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New Study Estimates $4.5 Billion In Pandemic Losses for the Arts Sector So Far

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New Study Estimates $4.5 Billion In Pandemic Losses for the Arts Sector So Far

According to a new survey from Americans for the Arts, the arts sector in the United States has lost an estimated $4.5 billion to the current virus pandemic.

After surveying over 11,000 arts organizations from all 50 states, from small volunteer-led groups to nonprofits to commercial organizations, an average loss of approximately $38,000 was reported in the first three weeks of mass shutdowns.

94% of respondents have reported canceled events. 23% percent have reported staff reductions and 43% predict future staffing cuts. Two-thirds of the organizations surveyed foresee a "severe" or "extremely severe" impact on operations.

The $4.5 billion estimate, however, is highly speculative. The extrapolated national total uses losses recorded from the sample set as an estimate for all arts organizations in the United States and do not account for long-term data. Many respondents said it was too early in the crisis to begin to estimate losses.

Randy Cohen, vice president of research at Americans for the Arts, said of the findings, "Clearly, this is a devastating time for the arts, with nonprofit arts organizations alone already accumulating $4.5 billion in losses and much more uncertainty ahead. We will definitely lose organizations by the time we get to the other side of this COVID-19 crisis."

Cohen, however, remains optimistic about the future of the arts, not only for the sector itself, but for its potential to help jump start the economy overall, "Getting people out of their houses and spending money again will be key to jump-starting the economy. This is what the arts do-they get us out of the house and create social and economic opportunities-attending a festival, going to a museum exhibit, attending the theater. And the data show that, when we do, we are driving commerce across a range of sectors-pumping business to local merchants."


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