A large majority of U.S. arts organizations have postponed or canceled performances, exhibitions, or events and 62 percent of working artists have become fully unemployed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, surveys conducted by Americans for the Arts find.
As of May 18, the organization's nationwide survey of artists and organizations found that 95 percent of organizations had canceled events, 67 percent expect the crisis to have a "severe" impact on their operations, 24 percent had reduced staff and 40 percent "are likely" to do so, and 10 percent are "not confident" they will survive the crisis. In addition, 95 percent of artists reported a loss of income, 61 percent had experienced a "dramatic decrease" in creative work that generates income, and 66 percent said they were unable to access supplies, resources, spaces, or people needed to do their work.
According to the organization, estimated financial losses at nonprofit arts and cultural organizations across the country had reached $5.5 billion as of May 18. Organizations also are down some 210 million admissions due to canceled events, resulting in a $6.7 billion loss in event-related spending at local businesses (including dining, lodging, and retail establishments). The economic impact of the losses includes $2 billion in lost government revenue and 348,000 jobs no longer being supported.
The surveys also found that artists/creatives have been among the most severely affected of all workers by the crisis. Of the 62 percent who have become fully unemployed in the months since the pandemic was declared a national emergency, the average financial loss per artist/creative worker is $21,000. Nationally, the collective blow to artists' income in 2020 is expected to surpass $50 billion.