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TRG Arts Study Reveals U.S. Arts And Culture Organizations' Optimism Waning For 2020 Comeback

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Results of a survey of 133 arts and culture organizations reveal 41% of U.S. organizations expect to perform to an in-person audience, down from 61% in June.

TRG Arts Study Reveals U.S. Arts And Culture Organizations' Optimism Waning For 2020 Comeback

Optimism among U.S. arts and culture organizations for a return to performances for in-person audiences in 2020 is declining according to a study released today by international arts management consultants TRG Arts. As a record number of Americans test positive for COVID-19, the results of a July 27 survey of 133 arts and culture organizations in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. reveal 41% of U.S. organizations expect to perform to in-person audiences this year, down from 61% in June. Of Canadian organizations 50% expect to resume with in-person audiences, up from 44% in June; in the U.K. 64% expect to return to in-person audiences, up from 50% in June. The study, Arts and Culture Comeback Planning: July 2020, is an update to TRG Art's study Arts and Culture Planning 2020 Comeback released last month.

Of U.S. organizations planning a return this year, 11% expect to perform before live audiences by September, while 41% plan to by December. Regionally, the South shows the greatest optimism with 100% of participating organizations expecting to return to live performances this year. In all other regions, TRG client expectations for returning in 2020 decreased compared to their expectations is June. The study also includes details of in-person performance expectations for the next 12 months.

U.S. Client Region % Expecting 2020 In-Person Performances
June study/July study
South 100%/100%
Southeast 75%/55%
Northeast 71%/41%
West 55%/32%
Midwest 38%/35%
By genre, U.S. multi-disciplinary and dance organizations have the most optimistic expectations for returning in 2020.

Performance Genre (U.S.) % Expecting 2020 In-Person Performances
June Study/July Study
Multi-Disciplinary 100%/73%
Dance 83%/67%
Presenter 57%/37%
Theater 52%/37%
Orchestra 50%/36%

The study reveals that 51% of U.S. organizations, 50% in Canada and 20% of U.K. organizations have introduced or plan to offer paid digital content to offset revenue losses from the cancellation of in-person performances.

"Arts and culture leaders are working tirelessly to bring back performances and experiences that enrich audiences and their communities despite the ravages of the pandemic," said TRG Chief Executive Officer Jill Robinson. "TRG Arts is working alongside them providing critical data and analyses, best practices and resources to strategically manage and emerge more resilient through this ongoing time of crisis."

The full study of Arts and Culture Comeback Planning: July 2020 is available at

Ongoing Evaluation

TRG Arts is continually studying the impact of COVID-19 on the resiliency of the arts and culture field, and has made several resources free and available to all.

  • TRG 30 is a weekly 30-minute series of provocative conversations with leaders in the field of arts and culture as well as adjacent industries. Its goal is to inspire arts leaders to evolve institutions to become more resilient upon their return to "normal" operations. Visit
  • COVID-19 Sector Benchmark studies live transactional data from across the globe. It allows participants to compare their patron purchase trends to geographic-specific benchmarks and is intended to be used for arts advocacy and planning. Participating organizations can learn how their recovery compares to other similar organizations.
  • TRG 30 Virtual Network on LinkedIn is where arts professionals gather and have their questions answered by TRG consultants. Visit
  • TRG blog has the latest insights on COVID-19 related topics. Visit

TRG hosts Executive Recovery Summits, intensive weekly three-hour virtual sessions with up to 15 arts/culture senior executives from around the world to help them manage through the massive shutdown of the sector. For information and to register, visit

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