Artists crushed by COVID-19, with 2.7 million creative job losses in US, study finds


Big museums and mega galleries laid off workers and cut wages even as they secured tens of millions of dollars in PPP funding when the COVID-19 pandemic ended the global art world. The longer-term impact of mass layoffs and loss of earnings is yet to be felt, as the pressure on the arts and culture depletes our overall quality of life.

The fine and performing arts industries are suffering, with estimated losses of nearly 1.4 million jobs and $ 42.5 billion in sales, according to “Lost art: Measuring COVID-19’s devastating impact on America’s Creative Economy, ”a report released today by the Brookings Institution, an American research group founded in 1916 on Think Tank Row in Washington, DC

Co-authors Richard Florida, professor at the Rotman School of Management and School of Cities at the University of Toronto, and Michael Seman, assistant professor of arts management at LEAP Institute for the Arts at Colorado State University, weighed in ‘impact of the global crisis on the creative economy, including people working in film, advertising, as well as musicians, artists, performers and designers.

Looking at the period from April 1 to July 31, Florida and Seman estimate that some 2.7 million American creatives were laid off and that more than $ 150 billion in sales of goods and services for the creative industries at the nationwide have evaporated, accounting for nearly a third of all jobs in these industries and 9 percent of annual sales.

“While these findings are sobering at best, the COVID-19 crisis provides an opportunity to examine how the creative industries work in the United States and the existing policy toward them,” Seman said. “Many of the country’s most creative, skilled and savvy people are simultaneously out of work. How can we harness this resource and develop collaborative projects and programs for them that could foster interdisciplinary work, improve skills and drive innovation in processes and products? Think about what teamLab in Tokyo and Studio Théoriz in France are exploring and creating. Perhaps now is the time to incubate a “Creative Economy 2.0” across the United States that is inclusive, interdisciplinary and intersectoral. “

The fine and performing arts industries have lost about half of all jobs and more than a quarter of all sales nationwide, according to a creative industry analysis.

An analysis of the creative professions puts job losses at more than 2.3 million jobs, representing some $ 74 billion in average monthly earnings. This represents 30 percent of all creative occupations and 15 percent of total average monthly salaries in visual arts, music, drama and dance.

“You can’t add up the losses in industries and creative professions because there is a big overlap,” Seman said. For example, “many of those who work in the creative professions do so in the creative industries. For this study, the numbers should be kept separate.

The South is expected to be the hardest hit in both creative industries and creative professions, followed by the West and Northeast, respectively. The West and Northeast will lose the most revenue for the creative industries, according to Florida and Seman.

More than three-quarters, or 80%, of total estimated sales losses and two-thirds (68%) of all estimated job losses in the creative industries in the United States will impact the 53 metropolitan areas over ‘one million inhabitants. New York and Los Angeles will be hit the hardest by the absolute losses, while smaller metropolitan areas such as Las Vegas, Nashville, Tenn., New Orleans, Orlando, Florida, Memphis, Tenn., Baltimore, Jacksonville, Florida , Tucson, Ariz., And Austin, TX will suffer larger percentage losses.

Arts, culture and creativity are among the three key sectors (along with science and technology as well as business and management) that drive regional economies, according to Florida and Seman.

“Small interim measures will not repair the damage; a substantial and sustained national creative economy revival strategy is needed, ”wrote Florida and Seman. “This strategy must be bottom-up, but supported in all fields and led by local public-private partnerships between municipal governments, arts and cultural organizations, economic development and community groups, philanthropy and the private sector, with the federal and state government support. levels of government, national philanthropy and big business.

The world of fine and performing arts has radically transformed, adapting to digital exhibitions and performances. While the largest museums and galleries have the infrastructure and resources to quickly and nimbly reinvent business models, even after laying off key employees, smaller organizations will need major financial and technical support to bounce back. .

Quarantine Creativity turns a London-based theater cooperative into a global collaboration

Florida and Seman see the absence of major cultural events as we pursue social distancing as an opportunity for communities to shift to a locally grown culture.

“Communities can develop strategies to hire local creatives and create online portals and platforms to enable residents and businesses to hire local artists, musicians and performers for smaller scale local events,” they advised.

“The most critical challenge is dealing with those who facilitate, promote and perform in live events,” said Seman. “The longer it is forbidden for events to take place with large audiences, the greater the threat to the infrastructure supporting these events (such as) promoters, sound engineers, venues, musicians, dancers, directors, etc. disappear. “


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