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COVID-19 Losses Near $484 Million For Massachusetts Arts Orgs

According the most recent survey from the Mass Cultural Council, Massachusetts arts and culture organizations have lost nearly $484 million in revenue from COVID-19 related closures and cancellations.

After Greater Boston, western Massachusetts arts organizations suffered the next-largest loss since mid-March totaling $55 million, according to the survey.

Statewide, individual artists report losing $20 million in revenue.

MCC Acting Executive Director David Slatery said during this time period, artists, theaters and museums have reinvented themselves with digital and small in-person programs and events. He said they are often well-attended.

“It keeps organizations going and it adds some revenue,” Slatery said. But “we haven't seen any evidence that it's a sustainable business model long term.”

This is the MCC's fourth and maybe final COVID-19 survey. The information the agency collected helped them lobby the legislature, Slatery said. Most of the state’s investment in arts and culture is made through the Mass Cultural Council.

In a year when the state is seeing billions of dollars in lost tax revenue, Slatery said the MCC would be quite happy to get as much funding as they did last year.

Late last week, the Massachusetts House of Representatives level-funded the MCC, allocating $18,180,000 in its approved budget for fiscal year 2021. The state Senate starts its deliberations Tuesday.

Jill Kaufman has been a reporter and host at NEPM since 2005. Before that she spent 10 years at WBUR in Boston, producing "The Connection" with Christopher Lydon and on "Morning Edition" reporting and hosting. She's also hosted NHPR's daily talk show "The Exhange" and was an editor at PRX's "The World."
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