COVID-19 costs billions for US culture sector

COVID-19 has dealt a severe blow to the arts in the US. That’s according to a new report from Americans for the Arts (AFTA), which found that the virus has already cost the sector USD4.5bn (€4.15bn).

Based on a study of more than 11,500 artists, arts organisations, and arts agencies since 13 March, AFTA reported that 69% of culture organisations have experienced a ‘severe’ impact due to the virus. Over one third of companies have already cut creative staff as a result.

The troubling statistics continue: 29% of organisations have had to dip into financial reserves; 23% have laid off administrative staff; and nearly a quarter have cut salaries for those employees that remain.

“We are doing what we can to help save as many jobs as possible, as quickly as possible,” said National Endowment for the Arts chair Mary Anne Carter. The NEA has distributed around USD30m in aid funding since the start of April.

AFTA’s COVID-19 Impact on the Arts Survey is ongoing, and arts organisations are encouraged to re-take the it every three to four weeks. The survey, which takes five minutes to complete, is available via the AFTA website.