Maine Arts & Culture Sector Can Prepare for the Caronavirus
- June 16, 2021
MAINE ARTS COVID-19 RESOURCES PAGE
Updated June 9, 2021 - LATEST NEWS ON SHUTTERED VENUE OPERATORS GRANTS
SBA will miss the June 9 deadline of processing Priority One applications. Only 90 Priority One awards were granted out of 14,000 applications so far. SBA is still dealing with technical problems. The vast majority of Priority One applications are mistakenly being blocked because of a common name match on a federal Do Not Pay list, a Death Master list, or they just need to correct and resubmit the specific Tax Form 4506-T with “SVOG” pre-written on the top of the form.
The SBA is moving the SVOG program out of the Office of Disaster Assistance and into the Office of Capital Access, which ran the highly successful $800 billion PPP program that concluded on May 31st. Additionally, SBA is integrating experts from the efficiently executed Restaurant Revitalization Fund to work on SVOG, along with other interagency reviewers. Perhaps, most importantly, the new SVOG team leaders are new Biden Administration political appointees, who are committed to cutting through the red tape to achieve fast results. Here are some additional developments that will be helpful:
- SBA is also setting up new Office Hours and Weekly Emails beginning next week for all SVOG applicants.
- For those of you on the “Do Not Pay List,” the SBA is proactively working to correct 99% of the problems on your behalf. You are being asked to do nothing at this time and you will receive a resolution email within the coming days. SBA will disregard basic name matches and only rely on multi-factor conclusive matches to hold up the review process. This correction alone will clear the block of 8,000 applications on the Do Not Pay list to just under 30! There is one exception to this advice of "do nothing" and that is if you are on the SAM.gov Do Not Pay list. In that case, you must correct the problem as soon as possible.
- For those of you who received notifications of needing to resubmit a 4506-T Form, you do need to do that promptly. If you need assistance, SVOG will be setting up their office hours for that kind of customized service to assist you. SVOG staff will also be calling to assist applicants as well. SBA acknowledged that 88% of corrected tax forms have already been completed by applicants. The common errors:
- You must use the exact SVOG Form 4506-T.
- You must limit how much info is permitted to just the tax year 2019.
- You must sign with a “wet signature” (ideally use blue ink pen).
- For those of you who have still not completed the SAM.gov process, SBA stated that they will not hold up your award announcements (if applicable). Instead, SBA staff will assist the 2,500+ applicants in finalizing the SAM.gov registration before dispersing funds.
- For those of you who have been locked out of your online application in the SVOG portal, it likely happened because you did not submit a corrected Form 4506-T in the allotted time. SBA recognizes that they put too short of a cure time of just 3-4 days on these requests. This will now be extended to 15 days. They ask you to call the SVOG Tech Hotline at 1-800-659-2955 and ask to re-set your online account so you can upload the new form.
- For those of you who have been locked out of your online account because your Google Authenticator changed and you need a new QR code to sync with, please call the SVOG Tech Hotline at 1-800-659-2955 and ask for a new QR code to be emailed to you so you can sync with your new Google Authenticator app.
- SBA will begin also reviewing Priority Two applications, but Priority One applications will still be the top priority in order of receipt.
- Priority Three applications are still set to be reviewed on June 25th.
The American Rescue plan designated $16.5 billion dollars in grants to arts and entertainment venues. It is the most significant funding for the arts in this nation's history. After months of delays of the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, and a failed launch of the application portal, the US Small Business Administration is reporting thousands of applications are now successfully being processed. But there are still many questions and concerns that we are hearing from Maine venue operators. We're here to help. In the video above, the Maine Arts Commission teams up with CEI Women's Business Center to answer YOUR questions. We cover the basics of the SVOG process, and answer common questions that have arisen during the first days of the portal being open. Attached is the Powerpoint presentation that accompanies the video.
Americans for the Arts - Resource and Response Center
Americans for the Arts - Artist Relief Fund
US Small Business Administration - Coronavirus Relief Options
US Small Business Administration - Shuttered Venue Operator's Grant
ArtsReady and the Performing Arts Readiness project have released the Pocket Response ResourceCERF+ the Artists Safety Net provides financial assistance to artists working in craft disciplines who are facing dire circumstances from the COVID-19 crisis.
Creative Portland - Artist Relief Fund
De-escalation & Stress Management Trainings for Front Line Workers Through Hospitality Maine:
Freelance Artist Resources
Maine Community Foundation Emergency Response Fund to support community-based organizations
Maine Department of Economic & Community Development - Phase 2 - MUSEUMS & PUBLIC GATHERINGS
Maine Department of Economic & Community Development - Phase 3- PERFORMING ARTS VENUES
Plan for Governor Mills to Restart Maine's Economy
Free Webinar - "How to Ask for $ In Tough Times: 12 Tactics in 24 Minutes" - Featuring Matt Lehrman of Social Prosperity Partners
Free Webinar - "Crisis Engagement - 12 Tasks to Sustain Donors in Turbulent Times" - Featuring Matt Lehrman of Social Prosperity Partners
Free Webinar - "Understanding Ourselves and the Critical Need for Self-Care" - Featuring Winden Rowe
Free Webinar - "Paycheck Protection Loan Forgiveness Application Forms and Flexibility Rules" - Americans For The Arts
Free Webinar - "COVID-19 Federal Relief Funds for the Arts 101 Series" - Americans For The Arts
U.S. Chamber - Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act: What small businesses need to know
Cherished Possessions, Maine's largest online consignment store is offering free e-commerce support services to Maine artists
COVID-19 Projections - State by State
TAKE THE IMPACT SURVEYS - This will give us a strong foundation as we promote the inclusion of the arts and culture sector in any stimulus package options and other Federal relief measures.
Updated June 3, 2021 - 2:33 p.m.
Here is the latest SBA briefing as reported by the Arts Action Fund as of June 3, 2021:
- More technical snags related to Tax Form 4506-T and the Do Not Pay lists have internally moved thousands of applications into “Complex in Review” status, requiring resolution by either a higher-level SBA officer or the applicant. SBA will also be updating the instructions to better explain how to correct your Form 4506-T for your specific situation. In the meantime, please visit the SBA's Post-Application FAQs.
- The latest email notice that the SBA sent out this week asked several hundred applicants in Priority One to remove their name from the federal “Do Not Pay” list by contacting the Social Security Administration to prove that they are not deceased (I’m not kidding). Business Employer Identification Numbers (EIN) were incorrectly run through the Social Security Administration database of personal social security numbers. It turns out that many EIN numbers are a match with very old social security numbers from decades earlier of deceased persons. The SBA said that they are quickly rectifying this issue themselves, as long as the names do not also match, and they will be sending emails tonight or tomorrow to those SVOG applicants to inform them that the issue is resolved.
- SBA has added more staff to process SVOG applications. All applications are under review, even if your application online only says “submitted.” It’s just another computer glitch.
- SBA is still committed to finalize processing of all Priority One applications by June 9th.
- SBA will also soon be e-mailing out award decline letters. Please remember that if you get one of these letters, you will have an opportunity to re-apply.
- Please send me examples of any problems you incur with the SBA, so that I can bring it to their attention immediately.
- There are still ample funds in the SVOG program and all eligible organizations and individuals are encouraged to still apply at www.svograntportal.sba.gov/s/.
- The SBA number to call for SVOG technical questions is 1-800-659-2955.
- To date, only 50 Priority One applications have received award notifications, but SBA will be working through the weekend to meet their June 9thdeadline. SBA will be posting regular program updates on numbers.
Updated May 5, 2021 - 12:46 p.m.
Maine Small Business Administration - Exploring Economic Aid Webinar: Diane Sturgeon from the Maine District Office of the SBA discusses the Economic Aid Act and potential funding sources from the Small Business Administration including PPP first and second round loans, Shuttered Venue Operator Grants, Economic Injury Disaster Loans, and SBA Debt Relief as well as the Agency’s regular programs and services. Guidance: If you think you are eligible for PPP and SVOG, wait until the Congressional Fix above is enacted into law in mid-March before you apply for a PPP. But remember, the last day to apply for a PPP is March 31, 2021. This process will then clear the way for you to also apply for SVOG when that application portal opens in a few weeks.
Updated March 15, 2021 - 10:14 a.m.
New PPP and Shuttered Venue Operator Grants faqs, Economic Injury Disaster loan repayment deferred an extra year.
SVOG FAQs as of 3/12/21 https://www.sba.gov/document/support-shuttered-venue-operators-grants-faq
- *Is an entity that applied for a First Draw or Second Draw PPP loan on or after Dec. 27, 2020, eligible to apply for an SVOG? Yes. While entities originally were prohibited from receiving both forms of SBA assistance, the American Rescue Plan Act, which became law on March 11, 2021, removed this restriction. However, under the law, entities will be ineligible for a PPP loan AFTER they receive an SVOG.
- *How is “talent representative” being defined? A talent representative is an agent or manager for whom no less than 70% of their business operations (as measured with reference to their overall revenues, costs, devotion of time, contracts, and other indicia of business activity) involves the representation or management of two or more artists or entertainers. These operations must involve booking or representing musicians, comedians, actors, or similar performing artists primarily at live events staged in venues or at festivals in exchange for compensation founded on the number of tickets sold or a similar basis.
- *When will SVOG applications open? The SBA is working expeditiously to open SVOG applications in early April. We encourage you to stay up to date by frequently visiting www.sba.gov/svogrant for information.
- *How will the SBA determine the amount of SVOG funding to award an eligible entity that started business operations in January or February 2020 and has no 2019 revenues? Like the manner in which a grant is determined for a firm that did not start in business until partway through 2019, the SBA will award an SVOG applicant that began business operations in January or February 2020 the lesser of the average monthly earned revenue for each full month it was in business in 2020 multiplied by 6 up to a maximum of $10 million.
- *Will the SBA require audited financial statements as part of an SVOG application? No, an audited financial statement is not required to apply for an SVOG award. However, where a forprofit SVOG grantee expends more than $750,000 in Federal funding in one fiscal year it will have the option of either providing a Single Audit Act audit or submitting an audited financial statement for that fiscal year during the audit period.
- *Will an SVOG be disbursed in one lump sum or in multiple payments? If multiple payments are used, what will the time frame be for payout? Depending on the size of the award and other risk factors, some SVOGs will be disbursed in the form of a single lump sum while others will be spread out over multiple payments. In general, most SVOGs under $1 million are deemed to pose a low risk and will be disbursed in one or two installments. Awards for larger amounts are deemed to be a higher risk and will be disbursed in two to four installments. Where payment is made via installments, the schedule of payments will depend upon the grantee’s submission of documentation of an SVOG recipient’s use of the initial fund disbursement and their 2020 federal tax return. The SBA understands not all entities will file a 2020 federal tax return at the same time and will collect documents accordingly. In every case, installment payments will not be made according to a specified calendar or a set amount of time. A grantee’s disbursement will depend on how quickly it can provide the required documentation.
- *Is there a difference between the amount of time an SVOG recipient has to expend award funds and the period of time during which they may incur allowable costs?Yes. While a recipient of an Initial Phase SVOG has one year from the date of its award to expend its grant funds, it can only use those funds to pay allowable items of cost incurred between March 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2021. Where an entity receives a Supplemental Phase SVOG, it will have 18 months from the date of its Initial Phase Award to expend its grant funds, but it can only use those funds to pay allowable costs incurred between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2022.
- *Can SVOG funds be used to make payments on SBA-backed loans? Yes. The Economic Aid Act states SVOG funds may be used for “scheduled payments of interest or principal on any indebtedness or debt instrument.” Given the broad language used by Congress, the SBA will treat payments on SBA-backed loans as an allowable expense under the SVOG program.
- *Are donations / contributions included in gross earned revenue? No. Only earned revenue should be included in calculations of gross earned revenue. Unearned revenue, including donations and other gratuitous contributions, such as foundation grants and individual gifts, should not be included.
- *Will the SBA treat funds derived from sponsorships as earned revenue or gross revenue? Will sponsorship revenue be treated the same for for-profit and non-profit entities? The treatment sponsorship revenue will receive will depend on whether an entity is a for-profit or non-profit entity. Because it represents payment made in exchange for a service (i.e., recognition or advertising), sponsorship payments (such as naming rights) received by for-profit entities will be considered earned revenue. Like the treatment afforded memberships and fundraising events, sponsorship payments received by non-profits will be considered part earned revenue and part gross revenue. In such cases, the sponsorship payment amount a non-profit receives that represents a fair market value for services in exchange (i.e. promotion, free admission, use of facilities) will be deemed earned revenue and the portion of the sponsorship payment that exceeds that amount will be deemed a contribution and thus gross revenue. For example, if a company gives $25,000 to a nonprofit and for that, gets its logo in a program, event admission and screen time on monitors at the venue, then the “market cost” of those items are earned revenue and the remaining is gross revenue.
- *Does the limit on a group of affiliated entities having no more than 5 active SVOG applications pending before the SBA (or receiving more than 5 SVOGs) also apply to entities owned by state or local governments? Yes. No more than five eligible entities owned by the same state or local government may simultaneously apply for or receive SVOGs.
- *Can two affiliated eligible entities both use the employer identification number of their parent to apply for their own SVOG? For example, could a concert hall and a movie theatre owned by the same parent entity each use that parent entity’s EIN to apply? No. Only one SVOG application and award will be allowed per EIN. Additionally, where a parent entity’s EIN is used, it is the parent entity that must meet the statutory definition of an eligible entity rather than its subsidiaries or internal divisions.
PPP FAQs updated https://www.sba.gov/document/support-faq-lenders-borrowers
PPP FAQ 3-12-21
Question: On March 3, 2021, SBA posted Interim Final Rule “Revisions to Loan Amount Calculation and Eligibility” allowing Schedule C filers to use gross income to calculate PPP loan amounts. What options do lenders have to assist Schedule C filers who already submitted a PPP loan application to use gross income to calculate their PPP loan amount?74 Answer: The options available to lenders depend on the status of the PPP loan application.
• If the lender has not submitted a loan guaranty application for the Schedule C applicant who wishes to use gross income to calculate their loan amount, the applicant must submit to the lender SBA Form 2483-C for a First Draw PPP Loan or SBA Form 2483-SD-C for a Second Draw PPP Loan, and the lender then must submit a loan guaranty application to SBA through the Paycheck Protection Platform (Platform) using SBA Form 2484 (Revised 3/21) for a First Draw PPP Loan or SBA Form 2484-SD (Revised 3/21) for a Second Draw PPP Loan.
• If the lender has submitted a loan guaranty application to the Platform and the loan guaranty application has not yet been approved, the lender may withdraw the 74 Question 66 published March 12, 2021. As of March 12, 2021 28 loan guaranty application from the Platform, and resubmit a loan guaranty application after receipt from the applicant of SBA Form 2483-C for a First Draw PPP Loan or SBA Form 2483-SD-C for a Second Draw PPP Loan. The lender must use SBA Form 2484 (Revised 3/21) for a First Draw PPP Loan or SBA Form 2484-SD (Revised 3/21) for a Second Draw PPP Loan when resubmitting the loan guaranty application.
• If SBA has issued a loan number, but the loan has not yet been disbursed, the lender may cancel the loan in E-Tran Servicing and the applicant may apply for a new loan using SBA Form 2483-C for a First Draw PPP Loan or SBA Form 2483-SD-C for a Second Draw PPP Loan.
• If the lender has disbursed the loan but has not filed the related Form 1502 Report reporting disbursement of the loan, the applicant must repay the PPP loan in full, the lender must cancel the loan in E-Tran Servicing, and the applicant may apply for a new loan using SBA Form 2483-C for a First Draw PPP Loan or SBA Form 2483-SD-C for a Second Draw PPP Loan.
• If the lender has disbursed the loan and filed the related Form 1502 Report reporting disbursement of the loan, no changes can be made to the loan amount calculation. Note: Loans must be canceled in E-Tran Servicing (not in the Platform). The Platform may take up to 2 days to reflect the actions in E-Tran Servicing. Lender cannot enter a new loan guaranty application until the Platform recognizes the prior loan’s cancellation.
SBA Extends Deferment Period for all COVID-19 EIDL and Other Disaster Loans until 2022
The U.S. Small Business Administration announced extended deferment periods for all disaster loans, including the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, until 2022.
• All SBA disaster loans made in calendar year 2020, including COVID-19 EIDL, will have a first payment due date extended from 12-months to 24-months from the date of the note.
• All SBA disaster loans made in calendar year 2021, including COVID-19 EIDL, will have a first payment due date extended from 12-months to 18-months from the date of the note.
Existing SBA disaster loans approved prior to 2020 in regular servicing status as of March 1, 2020, received an automatic deferment of principal and interest payments through December 31, 2020. This initial deferment period was subsequently extended through March 31, 2021. An additional 12-month deferment of principal and interest payments will be automatically granted to these borrowers. Borrowers will resume their regular payment schedule with the payment immediately preceding March 31, 2022, unless the borrower voluntarily continues to make payments while on deferment. It is important to note that the interest will continue to accrue on the outstanding balance of the loan throughout the duration of the deferment.
COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster loans are offered at very affordable terms, with a 3.75% interest rate for small businesses and 2.75% interest rate for nonprofit organizations, a 30-year maturity. Interest continues to accrue during the deferment period and borrowers may make full or partial payments if they choose.
“The COVID-19 EIDL program has assisted over 3.7 million of small businesses, including non-profit organizations, sole proprietors and independent contractors, from a wide array of industries and business sectors, through this challenging time,” continued Perrillo.
In mid-February 2021, SBA reached a milestone in the success of the COVID-19 EIDL program, by approving over $200 billion in emergency funding in low-interest loans, providing working capital funds to small businesses, non-profits and agricultural businesses to survive the severe impacts of this catastrophic and historic period within the entire United States of America and its territories. SBA continues to approve over $500 million each week for the COVID-19 EIDL program.
Questions on SBA COVID-19 EIDL and disaster loan payments can be answered by email at DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov or by calling SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955
Updated February 1, 2021 - 2:38 p.m.
Shuttered Venue Operators Grant
- Live venue operators or promoters
- Theatrical producers
- Live performing arts organization operators
- Relevant museum operators, zoos and aquariums who meet specific criteria
- Motion picture theater operators
- Talent representatives, and
- Each business entity owned by an eligible entity that also meets the eligibility requirements
Updated August 12,, 2020 - 12:06 p.m.
Maine Arts Commission publishes results of Audience Outlook survey
AUGUSTA--The first deployment of Audience Outlook surveys from the Maine Arts Commission occurred on July 10 resulting in a total of 4,080 responses to date. The Audience Outlook survey is designed to measure audience comfort levels and assess the reopening of performing arts venues and public presentation spaces throughout Maine. Currently public gatherings and presentation spaces are open under the state issued guidelines administered by Governor Mills’ Office and the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention. These survey results represent a baseline, and the Arts Commission will track changes in attitudes as responses are collected in subsequent months.
- When asked what size venue audiences would feel comfortable in, more than half (51%) of respondents said they would “not be comfortable” attending a show, regardless of the venue size.
- When asked how the respondent would determine that it’s safe to return to a live presentation, the top response was “not until there is a vaccine or immunity to the virus.” This response was reinforced by another question in the survey asking if audiences would attend provided there are no outbreaks/hot spots in the area.
- Almost 60% of respondents said they would be “somewhat comfortable” attending an outdoor concert, but, conversely more than 80% said they would not be comfortable attending a venue without seats or adequate spacing.
Proposed Safety Measures
The Audience Outlook survey tested attitudes toward a list of safety measures that performing arts spaces can take to reduce the risk of virus transmission. Overall, respondents were most encouraged by lower crowd attendance and proper social distancing measures. The top safety measures as indicated by the respondents were:
- To be seated at least 6 feet from people who are not immediate family members
- To know that the venue has placed crowd size limits on the number of attendees
- To avoid long queues of people
- To know the venue’s cleaning procedures
- Almost 60% of respondents would be willing to pay a higher ticket price to be ensured they are safe.
- Almost 60% of respondents would return immediately to live performing events as soon as a vaccine is available. And another 50% would return within six months.
The survey’s findings represent the first wave of data sets recorded from Maine audiences. It is important to note the survey summary finds that Maine audiences do express a desire to return to live events. Implementing safety measures to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus at venues is regarded as important to the survey’s respondents, however, the safety measures remain secondary to having a vaccine readily available in order for venues to resume a normal schedule with full audience attendance.
The Maine Arts Commission remains dedicated to distributing the most up-to-date and relevant information that affects not only the several hundred dedicated community arts spaces spread across the state, but all spaces where the performing arts and public presentations take place.
Additional information and resources can be found at the Maine Arts Commission’s COVID-19 Resources Page.
The Jack Pine Project - Responding to Crisis Through Art
The current pandemic and shutdown has affected many aspects of our lives. Many groups have been directly affected, including health care workers, teachers, hospitality workers, and others. Parents are coping with childcare and home schooling on top of employment changes or lost income. And for vulnerable groups from the homeless to the elderly to the incarcerated, as well as those with chronic health conditions or who have contracted the coronavirus, the need to recover is real.
The creative arts offer a way to help by allowing people to express their feelings and tell their stories in multiple ways. Projects like Songwriting With Soldiers and the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop connect people in difficult, life-altering circumstances with professional teachers who help them express their feelings and ideas through the arts. The stories and songs created are powerful and authentic, and the effects on students and their teachers are remarkable and transformative.
The Jack Pine Project responds to the current crisis by connecting inspirational teachers in the arts with cohorts of students from around Maine. Through a series of workshops, Maine artists, musicians, writers and others will work with various groups to help them express their thoughts, feelings, concerns, and hopes for the future. The project is coordinated by the Maine Folklife Center at the University of Maine, with support from the university’s Hutchinson Center in Belfast.
The title of the project is drawn from the Jack pine, a species native to Maine that thrives in areas burnt by wildfire, needing the heat of fire to release its seeds. The image of a pine seedling emerging from burnt ground is emblematic of Maine’s reemergence from the COVID-19 pandemic, and the role of the arts in this process.
Call for Participants
We are seeking cohorts of students who would like to work with an instructor in a particular medium. Ideally, each cohort would consist of people in a similar occupation, circumstance, or location, all affected by the pandemic in some way. Individuals in a workshop can come from across the State of Maine, or be connected through a common workplace. These are non-credit workshops, and there is no cost to participants.
Students should be able to participate fully, meeting via Zoom or other technology with the instructor and fellow students for the duration of the workshop. They should also have adequate time to implement what they are learning, and to complete a final project of some sort. Students must also be willing to be recorded, with recordings made available to the public as part of the project (some activities may be exempt from this due to confidentiality or sensitivity of subjects).
At this time, some of the groups we are most interested in hearing from include:
• Workers in the health care industry, including home health care as well as institutions.
• First responders, especially those who deal with risk of infection from COVID-19.
• Vulnerable populations such as the elderly and those with chronic health problems.
• Eldercare workers and others who wish to coordinate workshops with residents.
• Teachers and others who are learning new approaches to education.
• Workers in hospitality and food service industries who may be recently unemployed.
• Those who work with the homeless and other marginalized groups.
• Recovering COVID-19 patients, their families, or family members of victims.
If you have an interest in organizing a group, please contact us using the information below. Whether you have a group already formed, or just an idea for one, we would be happy to discuss possibilities with you.
Call for Instructors
We are seeking short-term instructors to lead our workshops. Instructors should be experienced in their art form, and able to instruct and mentor 10-15 students in an online format, most likely using Zoom. The ideal instructor would understand the process of creation within their medium, and be able to help a wide range of students to express their feelings and concerns through this medium. An understanding of the therapeutic value of the arts would be helpful, although this can be based on experience and intuition as much as formal training.
The exact structure of individual workshops will be determined by project organizers in collaboration with instructors. They would typically involve several online meetings, taking students from initial ideas to a final project. As projects will eventually be shared with the public, they should meet student and instructor standards.
We would consider many possible subjects for workshops. These could include:
• Poetry, creative nonfiction, or short story writing. • Acting, dance and other performance arts.
• Songwriting, storytelling and spoken word. • Playwriting or screenwriting.
• Life history interviewing and autobiography. • Painting, drawing and other visual arts.
Courses should be recorded, and instructors and students will need to sign release forms that permit the University of Maine to use select portions of videos. Instructors should be comfortable on camera and with their own voice, and be able to help students become comfortable with this process as well.
Instructors will be contracted through the Division of Lifelong Learning at the University of Maine. Payment for a workshop would be between $500 and $1,000, depending on the number of sessions, number of students and other factors. Normal state and federal withholdings would apply. Payment of instructors must still go through a formal approval process, which could be delayed because of current University of Maine hiring policies affected by COVID-19.
If you are a potential instructor with artistic skills and teaching experience, and have an idea for a workshop or a group you would like to work with, please contact us. We would be happy to discuss your ideas.
The Jack Pine Project is coordinated by Kreg Ettenger, Director of the Maine Folklife Center. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 207-581-1840. You can also learn more by contacting the UMaine Hutchinson Center in Belfast, by phone at 207-338-8000 or by email at email@example.com.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________Updated May 28, 2020 - 2:10 p.m. Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application recently released by the SBA: SBA Loan Forgiveness Application (PPP). This is the form for businesses that received PPP funds to fill out to pursue loan forgiveness; it includes guidance about eligible costs and timeframes.______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Information Sessions with the Labor Department Regarding Expanded Unemployment Assistance (inc. Self-employed)
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is a new federal program that the Maine DOL is implementing that provides unemployment coverage for the self-employed and others not normally covered by state unemployment insurance.
The Department will begin accepting applications for this new unemployment program at 8 a.m. Friday, May 1.
DOL has scheduled four (4) ZOOM presentations over the next two days about the PUA program covering:
- Introduction to PUA
- Who is covered by PUA
- How is the Department reaching claimants
- The phases (1 and 2) of PUA implementation
- Questions & Answers
The sessions are listed HERE and each has a ZOOM link so that you can pick the session and use that link in order to attend. The PowerPoint and other information can be found here: www.maine.gov/unemployment/pua.
DISTRIBUTION OF CARES ACT FUNDS
A Message from the Maine Arts Commission
April 24, 2020
The Maine Arts Commission has been preparing for the impact of the COVID-19 crisis since early March. Already, $5.2 million has been reported in economic loss across Maine’s creative nonprofit sector. With the recent announcement of the $75 million dollars appropriated to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Arts Commission staff have been busy re-aligning their existing grant programs to provide relief to the arts sector as efficiently as possible. The Maine Arts Commission will receive $426,800 from the NEA through the CARES Act.
Here’s what you need to know:
CARES Act relief funds supports salaries, fees, and administration costs to the nonprofit arts sector in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Where is that money going?
- On March 15, the Maine Arts Commission promoted its Fiscal Year 21 Organizational Development Grant as funding support for organizations adjusting to the COVID-19 crisis. The grant deadline was also extended by one week to give applicants enough time to restructure their applications. This grant is the Arts Commission’s primary relief for arts organizations. The grant will be “fast-tracked” for early approval in May in order to get funds to the sector as quickly as possible. These grants will be in the amount of up to $5,000 each.
- Additionally, arts organizations that applied for and received a grant in the previous cycle (Fiscal Year 2020), will now be eligible to apply for funding for the maximum amount that was requested in their application. For example, if “Main Street Arts” applied for $5,000 through an organizational project grant and was awarded $3,000, Main Street Arts would now be eligible to request the remaining $2,000 for economic relief. Additionally, if “Arts & Company” applied for only $3,000 through an organizational project grant and was awarded $2,000, Arts & Company would now be eligible to request the remaining $1,000 for economic relief.
-Bicentennial Grant recipients are not included in this program and are not eligible for CARES Act funding.
- An additional $50,000 will be set aside for Maine Arts Commission salaries and wages, fringe benefits, and operating expenses to administer the CARES Act funds as permitted by the NEA.
*The Maine Arts Commission expects to process the first round of CARES Act funds for FY20 grantees by mid-May 2020.
Will there be future relief packages?
The quicker the arts and culture sector distributes CARES Act funds, the better positioned it will be to receive future allocations for economic relief. In anticipation of this, the Maine Arts Commission’s priority for the next few months will be laying the groundwork for a new grant program in order to administer future arts relief packages. The Arts Commission will keep the field updated with any news of additional relief funding should it become available.
What about Maine artists?
There are more than 22,000 artists and creative workers living in Maine who contribute to the state’s economy, and who, along with creative organizations, make up 2.5 percent of the state’s GDP. The Maine Arts Commission understands many artists have been hit hard by the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis. We continue to encourage artists to apply for the Maine Artist Relief Fund through ArtsEngageME – the Arts Commission’s 501c3 support organization. ArtsEngageME recently announced grants totaling $24,000 that have already been disbursed to Maine artists. In addition, the New England Foundation for the Arts has awarded ArtsEngageME $47,000 to enable further support to Maine artists in the coming weeks.
ArtsEngageME is also accepting donations. Donations to the Maine Artist Relief Fund are made through ArtEngageME's Annual Fund.
For general questions please contact Julie Richard, Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org or 207/287-2710 or Kerstin Gilg, Director of Grants and Accessibility, at email@example.com or 207/ 287-6719.
Updated April 15, 2020 -1:29 p.m.
IRS Extends May 15th 990 Filing Deadline
As reported in The Nonprofit Times, many tax-exempt organizations will have an extra two months to file their federal Form 990 because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had already extended the April 15 deadline for individual taxpayers and last week extended their ruling to cover individuals, trusts, estates corporations and others.
Organizations are required to file the Form 990 no later than 4½ months after the end of their fiscal year. For nonprofits that operate on a fiscal year ending December 31, that would normally mean filing their Form 990 by May 15 unless they file for an extension. Now, nonprofits will have until July 15 to file their 990 without having to file any extension.Read the IRS press release.
New National Artist/Creative Worker Relief Fund and Survey - American for the Arts
Americans for the Arts is deeply committed to supporting the arts across America. Today, a consortium of funders announced the creation of the Artist Relief Fund, a $10 million national emergency relief fund for artists and creative workers that will provide $5,000 no-strings-attached grants. It is intended for anyone who earns income from their creative or artistic practice and who has also been affected by COVID-19.
Americans for the Arts is proud to have been brought on as the research partner in that effort, and in that role was asked to develop and deploy the COVID-19 Impact Survey for Artists and Creative Workers, which is designed to capture financial and creative impact of COVID-19 on creative workers, highlight the resiliency and generosity of the creative sector, and make sure that the 5 million creative workers in the U.S. are supported and heard during this ongoing crisis and the eventual recovery. This new survey is a counterpart to our ongoing Economic Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Arts and Cultural Organizations survey, which over 11,000 organizations have completed to date.
In addition to ensuring creative workers can sustain their practice, our goal in collecting this data is to provide research that will support our Federal policy efforts in the next phase of stimulus and COVID-19 recovery; policies that are specific to individual creative workers.
National Endowment for the Arts Announces CARES Act Funding to Support Arts Jobs and Help Sustain Arts Organizations
Washington, DC— The National Endowment for the Arts announced today its guidelines to swiftly distribute funding to nonprofit arts organizations from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to preserve jobs and help support organizations forced to close operations due to the spread of COVID-19.
With the $75 million appropriated to the National Endowment for the Arts through the CARES Act, the Arts Endowment will award 40 percent of the funds directly to state and regional arts agencies by April 30th to distribute through their funding programs. Sixty percent of the funds are designated for direct grants to nonprofit arts organizations all across the United States and will be announced by June 30th.
“The National Endowment for the Arts is thankful to the President and members of Congress for recognizing the cultural and economic contribution to America made by the 5,100,000 men and women employed in the arts sector across the United States. In an effort to provide funding to save as many jobs as possible, as quickly as possible, these time frames are faster than the schedule used in 2009 to distribute relief funds. I am proud of the professionalism and organizational excellence demonstrated by our tireless staff and look forward to doing all that we can to help save jobs in the arts sector and keep the doors open to the thousands of organizations that add value to America’s economy and the creative life of our communities,” said Mary Anne Carter, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.
More than 3,700 organizations that have received National Endowment for the Arts awards in the past four years are eligible to apply for a direct grant. Funds can be used for staff salary support, fees for artists or contractual personnel, and facilities costs. The direct grants will not require a cost share or match and will be for a fixed amount of $50,000. Designated local arts agencies eligible to subgrant may request $100,000 or $250,000 for subgranting programs. The deadline to apply is April 22, 2020 with the earliest announcement of grant award or rejection by June, 30. Please see the Arts Endowment’s website for program description, eligibility requirements, application review, and FAQs.
As with all of the Arts Endowment’s direct grants, applications will be reviewed by panels convened by the Arts Endowment and judged on artistic excellence and merit, which includes the potential to have a significant and immediate impact on the arts workforce and the organization’s ability to carry out an award.
Media should direct any questions and/or requests for interviews to firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information on the National Endowment for the Arts’ COVID-19 response can be found at arts.gov, including FAQs for applicants and grantees and links to government resources and nationwide resources for artists and arts organizations. In addition, Chairman Carter has started a weekly podcast, Chairman’s Corner, which is available to stream and download at arts.gov.
Updated March 27, 2020 - 3:34 p.m.
SBA Disaster Loans and Emergency Grants, Artist’s Edition: What You Need to Know
Do artists qualify for the SBA disaster loan and $10,000 Emergency Grant? More importantly, should artists apply? The short answer is YES, and here’s some stuff you should know. Note: this is based on research on 3/27/2020. Check the SBA.gov and the CARES Act for the most up-to-date information.
Here’s what you need to know about the DISASTER LOAN:
- The Small Business Administration Disaster Loan is a 3.75% loan for businesses, nonprofits, renters, and homeowners impacted by COVID-19 qualify to apply. The loan interest rate is $2.75% for nonprofits.
- You may qualify for loan forgiveness for expenses incurred in the first 8 weeks of receiving the loan if you use the funds for payroll, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. Loan forgiveness means you don’t have to pay it back, but it should not be confused with a grant.
- That means any part of the SBA loan not used for payroll, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities does not qualify for loan forgiveness. Read a summary about the terms here.
Here’s what you need to know about the EMERGENCY GRANT:
- I searched for a while, and the Emergency Grant isn’t mentioned anywhere on SBA.gov. BUT, it is in the 880-page CARES Act that Congress voted on and Trump signed on Friday, March 27th.
- Pages 66-69 of the CARES Act outline the eligibility requirements for up to a $10,000 Emergency EIDL Grant. Businesses, nonprofits, and sole proprietorships with 0 to 500 employees qualify for the emergency grant of up to $10,000 per applicant. The total Emergency fund is $10 billion and SBA must distribute these emergency grants within 3 days of receiving an application. In other words, if you’re an artist with an LLC or sole proprietorship, you qualify. The grants will be awarded within 3 days of your application, so the sooner you apply, the better.
- In order to potentially qualify for the grant, you need to apply for the SBA Loan. There is not a separate process for applying for the grant, and there is no guarantee that by applying for the loan you will receive the emergency grant. But here’s the cool thing: even if you don’t get the loan, you could still get the grant.
- The SBA loan application requires you to submit several documents, and the Business Loan application has a checklist on page 3 of what you need. Note that the SBA’s link for IRS Form 4056-T is broken, so get it directly from IRS.gov. The information the SBA asking for on each form is pretty basic, but the forms can get confusing quickly. Use your last tax return for reference when filling out the forms. The better records you have of your business expenses and debts, the easier this will be.
What if you get the loan but not the grant? Most independent artists are going to be either sole proprietors or the owners of LLCs. So here’s the catch for sole proprietors and LLCs when using the SBA Disaster Loan:
- Again, the Disaster Loan can be used for payroll, interest payments on mortgages, rent, and utilities.
- As a sole proprietor or the owner of an LLC, you are not considered an employee. You are self-employed and therefore not on payroll. If you have an LLC, you are classified as the owner, not an employee, which means you get paid by making draws out of the company’s profits, not on salary.
- This means that most artists will not be able to get loan forgiveness if they pay themselves using the loan, even if it matches what they pay themselves normally. They only qualify for loan forgiveness for interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.
- Getting help with your interest payments on mortgages, rent, and utilities is great, even if you can’t pay yourself. However, this isn’t the same as a grant. Loan forgiveness only applies to expenses over the first 8-week period from when you receive the loan. That means in order to get $10,000 of loan forgiveness, you need to be spending $5,000 a month on mortgage interest, rent, and utilities, which most artists are not. Realistically for most artists (e.g. freelancing visual artists, musicians, performers), this will be a $2,500-$5,000 loan forgiveness and a $5,000-$7,500 loan you have to pay back depending on how high your forgivable expenses are.
Final Assessment: Should Artists Apply?
Yes. There’s no guarantee you’ll get the Emergency Grant, but the only way you find out is by applying for the loan. If you get the loan, treat it like you would a credit card. This is a 3.75% loan, which is very low, and you have the rest of the year to pay it off. If you don’t pay it off right away then it carries a maximum 4% interest rate beyond this year. The better job you’ve done of keeping track of your expenses, the less stressful this application will be.
If you get the loan, be cognizant that if you’re a sole proprietor or you own an LLC you can’t pay yourself with this money, so be mindful of that when using the funds. Treat it like a credit card that earns you points and be prepared to pay some or most of it back.
- Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Final Document as of 3/27/2020
- US Small Business Administration (SBA.gov)
- SBA Loan Application
- What Businesses and Lenders Need to Know About the CARES Act, by Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner Law
- New $2 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Bill: What It Means for You and Your Business, by KJK Attorneys
Updated March 27, 2020 - 9:28 a.m.
SBA DISASTER ASSISTANCE IN RESPONSE TO CORONAVIRUS
Small Business Administration (SBA) loans are the first line of defense in helping cultural organizations (and really all businesses) survive COVID-19. The federal government has put together $350 billion to keep Americans employed and businesses alive during this pandemic.
While our cultural impact survey indicates that our members prefer grants over loans, we recommend you start with SBA loans first and put in an application if your organization is danger of cutting staff or salaries.
- Size of loans: Up to $10 million per loan is available. Amount is likely to be based on average monthly payroll cost over the past year multiplied by 2.5.
- Who can apply: businesses below 500 employees including nonprofits, sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals (like individual artists)
- Permitted uses: cover payroll costs, utilities, mortgage/rent, and other operations
- Forgiveness: The principal (so minus interest) on the loans can be forgiven if used for the permitted purposes. See below for formulas related to forgiveness.
- Rates: 3.75% for most; 2.75% for nonprofits
- Which types of loan are forgivable: we believe forgivability applies to both 7(a) and disaster loans. Stay tuned.
- When to apply: Approval takes 3-5 weeks. If you are desperately short on cash now put in an application ASAP. If you can wait until next week when UCA has more information, then wait. Various UT cities and counties have quick funding (most in the form of SBA loans) available now.
Forgiveness: Principal of loan is forgivable based on the two calculations below (subject to change):
The idea is to help small businesses retain workers while the economy largely shuts down to fight the spread of the COVID-19 disease. That would allow companies to reopen quickly once the contagion countermeasures are lifted, while keeping employees financially stable. If a firm cuts workers or reduces their pay, the amount forgivable would be reduced proportionately.
- Employee Count Ratio. Forgivable amount = (Principal) x (Average employees per month during the eight weeks following the loan date) / [(Average employees per month from Feb. 15, 2019 to June 30, 2019) OR (Average employees per month from Jan. 1, 2020 to Feb. 29, 2020)]
- Intent of legislation is to preserve jobs so loan will only be forgiven if company is keeping employees.
- Denominator is at election of recipient so they can choose whichever average results in a higher ratio.
- Salary Reduction. Forgivable amount decrease = (Amount salaries for employees earning less than $100K is reduced during the eight-week period after the loan) – (25% of those employees’ salaries during the prior quarter).
- In sum, salary reductions in excess of 25% will decrease the forgivable amount.
- Closing the loophole of companies keeping headcount high but cutting salaries.
Forgiven debt is usually treated as income for tax purposes, but that would likely not apply to loans under this program, thereby keeping participating companies from being saddled with a larger tax bill next year.
The CARE Act would waive most of the SBA’s usual paperwork requirements and other prerequisites to speed the money into entrepreneurs’ hands. Borrowers making a good-faith statement are presumed eligible for the loans, which are limited to companies that have seen their business dry up or stop completely due to COVID-19.
Most of the paperwork would come at the end: Companies would need to prove they actually needed the loans and used them as intended when they apply for debt forgiveness.
Updated March 26, 2020 - 11:00 a.m.
Senate Stimulus Package Includes Emergency Relief for Nonprofit Cultural Organizations
Thank you for responding to our Action Alerts over the last week and for sending thousands of messages to Congress with stories of how the arts have been impacted in your communities. Your voices were heard! Here are some top line items that will support the nonprofit arts and humanities industry that were included in the Senate Stimulus bill. Look for a more detailed legislative update from Americans for the Arts and the Arts Action Fund jointly tomorrow.
- $75 million for the National Endowment for the Arts to quickly award "general operating grants with no match requirements" to nonprofit and governmental arts agencies across the country, with 40% going to state arts agencies for regranting in their states.
- $75 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities (similar directives as NEA).
- $75 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
- $50 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
- $25 million for the Kennedy Center, which President Trump did a good job of defending during his nightly press conference tonight.
Remember, nothing is final until the same version of the bill passes in both chambers and is signed into law by the President, which is likely to happen by the end of this week. There are many more grant and loan opportunities for nonprofits and individual artists in different parts of the bill such as the Small Business Administration, Community Development Block Grants, and the Economic Development Administration. More details to come soon.
Updated March 23, 2020 - 5:33 p.m.
COVID-19 Arts Federal Policy Update - Americans for the Arts
Negotiations are ongoing in the Senate on what is being called "Phase Three" of the COVID-19 response relief package. As you unfortunately know, the coronavirus has already had a devastating economic impact on America’s nonprofit arts sector—financial losses to date are estimated to be $3.6 billion.
The U.S. Senate legislation under consideration today has several items we've been asking for—your advocacy has been working! For example, there is some funding for the NEA, but it's not enough. Self-employed artists, creative workers, and nonprofits appear to be included in the Paycheck Protection and Small Business Administration disaster loan provisions, but we need to ensure they are included in the final bill version. More advocacy is needed.
In order to support the sector at this vital time, request that your members of Congress include the following in the current legislative package currently being negotiated:
- Support $4 billion in COVID-19 relief funding to be administered by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services—House Arts Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and House STEAM Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) led a letter to House Leadership with this ask, Senate Cultural Caucus Co-Chair Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) did the same in the Senate. Waive matching requirements and general operating support reprogramming for FY2020 grantees, as well as for COVID-19-specific grantmaking;
- Encourage charitable giving by increasing the allowable amount of the proposed $300 above-the-line tax deduction available to taxpayers that do not itemize their returns, and removing AGI limits on allowed deductions for charitable giving;
- Ensure that proposed forgivable SBA disaster relief loans support all arts and culture workers by: specifying that access to forgivable loans is available for self-employed workers, increasing the employer eligibility threshold by applying the 500 employee cap to fulltime employees, and eliminating the employer size cap for nonprofit organizations;
- Support pandemic unemployment benefits for workers ineligible for state unemployment benefits, which will provide essential support for self-employed workers in the arts and culture sector; and
- Ensure arts eligibility for additional forms of disaster relief, such as Community Development Block Grants, education and lifelong learning programs, and health and wellness initiatives.
In a national survey by Americans for the Arts, 91% of responding arts organizations indicated that they have cancelled one or more events. Many arts organizations have closed their doors for months to come. These estimates are based on more than 5,000 respondents to an Americans for the Arts nationwide COVID-19 impact survey, and then further extrapolation of those data nationally using IRS data about nonprofit arts and cultural organizations. The most recent figures show economic losses of $3.6 billion to date, up from $3.2 billion last week. The survey is ongoing, and these figures will be updated regularly. Given that losses documented in the survey have occurred only in the last two months, Americans for the Arts anticipates additional billions in potential revenue losses for the nonprofit arts and culture field.
Maine Arts Commission Grant Deadlines Extended to April 2020
The Maine Arts Commission is working with local, state, and federal officials in the effort to navigate the COVID-19 health emergency. Due to the uncertainty of the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, we are extending the upcoming grant deadlines by one into April of 2020. The new dates have been updated in the graphic below:
We are working on ways to assist you sooner rather than later. In the meantime we encourage you to stay up to date with our latest news and developments through our website's Arts Resources Page, our e-newsletter, and social media posts. If you are not currently a subscriber to our e-newsletter and email alerts, you can sign up here.
Updated March 18, 2020 -3:35 p.m.
Like all of you, the leadership of the Maine Arts Commission has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 public health situation. We have been in touch with many of our partnership organizations and constituents, and we have also consulted with the national network of arts agencies. In recent days we have been actively working with policy makers. It is our priority to keep you notified of the latest developments of how Maine’s arts and culture sector will be affected.
There are several issues around the virus that are circulating nationally among arts advocacy organizations and policy makers. One is gathering data from the arts field to determine the economic impact on the arts and culture communities. Another is making sure our sector is at the table when stimulus packages are rolled out. This will likely have a major impact on Maine.
For the many fine arts venues and establishments across the state, in the short term, we encourage ticket holders to please consider donating the cost of the ticket to an organization that has had to cancel a performance or temporarily shut their doors. This will help offset the inevitable losses that many Mainers will endure. For the individual artist, it is our hope that during these moments of uncertainty that one might choose to embrace that creative spark and continue to be inspired to make masterpieces and award-winning work.
For more information, there are additional resources that are provided to us through Americans for the Arts. There is also an online Response and Resource Center which will be updated on a daily basis. In response to numerous inquiries, AFTA has launched a brief survey to gather data and stories from around the country on the economic impact on the national arts and culture industry. Your involvement will provide a strong foundation as we work to promote the inclusion of the arts and culture sector in stimulus package options and other Federal relief measures.
The Maine Arts Commission is here to support all who may be affected in the coming weeks. Please reach out with any questions, concerns, and suggestions. We are here for you. Be well and keep safe.
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Kerstin Gilg193 State Street
Augusta ME 04333