Arts and Culture in a Pandemic: An Existential Crisis – issues and actions

August 2020

The Wisconsin Policy Forum has recently released a report entitled Arts and Culture in a Pandemic: An Existential Threat This report paints a stark picture of the scenario ahead for the state’s local and regional creative sector.

Before the effects of the coronavirus pandemic took hold throughout the state and the country, Wisconsin’s creative sector provided a $10.1 billion economic benefit and employed over 96,000 people (more jobs than the state’s beer, biotech, and papermaking industries), according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.  This sector of the economy has now been particularly hard-hit because of shutdowns and cancellations of almost all live events in the state, and, the likelihood that these live events won’t really come back until there is widespread treatment, testing, and a vaccine.

The negative economic impact of the pandemic on for-profit and non-profit creative businesses in Wisconsin is currently over $34 million, according to Americans for the Arts.  Over ⅔ of the state’s creative workforce is now unemployed and these performers, artists, and other creative workers have no prospects for work in their profession for the foreseeable future.

About the report:

WPF researchers Joe Peterangelo and Ashley Fisher presented a webinar on Tuesday, August 18, co-hosted by Arts Wisconsin, Wisconsin Arts Board and WPF, to discuss the reports of the findings.   Over 145 people attended, asked good questions, and shared important points.

Other research on the state of the creative sector during the pandemic:

Take action:

Resources to help creative businesses and creative workers now and into the future:

Do you have questions or comments, or other advocacy tools and ideas that you’d like to see?  Get in touch with Anne Katz, Director, Arts Wisconsin, to discuss – she’d love to hear from you.

And please, help Arts Wisconsin keep Wisconsin’s creative economy strong in this moment of crisis and beyond, with your membership contribution.  We appreciate your support to help sustain a vibrant, welcoming Wisconsin where creativity matters for all.