A recent survey examining the arts in Central New York found that the pandemic is having severe financial impacts. Research projects a $15 million loss for art organizations and artists. Some are worried it could force them to shut down for good.
“We’re noticing the loss and trying to use our best thinking to move forward,” said Syracuse Community Choir director, Karen Mihalyi. “I think we have to acknowledge there’s a lot grief there”
The Syracuse Community Choir is just one of the more than 265 non-profit art organizations of artists that responded to a survey led by CNY Arts.
Participants shared data from April to May.
On average, agencies said they only have money to carry them through the fall.
“Without infusions of revenue you could theorize that come mid-October, agencies are going to either go to mothball, or some will close down permanently,” said CNY Arts executive director, Stephen Butler. “I think another thing that agencies might be looking at is some sort of merger or strategic alignment.”
Besides being able to provide entertainment for people, the arts have proven to be a big economic driver for the local economy.
A CNY Arts study from 2018 found that attendees of arts and culture events spend an average of $99 million, excluding admissions.
PPP Loans did provide some short-term relief for art agencies, but other means of funding have been lost.
“We were not surprised by that data; it really confirmed our worst fears. We felt we needed to create the COVID Impact Fund to try and help organizations through this period, since they are limited in the amount of income they can generate at this point in time,” said Butler.
With most means of revenue gone during the pandemic, the arts council wants to raise $1 million in relief funding.
“There is definitely big challenges ahead I think for all of us. How to balance life-and-death kinds of financial support that we’re gonna need, as well as our bread and roses, too; people need both. People need both sustenance and art to give us hope,” said Mihalyi.
The regional arts council has already raised more than $80,000 in relief funds. It will help reach seven counties across Central New York.
Those interested in contributing can here.