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Registration is now open for the 2020 Annual Convention and Public Art & Civic Design Conference! This newly virtual convening, happening June 23-25 from the comfort of your home, is the chance for arts leaders across the country to gather virtually and better understand the current health crisis, how we are responding to it, and how the arts field can move toward recovery.
When arts organizations across the United States closed their doors indefinitely two months ago, revenue from ticket sales fell to zero overnight—and, for some, their very survival was thrown into question. Now, a new study estimates that cultural institutions stand to lose a total of $6.8 billion year over year, equivalent to a loss of 26 percent of operating expenses on average.
The coronavirus pandemic continues to gnaw away at the nation’s arts and cultural infrastructure. Nearly every arts organization has postponed or outright cancelled performances, exhibitions, and events. Similarly, nearly every working artist has lost at least some work, and a bewildering 62 percent report they have become fully unemployed because of the crisis.
In the throes of COVID-19’s devastating effects on artists and communities, many are looking ahead to make sure that art and artists are integral to the social, cultural, and economic recovery ahead. Mayors, public health agencies, parks departments, and municipal government alike will need creative strategies to address: collective trauma and healing, anxieties about reentering public space, literal redesign of public safety and event formats, and reinvention of systems to address gross inequities that have put many at risk.
According to federal statistics, more than a third of all artists are self-employed. We also know that many key arts industries consist mainly of small businesses. For example, more than 85 percent of performing arts companies and virtually all design firms employ fewer than 20 workers.
As we all try to make sense of what the COVID-19 pandemic means for the world, for the cultural sector, and for ourselves, we thought that it might be helpful to stitch together a weekly round-up of some of the more incisive material that we have been circulating internally and discussing at AEA.