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Covid-19’s Effect on the Arts

Covid-19 has devastated many as it has spread throughout the country. During this time artists have been especially affected. Theaters closed down, shows were canceled, there remains a lack of jobs, and this all contributes to artists’ struggles during the Covid-19 pandemic that is spreading through the nation. 

Empty Museum of Photographic Arts | Courtesy of KPBS

Covid-19’s effect on the arts has been devastating —  performers, musicians, designers, and people in the film industry have been hit the hardest. According to an article by Brookings, a non-profit public policy organization based in Washington DC, about 2.3 million jobs and $74 billion average monthly earnings will be lost for creative occupations in the United States.

Many small musicians have been hit hard by this pandemic, as doing gigs and performing live has been many artists’ main source of income. Shows and events are a hotspot for spreading COVID, big crowds of strangers in small rooms can easily spread the virus, causing the shut down of the places these bands perform. According to an NPR interview with Jennifer Koh, a classical violinist and teacher at Brown University,  Molly Kirk Parlier, a member in the Bluewater Kings Band who play at weddings and venues, and Rorry Ferreira, a rapper and producer, musicians such as the ones mentioned have little funds to rely on with their main source of income, playing live, being stripped away due to the pandemic.

Theater performers are also being negatively affected due to the pandemic. With small theaters either opening part-time or not at all, actors, designers, and showrunners are scrambling to find work. Small theaters across the country have been shut down or are struggling to find support. According to an article by the Atlantic, an American cultural commentary magazine, “Many of these smaller sites rely on state subsidies to survive, but now face a painful struggle to secure financial support.” 

Non-profit art organizations are also struggling to stay afloat. According to Americans for the Arts, only 41% of non-profit organizations are open, while 59% are closed. Of that 59%, 39% do not plan on reopening any time soon.

These non-profit art organizations help support artists and include programs that supply creators’ needs. According to Americans for the Arts, 95% of artists report a loss of income during the pandemic and 63% have become fully unemployed. 

Thankfully, through the internet, many artists are finding ways to cope throughout these hard times. Though the quarantine is not welcomed by many, it has given artists more time to focus on their craft or try out new things and time to recharge their creativity, time to think about their art. According to an interview with Silvia Lopez Chavez, a Boston based artist who primarily works with murals, conducted by [email protected], a student-run newspaper at Northeastern University, “quarantine, although stressful, has given her time to think—about her art, and specifically, the role that public art can have on people” 

Artist in quarantine | Courtesy of Agora Gallery

  Artists are also changing the way they run their businesses, according to interviews by Forbes, an American business magazine, many artists are strengthening their online presences.  This could mean starting online workshops, posting more on social media, or spending time creating an online shop. Artists may also create new work, or try to create something different from their preferred medium, singers or performers may try posting video performances online for their audiences, or host online events

 Though this is a scary time for artists,  many communities thrive on art; art is known for its powerful healing abilities, a characteristic that is sure to help the arts come back stronger than ever.

About Layne Cochran

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