Arts Indicators for an Equitable Recovery

Capitol Theater photo via Tim Pierce, Wikimedia CC BY 3.0
Capitol Theater photo via Tim Pierce, Wikimedia CC BY 3.0
Arts Indicators for an Equitable Recovery

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Local Arts Indicators For An Equitable Recovery in the Region

Recommendations published February 2022

To help municipalities chart a path to response and recovery for local arts and cultural organizations, MAPC is working with four communities to document the impact of COVID-19 on:

  • artists, arts and culture organizations, and creative enterprises
  • events, programming, and activities that make arts and culture a foundation of civic life and social cohesion

MAPC is working with Arlington, Boston, Beverly, and Franklin to identify and amplify response strategies in their local arts and culture communities. Through the course of this project, we will collect data to measure the impact of COVID-19 and use that baseline data to establish metrics and tools to regularly assess the municipalities' arts and culture sectors.


Email Annis Sengupta at

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Municipal Arts and Culture Indicators Data (2016-2020)

MAPC aggregated data from a variety of sources to provide a snapshot of arts and culture in Massachusetts municipalities to track Covid impacts and recovery. Data provided in this Airtable are organized by tab in the following categories:

  • Context – demographics
  • Covid context – cases, vaccinations, revenue and wage loss
  • Strategy – municipal strategies to support arts and culture – funding, planning and policy
  • Access – opportunities to access arts and culture through public art and events as well as indicators of engagement and inclusion
  • Production – artists and organizations producing arts and culture
  • Financial impact – tax revenues, wages, and employment
Screenshot of REVIVE Arts Indicators database.

For More Information:
Please see our Indicators Data guidance document and the presentation given to Arlington, Beverly, Franklin, and Boston in May 2022.

Recommendations for an Equitable Arts and Culture Recovery

Across Arlington, Beverly, Boston, and Franklin, we heard similar concerns around keeping the arts sector active and artists employed  while also addressing cultural equity. Our recommendations are  grouped into categories and address both immediate needs and long-term recovery.

Our recommendations center around six topics:

  • Providing culturally-inclusive access
  • Fostering partnerships to increase capacity
  • Transparent and efficient permitting
  • Building municipal support capacity
  • Improving access to public outdoor venues
  • Clear and consistent public health protocols


June 8, 2021

Staff from Franklin, Boston, Beverly, and Arlington discuss a path to response and recovery for artists and arts organizations. Watch for preliminary findings of our regional survey and a discussion on how to provide more outdoor cultural programming as a safe COVID-19 strategy.


Across the region, arts and culture has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. As communities struggle to contain the virus and meet basic community needs, the arts have become a path to hope and recovery. At the same time, artists and arts and cultural organizations themselves have experienced devastating losses of income and revenue and face an uncertain future.  

This project will quantify and document the current arts and culture economy and available programming in our partner cities and towns. This data, along with response strategies, will help arts organizations, municipalities, state agencies, and nonprofits recognize and respond to the the impact of COVID-19 on artists, arts organizations, and the local creative economy.

Impact on Local Artists

Over 600 artists and creative workers from Arlington, Beverly, Boston, and Franklin took our survey on how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted them.

We've compiled some of the results:

Artists are working from home with limited access to creative space.

59% of participants are working from home.

70% of participants have limited access to their creative space.

Artists are isolated, but finding more time for creative practice.

78% report that isolation and social distancing are having an impact on their practice and 41% report increased time for creative practice​.

However, some have lost most of their income from that practice

8% lost 85% or more of their creative income.

28% rely only on income from their creative practice.

Loss of income is putting some artists in crisis even as needs are increasing

6% of participants are unable to provide basic needs for their family.

29% of participants have increased responsibilities caring for dependents.

As artists work to shift their practice, they are looking for support.

23% are shifting their creative practice to outdoor spaces.

49% would like more opportunities to take their creative practices outdoors.


Technology has become an important tool for artists.

45% are moving their creative practice to virtual platforms.

55% are using technology for collaborations and to connect.

Artists would like to see more support from their municipalities

Only 16% of participants think their community is doing a good job supporting artists and creatives

What Artists are Saying

We need to develop basic guidelines for outdoor events that act to empower people to pursue outdoor performances rather than creating barriers. Having templates that can be used rather than making everyone create a plan themselves would help. 
– Survey Respondent

What Artists are Saying

We probably need to re-imagine many things. How much it cost to be a creative and own your own business and how much space cost. Also, how much our non-tech, non-biotech, non medical, non financial services contributions are valued in MA. We seem to want arts and culture but no one wants to actually pay for that.
 – Survey Respondent

Our Partners

Town of Arlington


City of Beverly


City of Boston


Town of Franklin