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COVID-19 Resources for State Arts Agencies

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is creating unprecedented challenges for the cultural sector. NASAA is witnessing tremendous ingenuity and generosity as communities strive to stay safe and healthy—and engaged with each other through the arts.

State arts agencies are essential facilitators of the art field’s COVID-19 response. The resources below—tailored specifically to the needs and roles of state arts agencies—offer useful guidance for state arts agencies and other public arts funders as they develop more policies and practices to address the COVID-19 landscape.


Federal Policy

Arts Included in Federal Stimulus Bill

Apart from providing funding through the National Endowment for the Arts, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes many additional provisions that may be helpful to nonprofit arts organizations as well as independent artists, freelancers and creative gig workers. Good places to begin learning about these opportunities include:

Unemployment Benefits for Self-Employed Artists, Gig Workers, Etc.

CARES Act: How to Apply for Nonprofit Relief Funds (Independent Sector)

Loans Available for Nonprofits in the CARES Act (National Council of Nonprofits)

What the CARES Act Means for Freelancers (Freelancers Union)


State Arts Agency Programs

NASAA staff has collected a large catalogue of examples showing how state arts agency programs and services are changing to address COVID-19. A few highlights are offered below. State arts agencies can access more models by contacting NASAA Senior Director of Research Ryan Stubbs.

Sustaining Public Engagement during COVID-19

Virtual Marketplaces and COVID-19

COVID-19 State Impact Research

COVID-19 Grant Adaptations


Equity and Antidiscrimination 

Natural disasters and other public emergencies can inflame xenophobia and have a disproportionate impact on people of color, low-income communities, people with disabilities and other systemically marginalized populations. The following resources may assist state arts agencies when developing policies, programs and communications strategies during the COVID-19 crisis.

Funding in the Time of COVID-19: Questions to Deepen Racial Equity Philanthropy News Digest / Candid

Keep Equity at the Forefront in Philanthropy’s Response to the Coronavirus United Philanthropy Forum

Viruses Don’t Discriminate and Neither Should We: Coronavirus and Stigma King County, WA

Combating Bias and Stigma Related to COVID-19 American Psychological Association

Countering COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Stigma and Racism: Tips for Parents and Caregivers National Association of School Psychologists


Facilitating Online Meetings

More state arts agencies (and their constituents) are moving staff teamwork, panels and community dialogues online. So it’s useful to bring extra consciousness to how we make virtual conversations inclusive, engaging and efficient. NASAA recommends these resources for starters:

Virtual Meeting Check-Ins & Icebreakers during A Pandemic (Beth Kanter)

How to Facilitate Effective Virtual Meetings (Beth Kanter)

Centering Equity & Inclusion during Virtual Meetings & Working from Home (Beloved Community)

Run Meetings That Are Fair to Introverts, Women, and Remote Workers (Harvard Business Review)

How to Run a Great Virtual Meeting (Harvard Business Review)

Online Event Resources (Looking Glass Creative)


NASAA Member Updates

COVID-19: NASAA at Your Side

Contact Your Delegation Today: COVID-19 Arts Relief

Coronavirus Resources

This page was last updated on April 7, 2020. Please check this page often for new additions. If you have a resource you think it would be especially valuable to add, contact NASAA Communications Manager Sue Struve. If you are an artist or arts organization seeking support, please review the resources offered through your state arts agency.

COVID-19 coronavirus illustration by David S. Goodsell, RCSB Protein Data Bank. In addition to holding posts as a Professor of Computational Biology at the Scripps Research Institute and Research Professor at Rutgers University, Goodsell is a scientific illustrator with a signature style of painting. The image at the top of this page is a new illustration of the COVID-19 virus. Learn more about his process from this Forbes article.