COVID hits area artists, organizations hard


CNY Arts, a regional arts council, has recently examined the impact of COVID-19 on the arts and creative industry across Central New York, according to a release.

A survey was conducted by Research Marketing Strategies between April 20 and May 20. More than 265 artists and nonprofit arts organizations responded, with 75% of survey respondents indicating the pandemic was having a severe impact on their livelihoods or organizations.

“We knew the arts community was going to be hit particularly hard because of the pandemic closures. CNY Arts moved quickly to fully understand and quantify the impact of COVID-19,” said Stephen Butler, CNY Arts executive director, in a release. “The survey results confirmed our fear that our arts sector was in peril and we need to act fast to help save the arts in our region.”

Among points made in the survey (which can be read online at:

The combined loss of income, actual and projected, by Sept. 30 is $15 million. Organizations’ losses total $13 million and individual artist losses are $2 million.

Agencies reported, on average, they only have an additional 23 weeks of cash reserves. By October these organizations will be stretched to the breaking point. 

By April, organizations reported having already eliminated an average of 4 full time jobs from their operations.

Without emergency relief, starting now, many arts and cultural organizations will begin to close down permanently, the survey reports.

While venues such as museums and historic sites are beginning to reopen, large performance driven agencies and many small community-based arts programs are still paused, and have had to cancel numerous events. Those that are reopening are finding that safety protocols and equipment come with significant costs. 

To combat any critical needs in the arts, CNY Arts is creating a $1 million relief fund for the arts, cultural, and heritage industry across seven counties in Central New York. Information is available at the website


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