COVID-19 relief options and additional resources

Success Stories

Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts is a nonprofit arts organization based in Holyoke MA.  Started in 1994 – MIFA produces, presents and sponsors performing arts programs in collaboration with communities in Western Massachusetts.

Executive Artistic Director Don Sanders leads MIFA, which has been a catalyst in providing an outlet to young people interested getting involved in the arts.

MIFA’s Education Program introduces students to major arts events and disciplines. Students participate in performances, workshops, masterclasses; and are given an opportunity to interact with major international artists and arts companies.
  MIFA’s Vocational Program is a collaboration with Holyoke regional schools and the International Association of Technical and Stage Employees (IATSE Local 53) with the goal to train secondary and college-age students for highly skilled jobs in the Entertainment and Media Industries.

All MIFA programming supports the... Read More

Northampton’s historic Academy of Music theatre has been offering a platform for local, regional, and national performing artists for over a century.  The beloved venue is a place where communities in Western Massachusetts gather for music, plays, dance, and films.

Prior to COVID, the Academy offered over 140 performances annually; This year, booked performances barely broke 100 – nearly a 50% reduction in activity.

The Academy struggled with keeping staff on payroll as public venues were not allowed to stay open for business – having to lay off 9 employees, while reducing time to 2 hours per week for 3 other full-time staff. Executive Director Debra J’Anthony was the sole full-time employee moving forward for almost a year and a half.


Surviving layoffs and preparing for reopening|
After getting through necessary layoffs, the Academy continued operating off cash reserves and grant funds.  J’Anthony during this downtime shifted focus onto capital... Read More

By Norman Eng, Public Affairs Specialist


Cappella Clausura is a professional vocal ensemble based in Newton/Boston founded by Amelia LeClair, with the mission to highlight music of female composers from the 9th century to present-day. The group has brought together singers and players from the Greater Boston area for the past 16 years, keeping the name “Clausura (Cloister)” as a metaphor for the cultural obstacles faced by women composers throughout history.

Paycheck Protection Program plugs a setback
When COVID hit, it caused a major setback to their organizational progress made through the years.  Cappella Clausura has been run by a volunteer director up until 2016, when a half-time business manager was added.  That position later grew to their first-ever, full-time Executive Director in August of 2019 – a positive sign that the company was growing.

No live concerts planned; Cappella Clausura simply could not justify keeping on any staff,... Read More

By Norman Eng, Public Affairs Specalist


Dave Rattigan started Scamps Comedy Productions, Inc. over 15 years ago as a small business he could run out of his home.

He produced shows and contracted talent for events; the business also provided lights, sound, staging, and marketing services for partners.   Over the course of a year, Scamps Comedy would contract with roughly 80 freelancers, mostly comedians to put on shows at theaters and for charity events – with the goal to make you laugh!

As March was always a busy time of year, Rattigan remembered the pre-pandemic weekend of 2020 when he worked two great shows on Friday and Saturday.  

“The crowd for the first show was more than 300 and the crowd for the second 170, both sellouts,” recalls Dave.  “The next weekend, four of my five shows were cancelled and the one that wasn’t only drew 35 patrons.”


Entertainment industry hit hard
When the world shut down, the entertainment... Read More