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Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic

There is still much to learn about the full impact that COVID-19 will have on our lives and the lives of those around us. We stand in solidarity with arts organizations, their employees, and artists as things continue to unfold and we encourage the community of audience members, donors, and grantmakers to do what they can to continue their support throughout this time of uncertainty.  

Now more than ever, we are here to empower arts and cultural leaders with high-quality data and evidence-based resources and insights that help to overcome challenges and increase impact.

What We Know

Over the past several days, we have witnessed a number of arts and cultural organizations throughout the world close their doors and postpone or cancel events in an effort to reduce the introduction of the virus into new communities and slow the spread of infection in communities already affected by the virus. These recommended measures are likely to continue throughout the nation and raise important questions about the future of the sector.

What We Can Do

While data may be the last thing on your mind, we encourage arts and cultural leaders to be mindful of capturing data that will help to tell the complete story about COVID-19’s direct and indirect effects on finances, operations, and attendance. This includes tracking attendance, modifications to the number of programs offered, and changes in employment, alongside financial data. 

In addition to tracking your own data, you can provide information to help us understand the broad impact of the virus. Americans for the Arts is currently hosting a survey to capture information about the financial and human impacts that the spread of the coronavirus has had on arts and cultural organizations since the first U.S. case was documented on January 20, 2020.  

 

Take The Survey

 

Taking the necessary precautions to protect your staff and constituents will be crucial until we have more information about the virus and how it is transmitted. If you don’t have a plan in place already, the CDC has a helpful tool you can use to begin your preparation.

Misinformation and the perception of COVID-19’s potential impact have been circulating throughout social media. Below is a list of resources to keep yourself informed on the latest updates. 

 

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention - Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy

 

There will be many aspects of society in need of recovery and support, including the arts. The National Coalition for Arts' Preparedness & Emergency Response has provided a guide for assisting local artists and small arts organizations in the aftermath of a disaster.

Additionally, and effective immediately, our Advocacy Report subscription is now available free of charge. This tool is designed to help you build a powerful, fact-based case that provides insights into the cultural workforce of your community, its economic impact, and its community impact. Data currently reflected in these reports communicates the pre-crisis story of the reach and impact of the arts, a reminder of their community contributions in addition to their critical role in bringing people together. SMU DataArts will continue to tell the story of trends, factors that drive the sector’s health, and insights about important issues in the field through quarterly reports and white papers.

Our Support Center will continue to operate during normal business hours to answer any questions you may have regarding your Cultural Data Profile and our other services. 

The unknown brings with it elevated anxiety about the future of our sector, but what we do know is that arts and cultural organizations are comprised of resilient, passionate, and creative minds. It is your strength that will be a driving force to help communities get through this together. Let us know how we can help.

 

Contact Us

Initial results of the Economic Impact Survey conducted by Americans for the Arts are rolling in.

The COVID-19 pandemic has already had a devastating economic impact on America’s nonprofit arts sector — financial losses to date are estimated to be $3.2 billion. No states, regions, or disciplines are immune.

 

INITIAL KEY FINDINGS:

  • 91% of responding arts organizations indicated that they have canceled one or more events. Many arts organizations have closed their doors for months to come.
  • More than one-third of respondents expect to make reductions in staff; 26% have already reduced their creative workforce.
  • The $3.2 billion figure includes actual revenue losses to date from admissions (ticket sales, subscriptions, memberships), non-admissions income (gift shop sales, sponsorships, contributed income), and unexpected expenditures (new cleaning and disinfecting protocols, adoption of new technologies, cancellation fees).

Read the Weekly Update

 

Social distancing and other measures continue to evolve with possible extensions through summer 2020. This could mean additional billions in losses for the arts and cultural sector. 

The arts and cultural sector plays a crucial role in our economy. The latest data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that arts and cultural production accounts for $877,809,406,086 and 4.5% of the U.S. economy, contributing 5,107,889 jobs. Our nation will recover from the impacts of COVID-19. When that time comes, arts and cultural institutions and artists will serve as a vital source for healing on multiple levels. 

 

Help ensure that the arts and cultural sector is protected during these uncertain times. 

Build a powerful, fact-based case that demonstrates the reach and impact of the arts. Our free Advocacy Report and online courses can help you get there. 

Take Action

View an Example Report

Know who to reach out to. 

State Arts Agency Directory - National Assembly of State Arts Agencies 

State Senators Directory - United States Senate

Data & Research

Arts & Cultural Organizations: In It for the Long Haul

This report, written in collaboration with TRG Arts, underscores that COVID-19 has created unprecedented challenges for the arts and cultural sector. We propose specific steps that can be taken to address the crisis while orienting toward sustained action and resiliency.

To help ground organization and field-wide discussions on scenario-planning and projections, Voss and Robinson estimate a net loss of $6.8 billion, equating to a deficit equivalent to 26% of expenses for the average organization. 

Overcoming Downtrends & Protecting Your Organization Through Future Downturns

Our recent report reveals the timing of different impacts on finances and operations during and after the last recession, which may help us navigate through our current situation.

Written prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, this report explores questions such as: Will the U.S., and more specifically the theatre field, soon experience a new period of financial turbulence? Are theatres prepared to overcome the downtrends in their net revenues? How prepared is the field to weather an economic storm or a secular downtrend in their capital reserves? How will the economic environment affect attendance and philanthropy? 

How COVID-19 is Impacting Intentions to Visit Cultural Entities

Data reveals when people in the U.S. currently anticipate returning to more regular attendance behaviors.

IMPACTS collects real-time data regarding perceptions and behaviors surrounding cultural organizations. This includes monitoring how people are reacting to COVID-19. In addition to maintaining what is believed to be the largest continuing survey of perceptions and behaviors surrounding cultural entities, they are also monitoring various metrics and key performance indicators concerning 224 entities in the United States.

Monitoring the Theatre Sector

In addition to the immediate operational preparations theatres should take to protect our staff and communities, there are medium- and longer-term consequences to consider. How can theatres prepare for the economic uncertainty of a significant outbreak? What impact might an outbreak have on contributed income? What role can theatres play in supporting our communities before, during, and afterward? How can we be in solidarity with Chinese, Korean, and Asian American communities who are facing racist and xenophobic responses to this outbreak?

Theatre Communications Group is tracking all of these pieces, and, in addition to sharing resources, they are seeking feedback on what would be of most use to theatre organizations right now: an open video chat where theatres can share how they’re preparing and responding - or - a webinar with experts in preparedness? 

Additional Information

What is the Federal Government Doing in Response to COVID-19?

A complete list of information and resources provided by the government to keep you up-to-date on the latest developments.

Including updates from the Institute for Museum and Library Services on grant applications and awardees.

File For Unemployment

We're facing the harsh reality that many in the cultural sector have lost their jobs due to the impact of COVID-19.

Along with applying for grant funding opportunities, make sure you also apply for unemployment if you've recently lost your job and are eligible for unemployment benefits. 

COVID-19 Glossary in 12 Languages

Eriksen Translations has compiled a COVID-19-related glossary in 12 languages and made it available for download.

This resource was assembled with the hope that it will help organizations efficiently translate critical coronavirus-related information and achieve consistent messaging.

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