With museums and art galleries closed, performances canceled or postponed, many wonder how the arts would survive. Art thrives in an environment of togetherness.
During an ordinary day, we would take a leisure stroll through a gallery; watch a performance, experiencing arts and all the emotions it evokes collectively; we fill up concert venues, museums, and theaters; we gather to learn and create from each other and improve our community. These recent pandemic changes have changed things significantly, including the loss of revenue for the programs and their employees. COVID-19 has resulted in lots of lost income and layoffs.
There is no definite answer as to how the pandemic will impact the art long-term but one thing is certain, things are forever changed. One Cincinnati arts leader had some encouraging things for the artists and other creatives in the Cincinnati area.
Statistics from the Americans for the Arts states that 60 percent of income for nonprofit art organizations come from the sales of tickets, sponsorships, and fundraising. It states that nonprofit arts have a $166 billion economic effect in the U.S and it supports over 4.5 million jobs. Many local artist depend on the sales of their artwork from local galleries, festivals, and fairs just to sustain themselves. Most of them don’t have a fallback plan. Many live paychecks to paycheck or from gig to gig.
Just like other industries, arts organizations have also asked for federal aid as they deal with their crises. The New York Times has indicated that the $2.2 trillion federal COVID-19 relief bill included $75 million for the National Endowment for the arts and $75 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities. Both of them would offer money to institutions throughout America.
The Cincinnati Art Museum’s head of design and installation says that working artists need more help than they could have imagined. Not just the individual artists but the entire artist community. Many artist are getting hit from all sides, as they work in the gig economy as designers, sculptors, painters, bartenders, and barista’s just to support their creative endeavors. Since many of them these gigs are no longer available, they are trying to find ways to make a living and stay afloat.
Cincinnati artists now have to depend on the community to support them during this critical time so that they can also receive the necessities that are important to everyday life. Creative work would cease to exist without these basic needs.
The Contemporary Arts Center’s director of communications believes that arts are a call to action, as artists strive to make a connection through their talents. Now is the time for others to connect with them by supporting them in their efforts to continue to thrive creatively. They don’t have control over their current circumstances yet they still manage to connect with people emotionally. Those who enjoy the work they do should recognize this and support them through any means necessary.