Some Good (Arts) News

From our friends at Americans for the Arts comes information about COVID-19’s impact on the arts across the country as of early May:

Nationally, financial losses to nonprofit arts organizations are estimated to be $4.98 billion, to date. Arts organizations have lost 208 million admissions due to cancelled events, resulting in a $6.6 billion loss in event-related spending by audiences (restaurants, lodging, retail). The economic impact of these losses is $1.9 billion in lost government revenue and 328,000 jobs no longer being supported. Findings are based on 11,000 survey responses:

  • 95% cancelled events.
  • 66% expect this crisis to have a “severe” impact on their organization.
  • 29% reduced artistic workforce.
  • 24% reduced staff (42% are “likely” to reduce staff).
  • 10% are “not confident” that they will survive the COVID-19 pandemic (a potential loss of 12,000 organizations).

However, mixed in with the bad news are these two optimistic figures:

  • 76% of artists report that their “artistic practice has been used to raise morale, create community cohesion, or lighten the COVID-19 experience of the community.”
  • 65% of nonprofit arts organizations “are delivering artistic content to raise community spirits and morale.”

Just one example of the many Utah arts organizations raising morale is Salt Lake City-based Heart & Soul, a group that normally takes music and performing arts, through live performances, to isolated audiences. Their audience group is 90% seniors living in care communities, the highest-risk group for COVID-19. Due to the pandemic, they have changed to a “singing telegram” format and are bringing individual live concerts via FaceTime and Google Duo to their grateful audiences.