Table of Contents
11/19/2020 COVID-19 Safety Update to AGMA Members
Please read the latest AGMA update on COVID-19 safety here.
10/21/2020 AGMA Responds to Lyric Opera of Chicago Announcement
Following Lyric Opera of Chicago's announcement on the cancelation of its season, AGMA sent the following email to AGMA Artists of Lyric Opera of Chicago.
10/9/2020 Version 3 of the AGMA/SDC Return to Stage and Performing Arts Playbook
American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) and Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC) have released the third version of the AGMA/SDC Return to Stage and Performing Arts Playbook
9/30/2020 Final AGMA/SDC Safety Webinar
If you missed the final installment of the AGMA/SDC webinar series, "COVID-19: A Collective Response," you can now watch the recording! On September 23, we presented "Return to Work Safely: Your Rights and Responsibilities."
To access the webinar, you must log into MyAGMA. From the MyAGMA dropdown menu, select: COVID-19: A Collective Response (webinar series)
9/25/2020 Artist Relief Grants Extended Through December
Creative professionals can receive $5,000 grants through the end of the year, thanks to additional funding by the Mellon Foundation and others. Apply or learn more.
9/16/2020 AGMA Delegate Appreciation Day
AGMA has instituted this new day to show our gratitude to our AGMA delegates, Committee Members, and other Artist Representatives who, year in and year out, do amazing work. This is especially true right now, during these stressful and uncertain days amid the pandemic. Watch video.
9/15/2020 Regarding Safety at Non-AGMA Companies
As you know, AGMA places no restriction on our members working non-union jobs. We understand that performing opportunities are extraordinarily scarce right now and that every job counts. t is our understanding that some AGMA members have been asked to sign waivers at non-AGMA companies. To be clear, these waivers are intended to protect the companies—not you, the Artists—in the event someone contracts COVID-19 at work. Please be aware that at this point AGMA advises its members not to sign COVID-19 waivers. However, should you move forward and sign a waiver in order to accept a non-union contract, we strongly recommend that you familiarize yourself with the COVID-19 safety guidelines in place, utilize the AGMA/SDC Playbook to help evaluate those guidelines, and make sure you are comfortable and feel protected. Continue reading.
9/11/2020 Government Assistance Programs
Here is a list of government assistance programs. Based on eligibility, these government assistance programs are available to complement what The Actors Fund and AGMA are able to provide.
9/9/2020 Upcoming COVID-19 AGMA/SDC Safety Webinars
Registration is still open for two upcoming "COVID-19: A Collective Response" webinars addressing the safe return to work for AGMA and SDC members. As a reminder, our team of medical experts are present at all webinars.
Wednesday, September 16, 4:00 p.m. EDT"Returning to Work Safely: Directors, Choreographers, Dance Masters, Associates, & Stage Managers." Register Here
Wednesday, September 23, 4:00 p.m. EDT"Returning to Work Safely: Your Rights and Responsibilities." Register Here
9/7/2020 Solidarity Forever Video
AGMA is honored to share this performance of Solidarity Forever (AGMA 2020 Version) featuring AGMA members of The Metropolitan Opera including Nathaniel Hunt, Ashley Emerson, Sarah Larsen, Christopher Job, and members of the Met Opera Chorus. Watch Performance.
9/3/2020 Regarding Columbia Artists Management Inc.
AGMA is aware that Columbia Artists Management Inc. ("CAMI"), one of the leading agencies representing classical music performers, recently announced that it is disbanding. Continue reading.
8/26/2020 AGMA/SDC Return to Stage and Performing Arts Playbook now available to download
The AGMA/SDC Return to Stage and Performing Arts Playbook helps to address the unique challenges of singing, dancing, stage managing, choreographing, and directing by outlining the layers of protection necessary to mitigate risks. View here.
8/12/2020 Miami-Dade Artists Support Program
The Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs is activating round two of the Miami-Dade Artists Support! (MAS!) Program, specifically for Artists. The program will provide up to $500 per Artist to those who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.
8/11/2020 AGMA/SDC Return to Stage and Performing Arts Playbook
For information on how to access this playbook visit here.
8/7/2020 AGMA and SDC Announce Upcoming COVID-19 Safety Webinars
AGMA and SDC are presenting "COVID-19: A Collective Response", a series of webinars addressing the safe return to work for our members. To review the dates and topics of our upcoming webinars that will address issues unique to specific disciplines, click here.
8/2/2020 Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
In response to the concern about the rising number of suicides and the prevalence of alcohol/substance misuse within the entertainment industry, Behind the Scenes and other individuals and organizations have come together to create this initiative. Read more.
7/21/2020 AGMA Letter to Companies Regarding Reopening and Safety
On Tuesday, July 21, 2020, AGMA sent the following memo to its signatory companies: continue reading.
7/21/2020 Rent Relief Programs by State
States are announcing rent relief programs to assist individuals and families impacted by COVID-19. Visit this site to find your state.
7/16/2020 NY Traditional Unemployment Payments Extended to 59 Weeks
Just announced. UNFORTUNATELY - Artists receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (not "traditional" UI) are NOT currently eligible for the extension but are eligible for up to 46 wks of benefits, according to this fact sheet.
7/16/2020 New York State COVID Rent Relief Program
The application is open to New Yorkers starting today.
The COVID Rent Relief Program will provide eligible households with a one-time rental subsidy that will be sent directly to the household’s landlord. Applicants will not need to repay this assistance. The COVID Rent Relief Program is not first-come, first-served. Applications will be accepted throughout the two-week application period. HCR will prioritize eligible households with “greatest economic and social need” accounting for income, rent burden, percent of income lost, and risk of homelessness.
The rental assistance payment will cover the difference between the household’s rent burden on March 1, 2020, and the increase in rent burden for the months the households are applying for assistance. Households can apply for up to four months in rental assistance. To find out if you are ELIGIBLE and to begin the application process, visit here.
7/15/2020 CALL TO ACTION!
The Senate has gone on an extended recess. They are not due to return to the Capitol until Monday, July 20, shortly before the extra $600 a week in UI - known as Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) - along with other enhanced benefits, are set to expire. The Senate must act NOW. Contact your Senators while they are home and tell them to support critical pieces of the Heroes Act. SEND A LETTER.
7/6/2020 PPP Extended Until August 8
The Paycheck Protection Program resumed accepting applications July 6, 2020, at 9:00 AM EDT in response to the Paycheck Protection Program Extension Act. The new deadline to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan is August 8, 2020. Learn more.
6/25/2020 SBA Opens Up New Grants and Loans
The SBA announced that it was again opening up its Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) grant and loan program. This means that independent contractors, freelancers, and gig workers are eligible to receive a $1,000 grant that does not have to be repaid. Learn more.
6/18/2020 AGMA Newsletter
This is the first in a series of AGMA newsletters.
6/8/2020 AGMA Call to Action
On Tuesday, June 9, the Senate will begin discussions on whether to extend the enhanced unemployment benefits past July 31, when they are currently set to expire. This includes whether or not the extra $600 per week in UI keeps going after July. We encourage you to write to your Senator TODAY. Encourage them to demand the renewal of the enhanced unemployment benefits for all workers, including those of us in the Performing Arts industry, in any future relief legislation.
6/2/2020 AGMA and SDC Engage Medical Experts on COVID-19, Reopening
With discussions on reopening beginning around the country across various industries, the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) and Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC) announced that they have engaged the services of medical experts to assist with COVID-19 safety planning and ensure that their members are protected.
5/22/2020 AGMA letter to companies regarding reopening
Read the letter here.
5/15/2020 AGMA Signs Joint Letter to Congress
AGMA, alongside nearly 50 other entertainment industry unions and organizations, sent a joint letter to Congress. The letter, addressed directly to Speaker Pelosi, Leader McConnell, Leader McCarthy, and Leader Schumer, summarizes the ways the CARES Act has fallen short in assisting members of the entertainment community and requests that these shortcomings be remedied in an updated CARES Act COVID-19 relief package. Read the letter here.
5/15/2020 IADMS Launches Helping Dancers Help Themselves
IADMS has begun a new initiative Helping Dancers Help Themselves. This range of programming is to offer support, information, and community to dancers, dance educators, researchers, and medical professionals during COVID-19. The programming includes panel discussions and FREE WEBINARS on mental health, safe dance practice, and more.
5/11/2020 NYC Comptroller COVID-19 Resource Page
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer launched the COVID-19 Resource Center. AGMA Relief Fund, among other grants, are listed under "Independent Contractors and Freelancers."
5/8/2020 "Support Performing Artists Industry Workers" Petition
AGMA's Terry Ganley and Paula Suozzi have created a petition supporting extending the extra unemployment benefits for industry workers. Consider signing and sharing.
4/29/2020 Union Plus IMPORTANT Update
Union Plus has increased their benefits and loosened some of the requirements in an effort to better serve union members during these difficult times. Read more.
4/29/2020 Updated DOL Guidance on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
This updated information was issued 4/28/2020. Read here.
4/29/2020 Updated AEMI Flowchart
This is an updated AEMI-branded flowchart of government support for creative professionals impacted by COVID-19. The flowchart's updates reflect how states are implementing the UI/PUA provisions included in the CARES Act.
4/25/2020 Official Document from AGMA Retirement Fund on Emergency Loans and Withdrawals
4/23/2020 AGMA Retirement Fund Approves Individual Emergency Loans and Withdrawals
Effective May 1. Read full statement here.
4/20/2020 Streamlined Application for New Yorkers to Apply for Pandemic Unemployment
The New York State Department of Labor announced the launch of a new application for New Yorkers to apply for traditional Unemployment Insurance or the new COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. This one-stop-shop for unemployment benefits will connect New Yorkers with the benefits, without requiring them to call the Department of Labor.
4/13/2020 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Guidance from the Department of Labor
- Guidance on implementing the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program
- Guidance on Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation
4/13/2020 Calling AGMA Membership Department
Due to the current crisis, our lines are busier than ever. Having difficulty reaching the AGMA membership department? Email Candace at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4/10/2020 COVID-19 Arts Aid PHL Fund
The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance partnered with the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OACCE) and the Philadelphia Cultural Fund (PCF) to support Philadelphia region artists and arts organizations impacted by COVID-19. According to the announcement: the COVID-19 Arts Aid PHL Fund will support individual artists and small arts and culture organizations (annual budgets no greater than $250,000) and mid-sized organizations (annual budgets between $250,000 - $15M) whose operations, work and livelihood have been deeply affected by the pandemic. Applications will open in the upcoming weeks, with priority given to individual artists and small organizations, where the need for support is particularly urgent.
4/8/2020 Artist Relief $5,000 Grants
Artists living in all 50 states, territories, and Tribal Nations, working in any discipline, are able to apply for the $5,000 grant. Applicants must be 21+, able to receive taxable income in the United States regardless of their citizenship status, and have generally lived and worked in the United States for the last two years. Due to expected demand, it will not be able to fund every applicant. (Artist Relief is an initiative organized by the Academy of American Poets, Artadia, Creative Capital, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, MAP Fund, National YoungArts Foundation, and United States Artists)
4/7/2020 Health Mask Policy Video
Now that the CDC has recommended wearing masks when out in public, here is a video from UNC Healthcare, where they are reusing masks to conserve supply.
4/6/2020 Unemployment & Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Updates
This page from the Department of Labor provides a phone number and website for every state's unemployment office. It also includes guidance, fact sheets, and news releases related to the COVID-19 UI programs.
The latest guidance is on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program is available here.
4/6/2020 The Families First Coronavirus Response Act Update
These provisions will apply from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. Read more.
4/3/2020 AFL-CIO Unemployment Resources Broken Down by State
Select your state HERE to find unemployment insurance benefit resources and related information for workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
4/1/2020 Reinstatement Fee Reduced Through June 30
Suspended AGMA members are eligible for the reduced reinstatement fee as long as they were in good standing through 12/31/2019. Read More.
3/27/2020 CARES Act
The House passed the CARES Act by voice vote and the President signed the bill into law. AGMA played an important part in the advocacy for this bill, working with the Department for Professional Employees (DPE) and our sister unions to demand COVID-19 relief benefits for our members. READ MORE.
3/23/2020 Dance Artists National Collective Comprehensive Resources
Dance Artists National Collective has collected a great deal of resources. We encourage AGMA members to review their page.
3/20/2020 Arts, Entertainment, and Media Unions Call on Policymakers to Protect Media Workers in Emergency Relief Packages
Read full statement here.
*UPDATED 3/20/2020* Union Plus Member Resources
Any Union Plus members can find a list of benefits available to workers through various Union Plus programs, as well as its updated "When the Paycheck Stops" manual, which provides information on surviving unemployment and includes a link to its labor liaison network and labor agencies.
Important AGMA updates to Visa process
Important changes to AGMA's visa process have been announced. Read more.
AGMA COVID-19 Memos
AGMA Relief Fund
CORONAVIRUS & AGMA RELIEF FUND: How to help fellow AGMA members in need, or how to receive assistance:
Announced 3/19/2020: To best serve artists, the AGMA Relief Fund application process has moved completely online, making the process more seamless and efficient. Any AGMA members who have already applied for financial assistance do not need to apply again.
Before you begin, make sure you have:
- A copy of your current membership card or confirmation by Union membership department (email email@example.com and put "Proof of Membership" in subject line) – including end date (you must be current through December 2020)
- Most recent bank statement (not printout from ATM)
- Current lease or mortgage/maintenance
AGMA is aware of the major effects resonating in the performance sector regarding the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. We are deeply saddened that it is resulting in loss of work and money due to theatre closures and travel restrictions. We know that many of our artists, especially soloists, travel extensively and have been affected by this crisis. We want to let you know that we are monitoring the spread of the coronavirus and are doing what we can to prepare for its potential impact on our industries. AGMA is having the appropriate conversations with our employers on how we can maintain business continuity, and related issues if an outbreak becomes more severe.
Any AGMA member in good standing is entitled and encouraged to apply for financial assistance through the AGMA Relief Fund. Please visit agmarelief.org to begin the application process. Grants are awarded on a case-by-case basis, based on need.
The AGMA Relief Fund depends on the generosity of many to assist our members in need. If you would like to donate, please click the PayPal button below, or contact AGMA directly. Please note in the memo/note field, or over the phone, that your donation is to benefit those affected by the coronavirus.* 95% percent of funds go directly to financial aid for AGMA colleagues in times of crisis.
Send Checks to:
AGMA Relief Fund
P.O. Box 908
New York, NY 10018
Wire Transfers to AGMA Relief Fund
Information for wire transfer to AGMA Relief Fund from outside USA:
Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas
BIC : BKTRUS33
I/N/O:AGMA Relief Fund
Information for wire transfer to AGMA from within USA:
Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas
I/N/O AGMA Relief Fund
Deutsche Bank address:
Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas
60 Wall Street 14th Floor
New York, NY 10005
Please mention your name in wire transfer information in order to get proper credit.
Send Checks to:
P.O. Box 908
New York, NY 10108
The AGMA Relief Fund is a not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) charitable organization, administered by The Actors Fund. All contributions are tax-deductible.
External Resources for AGMA Members - Updated 8/12/2020
|The Actors Fund:|
-The Career Center
-Health & Health Insurance
-Mental Health services
|AGMA contracts with The Actors Fund to administer the Relief Fund as well as to provide comprehensive social services.|
|AEMI Flowchart||An updated AEMI-branded flowchart of government support for creative professionals impacted by COVID-19. The flowchart's updates reflect how states are implementing the UI/PUA provisions included in the CARES Act.|
|AFL-CIO COVID-19 Resource Page||Resource page, updated daily.|
|Artist Relief||Artist Relief will distribute $5,000 grants to artists facing dire financial emergencies due to COVID-19.|
|Artist Relief Tree||Artist Relief Tree is a new fund created to financially support artists who are affected by cancellations due to COVID-19.|
|Behind the Scenes Charity||In response to the concern about the rising number of suicides and the prevalence of alcohol/substance misuse within the entertainment industry, Behind the Scenes and other individuals and organizations have come together to create this initiative.|
|COVID-19 & Freelance Artists||This list is specifically designed to serve freelance artists, and those interested in supporting the independent artist community.|
|Creative Capital Resources||Open to artists working in all disciplines, as well as arts philanthropists, and arts professionals.|
|Dance Artists National Collective||Dance Artists National Collective has collected a great deal of resources. We encourage AGMA members to review their page.|
|The Department of Labor:|
-Guidance on implementing the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program
-Guidance on Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation
|Information on applying for unemployment and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.|
|Freelancers Union||NOTE from Freelancers Union: Applications have been temporarily closed due to the overwhelming response we have received from our community. We will send an update to members when we are able to reopen application submissions.|
|I Care If You Listen Resources||"Round-up of as many emergency funding sources and additional resources for artists as we can find."|
|IADMS||"Helping Dancers Help Themselves" provides free mental health resources|
|Miami-Dade Supporting Artists Program||The Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs is activating round two of the Miami-Dade Artists Support! (MAS!) Program, specifically for Artists. The program will provide up to $500 per Artist to those who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.|
|New York Resources:|
-NYS streamlines PUA application process
-NY government resources
-COVID Rent Relief Program
|Added 7/16/2020 - COVID Rent Relief Program for New York State|
|Opera America||Get current information on the coronavirus outbreak, nonprofit response, relief options, and advocacy efforts.|
|Payment Protection Program||The Paycheck Protection Program resumed accepting applications July 6, 2020, at 9:00 AM EDT in response to the Paycheck Protection Program Extension Act. The new deadline to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan is August 8, 2020.|
|SBA||SBA announced that it was again opening up its Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) grant and loan program. This means that independent contractors, freelancers, and gig workers are eligible to receive a $1,000 grant that does not have to be repaid.|
| Union Plus:|
-Bachelor’s Degree Completion Program
|Union Plus is here to help union members through times of uncertainty with unique Hardship Help benefits. Find out if you're eligible for these Union Plus programs.|
YOUR LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT
Coordination with federal, state, and local health officials is strongly encouraged for all businesses so that timely and accurate information can guide appropriate responses in each location where their operations reside. Since the intensity of an outbreak may differ according to geographic location, local health officials will be issuing guidance specific to their communities.
For your information below are some key local health departments’ coronavirus pages.
- Boston Health Commission
- Chicago Dept.of Health
- Colorado Dept. of Public Health
- District of Columbus Dept. of Health
- Florida Dept. of Health
- Georgia Dept. of Public Health
- Los Angeles County Public Health
- Missouri Dept. of Health
- New Orleans Dept. of Health
- New York City Department of Health
- Ohio Dept. of Health
- Pennsylvania Health Dept.
- San Francisco Dept. of Public Heath
- Texas Dept. of Health
- Washington State Dept. of Health