Current grant activities – If you need to reschedule or modify Arts Board funded activities, please contact your program officer to discuss your options for a contract amendment or extension. Information sessions – We have sessions scheduled in Winona and Park Rapids in the coming weeks. At the moment, those will go forward as planned, but we are closely monitoring the situation and will postpone or modify the format, if need be. FY 2021 grant application review meetings – The Arts Board is scheduled to begin Operating Support, Arts Learning, and Minnesota Festival Support grant application panel review meetings in late April, May, and June. At this point, we haven’t made any changes to the schedule and format for those meetings, but we will be closely monitoring the situation and, if needed, may make changes in the coming weeks.

McKnight Foundation

We will consider the impact of coronavirus on your organization’s progress toward your grant agreement. We recognize the pandemic presents many challenges for nonprofits, from canceled events to market declines to business continuity pressures. If the coronavirus has prevented you from moving forward with a conference or other gathering, or slowed down other services or plans, please know we support you in making prudent decisions that balance public health and safety concerns. Contact your program officer if you may need potential adjustments to the terms of your grant agreement. We stand with our grantees and our communities. This pandemic will have many social and economic implications, some of which we are only beginning to understand. As we learn more, we will be reviewing our response options. If you have specific ideas, please be in touch with your primary Foundation contact or send us a message through this monitored Contact Us web page.

Jerome Foundation

In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, Jerome Foundation is aware of the impact on organizations who are shuttering their doors and canceling events and individual artists who are facing enormous loss of income not only as they lose professional commitments and opportunities but as their “day jobs” suspend activities as well. As we consider our response, we are mindful of the need to be thoughtful both about the immediate needs artists and organizations are facing, and the possibility of unforeseen needs arising if the pandemic stretches over a long time frame. We are currently engaged in conversation with several organizations who are organizing emergency relief funds efforts for artists and organizations in Minnesota and New York City, and expect to join those efforts in the near future.

To date, we have signaled the following to our current grantees:

  • Arts organizations grantees have been authorized to use our funds to compensate artists for any canceled Jerome-supported event.
  • Jerome Hill Artist Fellows (those grantees in the 2-year fellowship program that receive funds directly from the Foundation) and 2019 Film, Video and Digital Production grantees have been given access to up to $2,000 each towards emergency needs.
  • Organizations have been invited to approach us to restructure or redefine their grant—a process that we will approach with “radical trust” in our grantees.
  • We have confirmed that all grant commitments already contracted for 2020 and 2021 will be honored, without reduction in grants amounts or revocation of any grant.
  • We are working to alleviate any administrative burdens caused by our grants. Reporting deadlines and requirements have been extended, and paperwork for revision of grants or accessing emergency funds will be nominal.
  • In the wake of cancelled travel and community meetings, we have added additional online webinar and interactive Q&A sessions for those artists interested in the Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship Program and are currently in discussion about whether that deadline in early May should be extended.

Though our staff will be working remotely, we are committed to being available to our community and do not expect major disruptions in our operations or availability. …We maintain an unwavering commitment to serving early career artists, to learning from artists and arts organizations, and to channeling our resources to the needs those artists and organizations define as most urgent. I am grateful to our Board of Directors and its Executive Committee, who have given us extraordinary time and counsel even while managing their own organizations and careers. And as always I am eternally grateful to the staff here…whose care for artists and organizations is profound, and whose dedication to our work astounding. All of us sending all of you our best wishes and our hopes that you, your families and loved ones find strength with one another.

Arts Midwest

What if you are an Arts Midwest grantee and wondering whether to move forward with a performance or event? Arts Midwest is closely monitoring recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organizations as they pertain to travel and public health and safety in the United States as more public gatherings, including performances and festivals, have been canceled to help limit the spread of COVID-19. We have encouraged our grantees and partners to be prepared and have a plan in place for their grant activities in the event that, in the interest of public health or safety, their organizations need to delay events, cancel events, or temporarily close. As always, Arts Midwest staff are here as a resource, and seek to be supportive and flexible. Please contact relevant program staff to keep us informed about disruptions, cancellations, postponements, and the impact of COVID-19 on your grant, program, or event.”

Saint Paul and Minnesota Foundation

“In the face of so much unknown, we are clear about this: Our top priority is the health and safety of our staff, donors, grantees, partners — and the community at large. Our leadership team has been meeting daily to assess the situation across the country and in Minnesota. As the situation evolves, we will take the prudent and necessary measures to ensure that we are tending to the health of our community.”

Grantmakers in the Arts

Minnesota Council on Foundations

Minnesota Council on Foundations Free Webinar (55:01)
Coronavirus Webinar: Preparing Minnesota’s Foundations and Nonprofit Organizations for Coronavirus
This webinar was held on March 4th in partnership with the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, the State of Minnesota, and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. Its purpose was to help nonprofits and foundations think about their own internal continuity of operations, as well as thinking about the external services they provide and how needs may evolve and increase as a result of an outbreak. Our featured speaker was Tanya Gulliver-Garcia from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy.

Minnesota Citizens for the Arts     
661 LaSalle Street #220 St Paul, MN 55114 | 651-251-0868 | fax 651-917-3561
staff at & | @MnCitizen

MCA is a nonpartisan statewide arts advocacy organization whose mission is to ensure Minnesotans have access to and involvement in the arts. MCA organizes the arts community to lobby the Legislature and Congress on issues important to the nonprofit arts community. If you are interested in advocating for the arts, or want to learn how to activate people in your arts organization or community, please contact us. FYI, MCA is not a grantsmaker. For access to state funding, contact the Minnesota State Arts Board or your local Regional Arts Council.

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