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PBS and The WNET Group Launch #PBSForTheArts

As America’s home for the arts, PBS launches an expanded slate of multiplatform arts programming beginning April 23.

PBS and The WNET Group Launch #PBSForTheArts

Today, PBS and The WNET Group announced #PBSForTheArts, a multiplatform campaign that celebrates the resiliency of the arts in America during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown and reopening. The campaign features a variety of programming across broadcast and digital platforms to showcase the devastating impact of the pandemic to the arts industry. While some arts organizations did not survive the effects of the shutdown, others adapted and evolved to meet the moment, but continue to fight to make a full recovery. Launching on all platforms on Friday, April 23, the collection of #PBSForTheArts content will be available for broadcast on PBS and streaming on pbs.org/arts and the PBS Video app. Curated conversation and digital shorts will be available on PBS social media platforms using #PBSForTheArts.

#PBSForTheArts kicks off with new programming filmed within the constraints of the pandemic: GREAT PERFORMANCES "Romeo & Juliet" (Friday, April 23 at 9:00 p.m. ET), a contemporary rendering of Shakespeare's romantic tragedy from The National Theatre, where a company of actors in a shuttered theater bring to life the timeless tale of two young lovers who strive to transcend a world of violence and hate; GREAT PERFORMANCES "The Arts Interrupted" (Friday, May 14 at 9:00 p.m. ET), a new documentary special featuring the survival stories of arts organizations across America; and the new three-part series INSIDE THE MET (Friday, May 21 at 9:00 and 10:00 p.m. ET and Friday, May 28 at 9:00 p.m. ET), which goes behind the scenes of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's struggle to survive amid the pandemic and its response to the urgent demands for social justice during its 150th anniversary.

As the campaign expands over the coming months, it will include new specials and original digital content from long-standing arts strands including GREAT PERFORMANCES, AMERICAN MASTERS and PBS NEWSHOUR's CANVAS, while PBS DIGITAL STUDIOS, The WNET Group and other award-winning PBS arts series will provide digital programming. PBS member stations will also contribute content to their local schedules that examine the resiliency of the arts and artists in their communities.

Exclusive #PBSForTheArts blogs, published on pbs.org/arts, will also spotlight the inspiring pandemic survival stories of artists across the country. From Broadway dancers and concert performers to classical musicians, visual artists, and beyond, audiences will discover how these creative, resourceful artists have kept the arts vivid and vital during the pandemic, and learn about the projects they're working on as the arts world gradually reopens.

"As we prepare for life post-COVID, it is so important that we come together to restore and revitalize the arts, which are central to the cultural health of our country," said Paula Kerger, PBS President and CEO. "Through this sweeping initiative, PBS and our member stations will showcase the resilient spirit of the arts and ensure that all Americans can continue to access extraordinary dance, theater and musical performances on public television."

As PBS's largest producer of arts programming for more than 50 years, The WNET Group, home to PBS stations THIRTEEN and WLIW21, the network NJ PBS, and arts and culture media provider ALL ARTS, will lead digital content production and PBS member station collaboration efforts nationwide. The WNET Group will gather and curate content from local musicians, actors, dancers and artists that represent the range, diversity and scope of the performing arts.

"In times of crisis, the arts have the ability to lift us up, bring us together and give us hope for a better tomorrow. We are pleased to partner with PBS to spotlight the resilience of performing arts organizations as we look forward to the return of live performances and an end to the pandemic," said Neal Shapiro, President and CEO of The WNET Group.

For more than 50 years, PBS has been the media destination for the arts, presenting dance, theater, opera, visual arts and concerts to Americans in every corner of the country. Over the past year, as the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the United States, it has decimated the arts community. Thousands of performers have lost their jobs as theater and dance companies, orchestras and music venues have struggled to survive or been forced to close. Through it all, PBS has continued to deliver high-quality arts and performance programming to homes nationwide, ensuring that the arts remain accessible to all, on air through its nearly 335 local public television stations and online through pbs.org and the PBS Video app.


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