MSAC COVID-19 State of Emergency Statement & Resources

Updated July 8, 2020

Information Updated July 8, 2020

The COVID-19 state of emergency has resulted in lost income across the creative sector. MSAC has responded immediately by convening constituents to assess the most urgent needs, passing measures to ease the burden on organizations and artists during this challenging time, and compiling lists of state and national resources below. See here for a list of actions being taken.


Professional Development 

MSAC will be holding the space for a variety of professional development offerings in the coming weeks, based on your feedback. Offerings include Emergency Relief Resources and a Self-Care 4-week series. See here for the full schedule and updates.

Virtual Content List

MSAC has compiled a list of Maryland-based virtual events & content.

Adding your work to an online gallery? Hosting a livestream? Offering an online class? Add it to the list by submitting information to

MSAC Grants

Recognizing that the extraordinary demand for State and Federal resources is resulting in application delays and increased wait times for responses, the Council and the Secretary of Commerce have approved changes to MSAC’s Emergency Grant program. The program now requires applicants to estimate anticipated funding from State and Federal sources but does not require proof of application. More information on the MSAC Emergency Grants here.

MSAC is not accepting new applications for its regular grant programs for FY20 funding until further notice, including the Creativity Grant, Professional Development, and Public Art Across Maryland programs. Program pages have been updated with grant-specific changes implemented in response to COVID-19. See links below.

Maryland Touring Grant

Arts and Entertainment District Technical Assistance Grant

Public Art Across Maryland Grant

Folklife (Folklife Network and Folklife Apprenticeship)

Arts in Education Grants

Creativity Grants

Professional Development Opportunity Grants

Community/County Arts Development Grants

Reopening Resources

As the state reopens, the arts sector is urged to adhere to best practices that ensure the safety of employees, participants, and patrons alike. Through our collective efforts, Maryland’s arts community will play a critical role in protecting our citizens and preventing another surge of COVID-19 infections. 

MSAC encourages the arts sector to follow best practices shared by the Department of Commerce. 

Safety Best Practices

Below are recommendations on which best practices documents at the link above may apply to various arts venues. 

  • All 

    • General

    • FAQs Regarding Community, Recreational, Leisure, Cultural and Sporting Gatherings and Events (under Getting Back to Business: Maryland’s Approach)

    • FAQs Regarding Face Coverings (under Safety Best Practices)

  • Galleries  

    • Retail

  • Museums

    • Entertainment and Recreational Attractions

    • Retail, Restaurants and Bars (as applicable)

    • Professional Services (for office space)

  • Performance Venues 

    • Entertainment and Recreational Attractions

    • Retail, Restaurants and Bars (as applicable)

    • Gyms, Martial Arts and Dance Studios (for rehearsal spaces)

    • Professional Services (for office space)

  • Dance/Performance Studios and Rehearsal Spaces, Community Centers

    • Gyms, Martial Arts and Dance Studios 

  • Creative Co-Working Spaces

    • Professional Services

    • Retail, Restaurants and Bars (as applicable)

  • Arts Retail Businesses

    • Retail

  • Sculpture Gardens

    • Entertainment and Recreational Attractions

  • Gallery Walks

    • Entertainment and Recreational Attractions

    • Retail

    • Retail and Restaurants (as applicable)

Americans for the Arts’ Surveys

MSAC continues to urge all members of the Maryland Arts Sector to complete and continue to update Americans for the Arts’ surveys on the economic impact of COVID-19: 

Organizations, complete this survey:

Artists and Creative Workers, complete this survey: 

MSAC will distribute an additional Maryland-specific survey at a later date and will request an immediate response at that time.

Artist Registry

MSAC encourages Maryland artists to update or create Artist Registry profiles on and opt into the Marketplace so MSAC can promote their work for sale. MSAC continues to update its Artist Resource Bulletin with opportunities for Maryland artists.

Small Business Administration Relief Resources

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers multiple resources to businesses impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency, including the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program and the Paycheck Projection Program (PPP). The PPP covers organizations’ payroll costs through forgivable loans. Deadlines for PPP loans have been extended to Aug. 8, 2020. Many arts sector organizations are eligible for relief through the programs above. To learn more, click the links below.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

On March 27, 2020, the federal government instituted a $2 trillion stimulus package with provisions for increasing access to Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits through a program called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). The PUA program offers benefits to many working in the creative sector. 

In Maryland, the PUA program is administered through the Maryland Department of Labor. Other UI benefits are also being administered through the Maryland Department of Labor, including increased weekly payments, additional online application resources, and the extension of the duration of UI benefits. See the Department of Labor’s April 17 press release for full details.

The following resources provide an overview and action plan for those interested in the PUA and other UI benefits programs.

BEACON One-Stop Video Tutorials

April 17 Press release describing next steps for PUA and other UI benefits programs, published by the Maryland Department of Labor

Guidance on preparing for PUA, published by the Maryland Department of Labor

PUA overview for self-employed artists and cultural workers, published by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies

Contact information for Maryland UI Claim Centers, published by the Maryland Department of Labor

Stimulus package overview, including details on UI benefits, published by the National Employment Law Project

Process map for claiming UI benefits, published by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

As entrepreneurs and small businesses for the arts sector, please visit It is a portal that is consistently updated with all information as it is received. Additionally, please use to ask specific business-related questions.

Artist Relief Grants

National 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.

Baltimore County Individual Artist Grants - funded by Baltimore County Government, Arts and Sciences Individual Grants will stabilize local artists affected by the COVID-19 pandemic with $1,000 grants available on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are depleted. Priority will be given to artists making $37,500 or less per year. Application opens May 11, 2020 at 9 am.

Frederick Artist Relief Fund - established by the Frederick Arts Council to award grants of $250-$500 to individual artists who live in Frederick County and whose creative practices and incomes are being adversely impacted by COVID-19.

Harford County COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Fund - established by the Harford County Cultural Arts Board to assist artists negatively affected by COVID-19 with grants of up to $1000 per person.

Howard County Artist Relief Grants - established by the Howard County Arts Council to assist artists through small, expedited grants of up to $250.

Kent County Independent Artist Relief Fund - established by the Kent Cultural Alliance to provide support for independent artists whose primary source of income is their art form, and who have seen income drop as a result of the State of Emergency with 15 $300 grants.

Prince George’s Artist Community Emergency Relief Fund - established by the Prince George’s County Arts and Humanities Council to sustain the county's arts small businesses, arts non-profits and creative professionals with grants of up to $1,000. Grants will be given based on the availability of funds.

Resource List

See below for additional resource lists, FAQ’s, and information that are being compiled by various organizations. This information is believed to be accurate but is not guaranteed. The state of Maryland disclaims liability for any errors or omissions.

A State-by-State Resource Guide for Music Professionals Who Need Help During Coronavirus Crisis (Updating)

Americans for the Arts Resource and Response Center

Anti-Racism Resources

Arts Action Fund table of CARES Act information

ArtsReady Information During the Impact of the Coronavirus

ArtsReady Webinar and Resource lists

ArtsU webinars related to COVID-19

Capacity Interactive Livestream Bootcamp

Cares Act Relief Resources FAQ

Common Field’s Resources for the Artist Organization Field

Coronavirus Resource and Response Center

COVID-19 Federal Relief Funds for the Arts 101 Series

Creative Capital Artist Resources

Freelance Artist Resources (compiled through global submissions)

Grantmakers in the Arts Funding

Impact Hub Baltimore Live Resource Listing

Informed Immigrant: Resources for Immigrants during the coronavirus crisis

Key Components of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act Applicable to Employers

Maryland Citizen for the Arts Artist Emergency Resources

Maryland Philanthropy Network COVID-19 Outbreak Resources

Maryland Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts Topics for Artists, Entrepreneurs, and Organizations

National Coalition for Arts' Preparedness & Response

National Endowment for the Arts FAQ’s

National Performance Network Resources

Online Arts Learning Resources

Performing Arts Readiness

The NDN COVID-19 Response Project

Weinberg Foundation Emergency Grants (Phase 1) in Response to Covid-19 Health Crisis


Maryland Government Resources

Maryland Department of Health

Maryland Department of Labor Financial Relief Guide

Maryland Public School System Guidelines

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

FAQ’s for Maryland Businesses Planning and Responding to the Coronavirus