MCLA Receives Grant from National Endowment for the Arts

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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — MCLA's Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC) has been approved for a $20,000 Grants for Arts Projects award to support the MCLA Institute for the Dismantling of Racism. 
 
This project will educate and support staff members of historically White art institutions in creating and implementing an anti-racist agenda within the arts, one person at a time. BCRC's project is among the more than 1,100 projects across America, totaling nearly $27 million, that were selected during this second round of Grants for Arts Projects fiscal year 2021 funding. 
 
"As the country and the arts sector begin to imagine returning to a post-pandemic world, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is proud to announce funding that will help arts organizations such as the Berkshire Cultural Resource Center reengage fully with partners and audiences," said NEA Acting Chairman Ann Eilers. "Although the arts have sustained many during the pandemic, the chance to gather with one another and share arts experiences is its own necessity and pleasure." 
 
Upon receiving the grant, BCRC Executive Director Erica Wall said, "We are thrilled to have received this NEA grant. It validates and advances our work and our commitment to dismantling racism within and through the arts." 
 
Next summer, four people from the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) art community will be invited to stay in residence at MCLA to develop and lead sessions on the history of racial inequality and representation within the arts community and how to dismantle it. 
 
Each year's program will be themed around a specific topic that centers how to break down systemic racism within and through the arts. Utilizing work from educators, artists, and DEI professionals, the workshops will be facilitated by the Institute's resident cohort. A call for applications will go out to historically White art institutions inviting their staff members to participate, learn, and practice how to model and promote anti-racist behavior in their daily and professional lives. 
 
The Institute will culminate in an exhibition of work by the selected resident artists at MCLA's Gallery 51, and a public presentation of the work by the Institute's cohort and its attendees will be shared with the Berkshire County community, and be archived and made accessible to the community at large. 
 
 
For more information on the projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news
 

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Governor Pushing for Two-Month Sales Tax Holiday

BOSTON — The governor is proposing a two-month-long sales tax holiday this year as a way to support local economies and that would put an estimated $900 million back into residents' pockets. 
 
A sales tax holiday is already on the books for Aug. 14-16, a weekend of tax relief in August that's now a law in the state at this point. The Baker-Polito administration filed legislation on Wednesday to expand the sales tax holiday to the entire months of August and September.
 
"A two-month sales tax holiday will provide a boost to Massachusetts' taxpayers and Main Street economies as we continue to recover from COVID-19," said Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday in a statement. "Massachusetts' economic recovery is off to a good start, but it's crucial that the commonwealth takes action now to spur more economic activity in communities and support taxpayers. Thanks to stronger than expected tax revenues, the commonwealth has managed to grow the rainy day fund to a balance higher than it was at the beginning of the pandemic, and we can also afford to return these tax dollars to our residents and small businesses."
 
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