I hope you are taking deep breaths, trying to enjoy the sunshine, and practicing social distancing/staying at home. Experts understand that our situation in New England is likely to get worse before it gets better, with health care workers and facilities stressed to the max. Be kind. Do your part.
If–and we pray this is not the case– being at home is dangerous, please act now. Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE)
During this period, the creative community has rallied. More and more dance classes, mini-performances, streamed broadcasts of past events, and collaborative projects are coming online. For instance
- The Midday Movement Series is compiling a list individual online sessions by local teachers
- Dance Complex is in the process of posting lists of virtual classes being offered by its teaching artists
- Folk and culturally specific dancers are going to the source and learning new dances from Youtube videos
- Gaga, Dance Church and other public dance forms are melting walls and distance
- Celebrity teachers (Debbie Allen! Tiler Peck) are offering classes on FB, Zoom, and Instagram
and yoga, meditation, stretch and strength-building classes abound. Share your favorites with your virtual network. While social media is working quickly and well (we’d rather not call it viral these days) if there is something you want BDA to be aware of, please send the information to firstname.lastname@example.org
While many of these are free, consider making a donation to these artists to help keep them afloat (yes, and BDA, too.)
OTHER IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO
Many agencies are compiling information about the impact of Covid-19 on the economy. It is crucial that we can make a case for relief across the cultural sector where many artists are low-income and gig workers (as well as holding second and third jobs that may make them eligible for unemployment benefits) and where many organizations, including Boston Dance Alliance, run on a shoestring with no or little margin for loss).
Please take the following surveys to the extent they apply to you:
Mass Cultural Council
Individual Artist and Cultural Educator COVID-19 Impact Survey
Cultural organizations COVID-19 Impact Survey
The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture in the City of Boston already has a relief fund in place and is surveying its constituents.
Similar efforts will be underway in other communities including Cambridge, Somerville, and Metrowest. Be patient; everyone is flat out. They do understand the urgency and seriousness of this situation.
While you’re at home, do your taxes (you will have at least an extra 90 days to submit payments) and remember that if you are a BDA fiscal sponsee and have received disbursements of funds in 2019 you need to pay taxes on those funds. You may also want to count the expenses you paid out of those funds on a Schedule C. Consult a tax expert for details.
Fill out the census The 2020 US census is available in many languages.
Remember that undocumented people in the United States should still be counted. Especially at a time when we are scared and may not trust government, everyone deserves to be counted. Answers to common questions are here
Boston Dance Alliance is part of a network of cultural sector leaders working together to identify needs and share best practices. In a recent webinar, Mark Rossier of the New York Foundation for the Arts encouraged artists [preliminary transcript]
“Start compiling. Contracts or commitment letters stating the terms of the engagement, the dates, the rate of pay, and ideally though not vital would be a cancellation letter. Obviously, if your state has canceled all activities, you are fine, but ideally a cancellation letter. If you have a lot of this by email, that can be fine as well. If you don’t have these, take time now, write to people and ask if you can get them. Tell them there are opportunities for you and you would love to get it in writing. These don’t have to be arts-related activities. Most funders understand that artists don’t make most of their living from their art. So if you have temp jobs that are falling through, if you have catering jobs, teaching jobs, any of those things that you have that fell through, get the documentation for it. […] Funders will find that compelling and appropriate information because it is based on something real.
If you don’t already have it, prepare an artist resume. There are people who are scammers. The question of what is an artist and who is an artist will come up. Have a resume. Have a website. Or you can use the narrative portion of [any grant] application to explain that. These don’t necessarily need to be things for which you are compensated.”
Boston Dance Alliance send every one of our friends and colleagues health, perserverance, safety and — yes, a sense of humor.