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October 26, 2021
Mass. Arts, Culture Nonprofits Get $100M for Pandemic Relief

August 6, 2021 — More than 120 arts and culture nonprofits across Massachusetts recently were awarded $100 million in federal relief aid through a program that aims to help those organizations recoup some of the losses they suffered during the coronavirus pandemic.

Grants from the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program ranged from around $5,000 to $10 million.

Many grantees were forced to close for extended periods, sometimes longer than a year, and are using the funds to rebuild operations.

Massachusetts’ total grant allocation of $100,262,775 puts it among seven states that have been awarded over $100 million from the grant program, according to CommonWealth magazine, after New York, California, Texas, Florida, Illinois, and Pennsylvania.

Most of the Massachusetts grants are going to organizations in the Boston area. Of the 24 organizations receiving at least $1 million, 14 are in Boston or Cambridge. Seven Worcester organizations are grant recipients, making it the city with the third most, according to the report.

Patrick Norton, executive director of the Narrows Center for the Arts, a performance venue, art gallery, and studio space in Fall River, which reportedly received $600,000 was quoted by the magazine, “This is going to have a huge impact on how our organization is going to be able to move forward.”

Boston-based nonprofits receiving grants included the following:

  • Boston Ballet. $8 million
  • Boston Opera House: $7.9 million
  • Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO): $10 million
  • Wang Theater: $9 million

The BSO, which received the maximum grant amount, reportedly lost more than $50 million in revenue during the pandemic.

The Studio Theatre in Worcester was granted $5,000, according to Commonwealth magazine.

“Emily Ruddock, executive director of MassCreative, a creative-sector advocacy group, said she works with organizations that have recently received funds and says the deposits come with a noticeable sense of relief for live venue owners and operators,” the magazine reported.

The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program was created last December, but awards were delayed as the program developed a process for soliciting and reviewing grant requests.

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