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Ohio Creative Community ‘Devastated’ by Economic Impact of COVID-19

Taijuan Moorman Taijuan Moorman Ohio Creative Community ‘Devastated’ by Economic Impact of COVID-19
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Ohio Citizens for the Arts and Arts Cleveland have released findings from two online surveys inquiring about the economic impacts felt by Ohio’s arts and creative community due to COVID-19.

After being online for one week, the surveys offer just a glimpse of the economic implications experienced now, and are only the beginning of what those implications will look like to come. A release from the two arts organizations calls the survey results “devastating” for the livelihoods of artists, supportive arts organizations, and arts communities as a whole.

“The economic damage to arts organizations, artists, and livelihoods is immediate and we have serious concerns about many of these organizations still being here when we come out of this crisis,” said Angela Meleca, executive director of Ohio Citizens for the Arts.

Many of the survey respondents were individual artists that are self-employed. Of those artists:

  • 4,006 gigs were considered lost by 486 survey respondents, including performances, exhibitions, commissions, residencies, teaching opportunities and more.
  • Over half of those gigs were lost by musicians.
  • Over 32% said there was no possibility of rescheduling gigs.
  • Approximately 62% of respondents reported losing revenues between $1,000 and $7,500 in lost gigs. The largest number of respondents reported losing between $2,500 and $4,999.
  • A little under half of respondents reported no other sources of revenue.
  • Just over 70% of artists reported that they were not eligible for unemployment.
  • A much smaller percentage — just over 7% — indicated eligibility for unemployment, with remaining respondents unsure of their eligibility.

For arts organizations and their staff:

  • Respondents to the survey reported having to take a number of actions in response to public health guidelines, including:
    • Postpone an event, hope to reschedule — 84% of respondents
    • Cancel an event, cannot reschedule — 78% of respondents
    • Modify an event — 46% of respondents
  • A little over half — 52% — of all respondents reported having 10 or more events impacted.
  • Nearly 78% of respondents reported that they believed the impact on their organizations’ finances would be severe.
  • Approximately 51% of respondents reported that they were “very” or “extremely likely” to make temporary or permanent reductions in staff.

A letter sent to the White House by Governor Mike DeWine and three other governors is seeking approval from the White House to unlock existing federal funding in the Disaster Unemployment Account, which will impact many of the issues artists and arts organizations are facing right now.

“The Governor continues to lead in bold and supportive ways as he calls for this pandemic to be declared and managed as a major disaster. If approved, DUA funds will provide much additional and needed relief for Ohio’s workforce and Ohio’s arts and creative community,” Meleca said in a release sent out on Tuesday. “We’re proud to have worked with Governor DeWine’s administration in advocating on behalf of thousands of arts workers who might otherwise slip through the cracks.”

The surveys remain open for other artists and organizations to participate.

Visit www.ohiocitizensforthearts.org for more information.

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