• 2020 Stream Fest

2020 Cambridge River Festival Transforms into Stream Festival

2020 Cambridge River Festival Transforms into Stream Festival

Jason Weeks, Cambridge Arts Council Executive Director, shares strategies for supporting artists and the arts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“One of the great beauties of art as a connective tissue in our communities is the joy it brings to lift us up” said Jason Weeks, Executive Director of the Cambridge Arts Council.

Jason talked with CCTV earlier this week to share the approaches and strategies Cambridge Arts is using during this time, in collaboration with local, state, regional, and national organizations, to support artists, makers, and the arts in Cambridge:

  1. Outreach to existing grantees and partners to confirm the security of their funding and to provide support to them during this time (e.g., transforming a physical production to a digital one.)
  2. Gathering and streamlining information from multiple sources (city, state, regional, and federal government; Massachusetts Cultural Council and similar regional and national organizations; foundations; and others) to create a place where artists, makers, and arts organizations can find resources tailored to their needs. For example, artists might not immediately think of the Small Business Administration as a resource for them during this time, so we share this information on the Resources for the Arts during Coronavirus page.
  3. Funding. Cambridge was one of the first cities to establish an artists’ relief fund - developed with support from the City Council, Mayor’s Office, City Administration, and the Cambridge Community Foundation - for artists that live and do their artistic work in Cambridge. $20,000 that would have been used to produce the festival has been contributed to the fund.
  4. Digital Place Shaping. Cambridge Arts is working to understand both how artists are currently using digital space and to support them in exploring opportunities for current and future use. This work started with the transformation of the 2020 River Festival into the Stream Festival - maintaining the water theme and capturing the digital format for this year's event - with the support of CCTV Cambridge as our digital partner.
  5. Highlighting the bright spots and the joy. We are all isolated and surrounded by negative news every day, so Cambridge Arts is working to highlight positives. One example is spotlighting Cambridge sidewalk poetry during April, which is National Poetry Month. Cambridge sidewalk poets range in age from 8 to 89, and each day we post a poem on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to celebrate five years of the Cambridge Sidewalk Poetry Program and the creativity of our city and lift people up with this positive news everyday.