COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The Ohio Citizens for Arts says performing arts groups were the first to shut down but will be the last to come back.
Since the pandemic began, the arts industry has lost $3.1 billion dollars across Ohio, according to The Ohio Citizens for Arts.
“We’re a 41-billion-dollar industry in Ohio and arts and culture employs nearly 300,000. We are currently the highest unemployed industry in Ohio,” said Angela Meleca, Executive Director of Ohio Citizens for the Arts. “As you can imagine, having a business shut down to the public for nearly 6 months, has a dramatic effect on earned revenue and their bottom line.”
Meleca says performing arts groups could lose generations of talent and the venues to showcase it without help.
“It’s very difficult to lose a ballet and bring that back quickly. These are organizations that have taken years and decades to build and that’s really the crisis at hand,” said Meleca.
Due to reopening guidelines in Ohio, performing arts groups can only hold 15% or 300 people in a room which makes it difficult to host events.
“We’ve done surveys and it shows that a third is fine coming back now, a third would be hesitant and there’s a third that simply said ‘‘we’re not comfortable coming back unless there’s a vaccine,” Meleca said. “So even if we were able to reopen fully, the attendance factor and who would come out is a concern as well,” she continued.