COVID-19 has impacted millions around the world, interfering with jobs, schools, restaurants and small businesses. But one impact that isn't often talked about is the Arts. The worlds of dance, theater and music have been uprooted and put on pause indefinitely, and many of these places may never recover.
In addition to providing resources and entertainment for the public, the Performing Arts creates jobs. In Chicago alone, the performing arts are responsible for around 10,000 jobs. Many of those workers including marketing directors, stagehands, designers as well as hired companies are being furloughed or laid off due to the crisis.
Many of these layoffs are permanent, indicating that there is no foreseeable future where theaters or arts organizations will ever fully recover from the impacts of the pandemic. 41 percent of Arts and Cultural institutions are concerned they will not survive the pandemic at all.
I grew up going to shows in local theaters, participating in dance, learning about the backstage processes and was even lucky enough to explore the most secret of backstage areas as a child because my mother worked as a marketing director. Arts organizations are more than just an option for a fun afternoon, these are places of business that create an industry. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic we are currently facing, this industry is barely hanging on.
The website Be An Arts Hero has plenty of ways to help, though. One link on their site is to sign a petition asking senators to provide immediate relief to these organizations. They have provided a page encouraging you to contact your senators personally as well as a pre-written letter you can send immediately to your representatives. There are also resources to amplify the Arts and the danger they face, which is essential to raise awareness and help prevent countless organizations from going under.
Without immediate relief, many of the Arts businesses you know and love will close their doors forever, creating more economic stress as well as leading to the destruction of an entire industry that is an outlet, source of income and safe space for people everywhere. Consider helping out if you can because there are many other ways to support local Arts and Culture organizations in your area.