NASAA Notes: April 2020

April 7, 2020

Utah, California: COVID-19 State Impact Research

While a variety of national surveys are attempting to assess the effects of COVID-19 on the arts, many state arts agencies are conducting state level research to get an early read on the economic impact of the pandemic. Such surveys are being used to inform policy dialogues with state elected officials as well as to gauge the scale of relief assistance needed by the arts sector. Utah and California were among the earliest states to release their results.

Utah: COVID-19 and Its Economic Impact on the Cultural Sector

Image courtesy of Utah Arts and Museums

Utah Arts and Museums (UA&M) created a survey in partnership with the Utah Department of Heritage & Arts, Utah Cultural Alliance, Utah Humanities, Utah Museums Association and local arts agency partners throughout the state. The online survey instrument was distributed to individual creative practitioners (including artists, musicians, designers and humanities scholars) as well as cultural organizations (nonprofit, government and commercial) across Utah. The preliminary report of findings, COVID-19 and Its Economic Impact on the Cultural Sector, reveals that 88% of respondents have canceled events due to COVID-19. More than $40 million in financial losses to date were recorded. Nearly $12 million of those losses stemmed from admissions income while about $17 million came from nonadmissions income. More than 735 job cutbacks were reported in the initial days of the COVID-19 crisis, with another 4,325 anticipated layoffs on the near horizon. More than $3 million in unanticipated COVID-19 related expenses have been incurred, further intensifying the budgetary squeeze for cultural activities. These are early results; as more data is collected the report will be updated. For more information, contact UA&M Communications/Marketing and Literary Arts Manager Alyssa Hickman Grove.

California: COVID-19 California Arts & Culture Sector Early Impact Survey

Image courtesy of the California Arts Council

The California Arts Council (CAC) conducted a survey of California’s creative sector to measure the impact of the novel coronavirus on the state’s cultural economy. The survey was issued to individual artists and arts organizations on March 12, 2020. 3,049 responses were received from arts organizations and artists prior to the closing of the survey on March 26. The results are synthesized in an infographic, COVID-19 California Arts & Culture Sector Early Impact Survey. Arts organizations estimated an average revenue loss of $193,642 each and cited staffing costs and operating support as their top two most urgent needs. Individuals reported an average personal income loss of $23,857 each and cited housing costs and basic living expenses as their most acute challenges. The results reveal stark vulnerabilities, not only among arts organizations who count on mass gatherings for their revenues, but also among artists residing in the state. The respondent pool included many individuals experiencing housing insecurity (43%) and food insecurity (38%) as well as individuals lacking adequate medical insurance (35%). Most individual artist respondents (84%) also indicated that they were currently ineligible for paid sick leave, paid family leave, disability coverage or worker’s compensation. To learn more about the research, contact CAC Director of Public Affairs Caitlin Fitzwater.