NASAA Banner Image

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 arts 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.


State Arts Agency Programs

State arts agencies are launching many new programs in response to the COVID-19 crisis. They are distributing relief funds, retooling ongoing grants, promoting virtual arts engagement, and offering a host of technical assistance and training services to help artists and arts organizations adapt to the challenges presented by the pandemic. See some examples here:

State to State Articles: COVID-19

NASAA staff has cataloged hundreds of additional examples showing how state arts agencies are creatively adjusting their programs and services to address COVID-19. Members can access more models by contacting Feby Emelio.


Supplemental Appropriations for COVID-19

As states develop strategies for economic recovery in the wake of COVID-19, many states have made special investments in the creative sector. These investments originate from a mixture of funding sources: state relief dollars, federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds, or resources from the American Rescue Plan. Many of these resources are administered by state arts agencies to benefit arts organizations and creative businesses. For information on fiscal year 2021 allocations, see NASAA’s FY2021 State Arts Agency Revenues Report. For new allocations emerging for FY2022, contact NASAA Research Associate Declan Wicks.

Also see NASAA’s The Arts and Economic Recovery Research resources for more information on how a strong creative sector helps state and local economies to rebound after severe economic shocks.


Reopening Resources

As states relax closure requirements and more in-person arts activity resumes, many cultural organizations are considering how best to adapt their activities to support safe arts participation. When developing guidance for your constituents, the following resources and examples may be useful.


State Examples

Reopening New York: Small and Medium Scale Performing Arts and Entertainment (New York)

Reopening New York: Large Scale Performing Arts and Entertainment (New York)

Reopening Museums & Performing Arts Centers (Washington)

Communication Recommendations for Arts Organizations (Maryland State Arts Council)

Connecticut’s Arts & Culture Industry Guidelines for Operating during COVID-19 (Connecticut Department of Community and Economic Development, Office of the Arts)

Missouri ArtSafe Certification (Missouri Arts Council)

Guide to Reopen the Arts (North Carolina Arts Council)

Operating during COVID-19: Considerations for Oklahoma Nonprofit Arts Organizations (Oklahoma Arts Council)

Reopening Safely: Tips and Resources to Prepare (Pennsylvania Council on the Arts)

Arts Reopening Guide (South Carolina Arts Alliance)


Arts Education Guidance

Supplemental Guidance and Additional Considerations on Visual and Performing Arts (Oregon Department of Education)

Arts Education Recommendations (Ohio Alliance for Arts Education)

Continuity of Learning: Visual and Performing Arts Recommendations and Resource Compendium (Vermont Agency of Education)

September Ready: Fall 2020 Guidance for Arts Education (Arts Ed NJ)

Recommendations for Arts Education as North Carolina Reopens Schools (Arts Education Leadership Coalition)

Arts & Physical Education Re-entry (Arizona Department of Eductation)

Arts Together: Planning Guidance for Arts Educators in Maryland Public Schools (Maryland State Department of Education)

Preparing for School Year 2020-21 (National Art Education Association)

Advancing Governors’ 2021 Priorities Through the Arts (Arts Education Partnership)

Recommendations for Reopening School Theatre Programs (Educational Theatre Association)


Creative Industry Guidance

Considerations for Museum Reopenings (American Alliance of Museums)

Reopening the Cultural Sector in U.S. Cities (Bloomberg Philanthropies)

Safe in Sound (Event Safety Alliance/National Independent Venue Association)

The Art of Reopening (National Endowment for the Arts)

Roadmap for Recovery and Resilience for Theater (A.R.T.)

Returning to Work Safely: Guidelines for Small Venues, Studios & Rehearsal Spaces (American Federation of Musicians)

Return to Dancing and Training Considerations Due to-COVID-19 (Dance|USA)

Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes (Centers for Disease Control)


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.

Culture + Community in a Time of Transformation (Culture Track)

When We Reopen, Whom Will We Gather? (SMU DataArts)

Showing Our Work: Moving Towards Racial Equity in Grantmaking (The Boston Foundation)

A Call for Building Deep Resilience in Arts Funding (Grantmakers in the Arts)

America, the Arts and Racial Injustice (Pam Breaux, NASAA)

NCAPER Recommended Principles for Arts Funding in the COVID-19 Crisis and in Other Crises (National Coalition for Arts’ Preparedness and Emergency Response)

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:

Tips for Creating an Inclusive Virtual Space (The Aspen Institute)

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)

Working from Home While Black (Harvard Business Review)

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

Online Event Resources (Looking Glass Creative)

Resources to Help Ensure Accessibility of Your Virtual Events for People with Disabilities (National Endowment for the Arts)


This page was last updated on November 30, 2021. 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.