Monday, June 15, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic continues its stranglehold on the nation’s arts sector. Since the first U.S. case was reported on January 20, 2020, cancellations and closings have taken place at nearly every arts organizations across the country, and nearly two-thirds of the nation’s artists are now unemployed. New research by the Small Business Administration shows that “Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation” is now the sector of the economy with highest percentage of “temporary closings” (53.3 percent of businesses surveyed).

Americans for the Arts leads four national studies tracking the human and financial impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on the arts. The following are highlights of the impact findings between when the first case was reported in the U.S. and June 15, 2020. Links are provided to the surveys and, where available, a dashboard of the data findings.

This summary is updated weekly and the most current version is available to download as a 1-pager.

Impact on Nonprofit Arts and Cultural Sector

Nationally, financial losses to nonprofit arts and cultural organizations are an estimated $6.7 billion as of June 15, 2020. Organizations also have lost 234 million admissions due to cancelled events, resulting in a $7.4 billion loss in event-related spending by audiences at local businesses (restaurants, lodging, retail). The economic impact of these losses is $2.4 billion in lost government revenue and 407,000 jobs no longer being supported. Findings are based on 12,500 survey responses. (Survey | Dashboard)

  • 96% cancelled events.
  • 67% expect this crisis to have a “severe” impact on their organization.
  • 29% reduced artistic workforce.
  • 24% reduced staff (39% are “likely” to reduce staff).
  • 10% are “not confident” that they will survive the COVID-19 pandemic (a potential loss of 12,000 organizations).
  • And yet, 67% are delivering artistic content to raise community spirits and morale.
Impact on Artist/Creative Workers

Artists/creatives are among the most severely affected workers by the COVID-19 crisis. 62% have become fully unemployed and the average financial loss per artist/creative worker is $21,000, to date. Nationally, they expect to lose $50.6 billion in income in 2020. Findings are based on 19,600 survey responses. (Survey | Dashboard)

  • 94% report income loss.
  • 79% experienced a decrease in creative work that generated income (61% a “drastic decrease”).
  • 66% are unable to access the supplies, resources, spaces, or people necessary for their work.
  • And yet, 75% report their artistic practice has been used to raise morale, create community cohesion, or lighten the COVID-19 experience of the community.
COVID-19 and Social Distancing: Impact of Arts and Other Activities on Mental Health

Due to COVID-19, millions of Americans are isolated in their homes. This new study is designed to strengthen our understanding of the mental health impacts of sheltering in place, social distancing, and isolation—and to determine if certain activities buffer against those ill effects (such as the arts). Initially begun by University College London in the UK, the study has been extended to the U.S. in partnership with the University of Florida and Americans for the Arts. All are welcome to participate. Initial results are expected in June 2020. (Survey)

CARES Act Arts Funding Tracker

On March 27, 2020, Congress passed the $2.3 trillion CARES Act, with new funding added to replenish popular programs, to financially support small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and gig workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This Tracker measures the success of the arts sector in securing eight federal CARES Act relief funding programs. Results to date are based on 2,100 respondents. (Share your results and experience here.)

  • Payroll Protection Program (PPP): 79% success rate
  • Emergency Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL): 40% success rate
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): 37% success rate

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