Arts Cleveland has been closely monitoring the rapidly evolving situation with COVID-19 and the regularly updated news and guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Ohio Department of Health. The Governor’s most recent order to ban all mass gatherings over 100 people, and to close schools for a three-week break, are crucial to slowing the spread of COVID-19 and reducing the strain on our hospital systems. Nevertheless, the impact of COVID-19 on our region’s artists and creative economy will be profound.
Our creative industries employ nearly 62,500 people, generating $3.3 billion in associated income and over $9 billion in economic impact. In times of crisis, we look to our creative industries as a source of joy, solace, relief and togetherness – the arts help us heal. It is for all those reasons that we must ensure the continued strength of our sector as we travel through this tense and uncertain time.
Recommendations to support our creative economy now
- For grantmakers, consider relaxing your grant payment policies, allowing nonprofit organizations to request partial payments to address cash flow issues; pay out grants even if events don’t happen; and develop relief funds for those in the creative industries operating without a safety net;
- For governments considering relief packages and others with small business loan opportunities available to for-profits, consider extending those opportunities to creative businesses as well;
- For nonprofits, consider alternative forms of programming that allow residents to connect and our creatives to continue bringing joy, hope and healing to our residents;
- For creatives, now is the time to deploy that creativity; consider a move to online platforms for your private lessons with students; and perhaps use this time as an opportunity to invest in yourself, your business model and creative growth.
- For patrons whose events have been canceled (not postponed or rescheduled), consider making your ticket purchase a donation, instead of requesting a refund; consider also donations to the crowdfunding campaigns of our creative workforce via platforms like Kickstarter, Patreon, etc.
Arts Cleveland will remain available to serve our creative sector – but staff are working remotely for the next few weeks. We will focus our efforts on gathering resources to help our creative sector, which can be found on Creative Compass. We will work with our partners and funders to facilitate information gathering and sharing, and we will continue to educate and advocate on behalf of our creative industries.
Reach out to let us know how you are doing and what you need.
We are here for you. Stay healthy.
More about how our creative sector is affected by COVID-19
We must remember that artists and creative workers are at the core of the creative industries and a significant part of the gig economy. They do not benefit from paid sick leave and other forms of paid time off. Cancelled gigs mean no pay, and with little safety net, that puts our creatives at risk. We must also remember that many nonprofit organizations and education institutions who are significant sources of employment for creatives rely heavily on endowments. The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on our markets further exacerbates the earned revenue issue already at play in those organizations because of lost ticket sales. Moreover, ticket sales rarely cover the costs of these events. Nonprofit organizations rely heavily on contributed income from foundations whose grantmaking is heavily influenced by the market. For our for-profit creative businesses, such as live music clubs, art galleries and the like, access to capital is regularly an issue. However, in times like these, it is critical.
Lastly, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture is working to update event cancellations on ClevelandArtsEvents.com. If you have postponed or canceled an event that is posted, you are welcome to login and update the event by adding ” – Canceled” or “- Postponed” to the event title and offering additional details in the event description.