COVID-19: Arts & Cultural Sector Support
Together with our local, regional, and national partner organizations, ArtsNow has been closely monitoring the ever-evolving facts and guidance regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus) in order to best support our Summit County arts and cultural community.
Our priority is the collective health, safety, and wellness of all patrons, staff, volunteers, audience members, artists, and organizations. While there is still much that remains unknown we hope the following information and resources are helpful to our partners and community in navigating this complex situation.
In the past week, the leadership of your arts, culture, and environmental organizations of all sizes came together with colleagues across sectors to share best practices and resources for how to keep our communities safe. During times like these, it is a great comfort to serve alongside conscientious leaders whose primary focus has been the safety of our community.
Your Safety and Wellbeing
We urge everyone in our community to stay safe and follow the guidance emerging from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
– Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently with soap and water.
– Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
– Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
– Wear a face mask if you’re caring for someone who is ill.
– It is not too late to get your flu vaccine if you haven’t already.
As information becomes available, organizations at the front lines have been updating resources and information online: Summit County Public Health, the Ohio Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization. You can sign up for the CDC’s email updates here and for the WHO’s email updates here.
Beware of hoaxes, lies, and junk science being spread via social media. Remember to check the sources before sharing information online or within your own networks.
Dispel the Stigma
According to the CDC, “Fear and anxiety can lead to social stigma towards Chinese or other Asian Americans. Stigma and discrimination can occur when people associate an infectious disease, such as COVID-19, with a population or nationality, even though not everyone in that population or from that region is specifically at risk for the disease (for example, Chinese-Americans and other Asian-Americans living in the United States).”
Arts, culture, and environment have traditionally been a safe space for healing and for growth. During this time, our sector will continue to lead by example to combat the spread of associated stigma and discrimination fueled by fear and misinformation. I urge you to join us in this work.
Support Arts, Culture, and Environment
While there is so much that is strong in our cultural community, the reality is that our funding ecosystem is fragile. Actively supporting our artists and cultural organizations is always important – but proactive, additional support during the uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis is essential.
Here are three ways you can support arts and culture during this time:
1) DONATE: Organizations are being as flexible as possible on their ticketing policies. If you choose or need to stay home from cultural events that you purchased tickets for, consider donating your unused ticket back to the organization instead of requesting a refund. Transferring your ticket purchase to a donation supports organizations’ futures in an uncertain time. And, if you are able, please consider making a financial donation to organizations as well as individual artists, many of whom accept immediate and long-term support.
2) ADVOCATE: Ask artists and cultural organizations how you can support them during this time. We are currently conducting a survey and facilitating community conversations in partnership with regional and national colleagues to understand the magnitude of risk and immediate/long-term needs. The results will help inform more local solutions and support as quickly as possible.
3) SHOP LOCAL AND ATTEND AS APPROPRIATE FOR YOU: Many have canceled events in keeping with best practices and mandates. Some remain available based on the realities and precautions associated with those specific events. We need to respect and support these hard decisions and approach them with empathy and understanding. As you are comfortable attending remaining events, please continue to do so.
In addition to events, consider shopping local. Businesses from music venues to galleries remain open for business.
Importantly, if you don’t feel well or are at greater risk of illness, please follow current guidance, including staying home.
In the days ahead, ArtsNow will continue to work to share information and resources for our community as they become available. Today, we have accumulating information we will continue to update.
Emergency Resources: Julian Curet, our graduate student intern from The University of Akron, has been working diligently to update this spreadsheet of resources available to artists navigating this situation and in need of financial support. It will continue to evolve as we move forward
COVID-19 Freelance Artists: Colleagues nationally have been updating this resource that started as a group think in Google Drive and transitioned late yesterday to WordPress.
ORGANIZATIONS (For profit/Not-for-profit)
Today, at 2:00pm EST, the National Guild for Community Arts Education is hosting a webinar for arts organizations: https://nationalguild.org/events/covid-19-arts-education-community-conversation
CDC’s Resource for Employers and Employees: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/businesses-employers.html
You can watch a webinar “Prepare Your Organization for the Coronavirus Outbreak,” presented by the Event Safety Alliance
League of American Orchestras: https://americanorchestras.org/advocacy-government/disaster-relief-for-nonprofits/coronavirus.html
Coronavirus Communications: Messaging During a Time of Crisis:https://www.turn-two.co/blog/2020/3/4/coronavirus-communications-messaging-during-a-time-of-crisis
Lessening the Risks to Nonprofit Organizations: https://www.thenonprofittimes.com/npt_articles/lessening-the-risk-of-coronavirus-at-nonprofits/
Guidance for Business and Employers:
The National League of Orchestras is encouraging our community to sign a letter of support for nonprofit orchestras and musicians. This can be done online: https://americanorchestras.org/advocacy-government/be-heard/contact-congress-today.html
The Performing Arts Alliance is encouraging our community to sign a letter of support for artists and the performing arts organizations. This can be done online: https://www.theperformingartsalliance.org/issues/voter-voice/
*We will continue to update this list as information becomes available, but at all times your voice matters. Please find your legislators and reach out to them to encourage them to remember arts, culture, and environment are impacted as organizations and a significant part of the gig economy. As relief efforts are considered, our sector should be included in those efforts.
In the interest of public health and in compliance with local advisories, many cultural organizations and groups are canceling or postponing performances and other educational and public events.
1) Artists, designers, performers, and musicians are vital contributors to our community and important to the economy of Summit County.
2) With over 13,000 jobs directly linked to the creative economy in Summit County and $1.4 billion in economic activity generated by the creative economy to the Akron MSA, the impact is significant.
3) The unexpected loss of event-dependent revenue and income for artists is beginning to be known and will grow over time.
4) Federal relief in response to COVID-19 should ensure that the needs of nonprofit cultural organizations, artists, and cultural businesses and entrepreneurs are taken into account.