Photo by Melissa Blackall

COVID-19 Updates

What’s happened and how we have responded since March—

How BCA has been affected:
  • We experienced a catastrophic financial challenge as a result of COVID-19. In just a few short weeks, we watched a massive chunk of our fourth quarter earned revenue disappear with the cancellation of rentals in the Cyclorama and theatre spaces. 
  • With the postponement of our 50th Anniversary Gala from May 30, 2020 to April 3, 2021, we had to defer half of our projected contributed revenue to next fiscal year.
  • By the end of March, we were projecting a deficit of nearly $800,000, which our small and lean organization simply could not absorb. 
  • BCA leadership made the heartbreaking decision to cut our payroll, which included company-wide furloughs and the layoff of four staff members. Each member of our 22 staff has been affected by this, including the Co-Executive Directors. 
  • We secured a federal Paycheck Protection Program loan of $231,500 of which a portion will be qualified for forgiveness. 
  • This left us with a $500,000 gap that we need to raise by June 30th. 
  • A generous donor provided us with a $25,000 challenge grant and our Board of Directors responded by donating over $50,000. Institutional partners donated another $75,000. 50th Anniversary Gala pledges and payments were converted to general operating support. 
  • A generous BCA supporter has provided restricted funding to continue virtual programming so that we can pay artists programs stipends for their time and work.
  • We now must raise the remainder of our $500,000 gap through our 50 Days to 500K Campaign. 
  • We are working with our strategic planning consultants to do scenario planning accommodating a wide range of still unknowable “re-opening” timelines. 
How we have responded to artists:
  • BCA continues to advocate and provide services for the city’s artists.
  • We have kept the Artist Studios Building open to current tenants, increasing cleaning schedules and providing open communication with the artists renting spaces about their concerns. 
  • We provided artists in the Artists Studios Building a 1-month rent abatement.
  • We partnered with the City of Boston to launch the Boston Artist Relief Fund, which has raised more than $150,000, mostly in small donations under $50. 100% of donations to the Boston Artist Relief Fund will be regranted to artists in our community.
  • We brought our current exhibition at the Mills Gallery,  FEMINISTFUTURIST, online, to rave reviews from Boston Globe, Boston Art Review, and Dig Boston.
  • We created an Opportunities Page for Boston artists which is continually updated with resources for local artists. 
  • We extended Residency deadlines for our 2020-2021 Public Art and Dancemaker Residents.
  • We surveyed artists to learn about their needs and how we can help each other.
  • We launched a Lunchtime Listening Series on May 13, and are thrilled to bring you a virtual Variety Show hosted by The Davis Sisters and an “Art After Work” series with Audrey Hsia in the weeks ahead. 
Posted: April 1, 2020 — Letter from the Executive Directors

Dear Friends,

We hope this message finds you in good health and reasonably good spirits. Two weeks ago we shut down physical operations of our campus on Tremont Street in the South End to protect our staff and artists from COVID-19. We invested in telecommunications software, moved our offices to our homes, and set about trying to do our work as we adjusted to “the new normal.”

At BCA, we worked with dozens of organizations and companies to cancel or postpone their events in the Cyclorama. We postponed our 50th Anniversary Gala to October 3rd. We made difficult decisions that included furloughs and layoffs of our dedicated and beloved staff but managed to pay 100% of their health insurance until June 30, 2020.

For the past 2 weeks, we’ve fielded inquiries from artists, patrons, clients, and community members, each with the question, “What are you going to do next?” Here’s what we’re going to do — what we’ve always done and what we do best:


Over the past 2 weeks, we used our beautiful new website to activate our Mills Gallery exhibition FEMINIST/FUTURIST (our sincerest thanks to Cate McQuaid for the glowing review). We partnered with the City of Boston to facilitate private support of the Boston Artist Relief Fund, 100% of which provides unrestricted grants to Boston artists affected by COVID-19. We created a regularly updated Opportunities page with links to grants, fellowships, and resources for our creative community. We extended deadlines for each of our Residency applications.

Although none of us know what the next few months will bring, we are determined to continue our work supporting Boston’s contemporary visual and performing artists. What we do know for certain:


If you have the means to support BCA at this critical time, here’s how you can create a tangible impact on your creative community:
  • Become a member of BCA today. Monthly sustaining membership is an affordable way to ensure BCA can continue offering artist resources into the future.
  • Already a member? Consider renewing or increasing your membership before June 30.
  • Make a one-time gift in any amount. Every dollar counts towards sustaining Boston’s working artists.
  • Choose BCA as your Amazon Smile charity.
  • Find out if your company offers matching gifts to maximize your impact.

Amidst uncertainty, we are finding new ways to support Boston artists; new ways to showcase the creative process; and new ways to celebrate our growing BCA community.

Creative communities are resilient. We will persevere, together.

Stay well,

Emily Foster Day and Kristi Keefe
Co-Executive Directors
Boston Center for the Arts

Update: March 12, 2020 

Dear BCA Community,

In response to the growing coronavirus (COVID-19) concern, Boston Center for the Arts has decided to cancel all BCA public programs through Sunday, April 12; including public activities on our campus, tours and talks, and the following special events:

3.20: 2020 Talks in Mills Gallery
3.21 + 3.22: Jessie Stinnett Workshop
4.2: Jean Appolon Expressions Studio Showing
4.5: Jean Appolon Expressions Workshop

We hope to reschedule all of these events for a later date. For up-to-date information please visit our calendar.

BCA is closed to the public until further notice; updates will be shared here and on our social media channels. The best way to reach staff will be via e-mail, which they will be checking regularly during the week. If you have a general inquiry or need that is not specific to a staff member, please email

The Mills Gallery will be closed effective Friday, March 13. The Artists Studio Building will remain open to tenant artists but closed to third party rentals in Studio 204.

Please Note: This temporary closure applies to: Plaza Theatres (Plaza Theatre and Black Box Theatre), Cyclorama, and Calderwood Pavilion (Virginia Wimberly Theatre, Nancy & Edward Roberts Studio Theatre, Nicholas Martin Rehearsal Hall, Artist Resource Room, and Carol G. Deane Hall).

We will send an update to our community when we return to regular business hours. Thank you for your understanding and for being a supporter of Boston Center for the Arts.

Posted: March 11, 2020

While BCA addresses the latest issues concerning COVID-19, we want to take the opportunity to inform you that Boston Center for the Arts is open and committed to the safety of our visitors and staff.

Upcoming public programs and events are proceeding as scheduled unless otherwise noted. Should any changes be made to our operating hours or public programs, we will make updates via the website as well as through email and social media announcements.

We are committed to the health of our visitors and staff, and are sanitizing the galleries, theatres, event spaces, and common surfaces multiple times each day.

As the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 continue to evolve, we will follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. You can help by following hygiene guidelines issued by the CDC. We ask that if you or anyone in your household is feeling sick, that you visit BCA venues at a future time.

Regarding event rentals in our theatres and Cyclorama space, please refer in each case to the event host’s website or contact them directly for updates.

If you have questions or concerns that we can help address at this time, please feel free to contact us: