‘We are the recovery; we are essential’: Nevada County Arts Council survey reveals artists, art organizations are struggling | TheUnion.com
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‘We are the recovery; we are essential’: Nevada County Arts Council survey reveals artists, art organizations are struggling

Sam Corey
Staff Writer

CONTINUING COVERAGE

The Union continues its “Investigating the Impact” series to discuss how the community is coping with the COVID-19 crisis, focusing on the toll the pandemic has had on the economy, government services, health care, nonprofits, arts &culture, education and housing, and the situation each sector faces and what resources are available to help the community move forward.

Visit TheUnion.com for more in the series.

HELP FOR ARTISTS

Resources gathered by the Nevada County Arts Council

http://www.nevadacountyarts.org/covid-19-resources

Both in and outside of Nevada County, local arts organizations have been working to bring themselves to the table on topics like education, government and the economy.

Helping three cities in the county receive two of the state’s 15 designated cultural districts, and collaborating locally with the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools, the Nevada County Economic Resource Council and more, the Nevada County Arts Council specifically has tried to prove the value of the arts, both qualitatively and quantitatively.

In recent years, the Arts Council has produced reports demonstrating the arts importance to education and to the economy — as a $46.9 million number, representing total economic activity the arts generate locally, is frequently cited.

But like most other areas of public and private life in the post-pandemic world, an early impact survey by the Arts Council reveals that the local arts industry is hurting.

Including responses from 257 people and organizations, the survey that opened March 28 and closed April 18 displays an early estimate that up to $10 million of total financial losses have already accumulated in the sector.

The lost revenue has been “very severe” for 30% of responders, and lost revenue and income totaling about $35,000 for 16% of responders. Much of the lost money comes from lost opportunities, as 94% of responders said they had work delayed or canceled and 66% of organizations said they had events canceled due to the pandemic.

One responding performing arts organization in eastern Nevada County, according to the Arts Council’s executive director Eliza Tudor, reported that after operating for more than four decades, it will likely close its doors due in part from Assembly Bill 5, which changed the nature of contract work, and the pandemic.

But notably, Tudor said the survey was not only meant to reveal bad news.

“It also provides us valuable insight, in terms of where help is most needed, and where innovation is occurring,” she said. “We need this information in order to better support the field.”

The bulk of survey responders, 65%, were independent artists, 18% come from arts organizations, and the rest hail from either non-arts organizations, teaching contractors, administrators or employees of arts organizations. Many of the responders are among vulnerable groups, including 18% who are medically uninsured or underinsured, 19% living with a disability and 68% who are seniors over the age of 64.

Now put in a more precarious situation due to the pandemic, Tudor, and other artists, believe that with less arts money circulating the county, everyone is at a loss. The Center for the Arts Executive Director Amber Jo Manuel echoed this point on a Wednesday Zoom call organized by the Arts Council, and intended to galvanize the arts community.

“We are the recovery,” said Manuel. “We are essential.”

CREATING NEW OPPORTUNITIES

Laddering up from the local level, the hit to the arts community doesn’t appear much better. According to the Americans for the Arts, arts nonprofit organizations across the country lost a full $4.5 billion as of April 6. As of late March in California, arts organizations had lost an average of $193,642 and individual artists on average had lost $23,857, according to the California Arts Council.

The lost revenue won’t necessarily return quickly because, as Tudor explained, the creative sector is often the last to gain support during periods of economic hardship.

“In terms of government support, it’s the most extraordinary blindspot,” she said. “Few others have to justify their sectors more in order to gain the attention of those who have it in their power to invest in an industry which is proven to drive the economy.”

Wednesday’s call with the local arts community was meant to help artists recognize their creative and economic powers, especially during economic downturns. The call’s lead speaker, Sierra Business Council’s Vice President of Business Innovation Kristin York, gave examples of both popular towns — like Austin, Texas — and lesser-known areas like Decorah, Iowa and parts of rural Appalachia — that lead with the arts as a means of stimulating the economy.

Many artists on the call, including Nevada City resident and painter Ron Kenedi, spoke of the importance of extending themselves to different aspects of the local community in order to illuminate their significance.

“We can’t just appeal to the same people, we have to spread that out,” said Kenedi. “We’re not a mining community, or a logging community … we’re an entertainment community.”

Local artists are trying to seize this moment as an opportunity, having conversations online about their work and helping to create Rebound Nevada County, which recruited a team of local artists to beautify city buildings and also to include artist perspectives in an e-commerce business course in partnership with Sierra Commons.

Tudor herself hopes the sector will expand the diversity of its revenue streams from both private philanthropists and various government institutions.

“A healthy ecosystem contains support from multiple sectors,” Tudor said. “And most developing communities recognize this not as simply charity, but serious investment that then supports and drives the economy more broadly.”

MORE IN THIS SERIES

Regional housing trust fund in the works for Nevada County

Nevada County looks to emphasize smaller units

No fears of housing density among planning officials

COVID-19 protocols strain Nevada County homeless shelter’s budget

Tenants, landlords arrange payment options during COVID-19 eviction ban

Patchwork of tenant protections intact for now

The high cost of homelessness in Nevada County

Nevada City collaborates with county and nonprofits to move campers off Sugarloaf Mountain

Nevada County housing market sees increased demand, limited inventory

‘I may have now but I might not tomorrow’: No uptick in Nevada County homelessness amid COVID-19, but future concerns linger

Nevada County graduates consider options in wake of COVID-19

Nevada County students receive more than $800,000 in scholarships

Graduating seniors in Nevada county weigh financial, academic concerns for college

Career education program adapts to meet needs of students

‘I just want to play’: Players, coaches, ADs and officials eye safe, speedy return of high school sports

‘Should I jump into a career?’ Many questions remain for students, teachers and administrators as the future draws nearer

Nevada County middle schoolers, high school underclassmen unsure what to expect next year

Support systems for Nevada County teens go virtual during pandemic

Sierra College summer enrollment not slowing

‘The best they could’: Nevada County Superintendent of Schools reflects on the school year, ponders what’s to come this fall

‘I can’t see the bottom now’: Administrators consider where and whether to make layoffs amid revenue shortage

‘These kids want to ball’: Youth sports organizations grapple with tough decisions regarding COVID-19 safety

Hamstrung: Nevada County summer sports scene hit hard by COVID-19 pandemic

Nevada County theaters go dark for the year

Movie theaters struggle to cover rent, utilities in an industry that typically operates with narrow profit margin

‘Planning for all of it’: Nevada City Film Festival moves online for this year’s event

Nevada County’s music festivals look to virtual events to build community, recoup finances

For Nevada County musicians, the show goes online

Nevada County artists adapt, host online galleries, concerts and workshops

Street fair cancellations in Nevada City, Grass Valley a huge economic hit

‘We are the recovery; we are essential’: Nevada County Arts Council survey reveals artists, art organizations are struggling

Who’s zooming whom? Creativity among Nevada County artists in the pandemic era

Nevada County Arts Council receives $112K Tahoe Truckee Excellence in Education grant for new project

Nevada County nonprofit funding in jeopardy

Nonprofits struggle to serve clients during pandemic shutdown

Nevada County animal rescue groups see surge in fosters, adoptions

Nevada County’s thrift stores move ahead with reopening

Possible postponement, cancellation of Nevada County Fair would negatively impact several Nevada County nonprofits

Local nonprofits feeling the effect of canceled, postponed fundraising events due to COVID-19

Feeding Nevada County: Effort to help those hungry bolstered by partnerships between nonprofits (VIDEO)

Nevada County youth organizations adjust to public health requirements

Volunteer work faces changes at Nevada County nonprofits amid restrictions

‘Do you have reserves?’ Still much uncertainty over how nonprofits will fare in coming months, years

Government business continues in isolation during COVID-19 pandemic

Nevada County, cities collaborate to reopen safely

Wildfire prep in Nevada County continues virtually during pandemic

‘This is why we signed up’: Librarian, homeless shelter manager continue working during pandemic

Financial aid offers much-needed relief in western Nevada County for those who can get it

Grass Valley trims staff in response to COVID-19 shutdown

Nevada County: Staffing, service reductions not yet needed

Nevada County property tax on par despite pandemic

Nevada County health workers say they currently have sufficient supply of personal protective equipment

Hospice of the Foothills continues providing end-of-life care during COVID-19 crisis

Senior care facilities on lockdown during COVID-19 pandemic

Residents of Nevada County senior living communities staying connected

‘Continue to plan and prepare’: Hospital analyzes finances, anticipates federal funding to ensure financial stability

Nurses in Nevada County and the region talk about why they love their jobs

Nevada County not planning to release more detailed COVID-19 case data

Officials: Testing is key in calls to reopen in Nevada County, across California

Nevada County doctors change approach to providing care due to COVID-19

The trifecta: Public health experts recommend testing, contact tracing and supported isolation to phase into a reopened world

Investigating the impact: Lack of revenue, uncertain return date causes concern for arts and entertainment venues

Impacts of Idaho-Maryland mine to be revealed soon

Nevada County artists discuss how COVID-19 shutdown has affected them

‘The arts are essential’: Center for the Arts launches emergency relief fund

Real estate sales strong in Nevada County despite challenges

No slowdown seen in Nevada County construction industry despite COVID-19 lockdown

Nevada County government, home improvement and real estate representatives talk business during COVID-19

‘I’d like to place an order’: In light of COVID-19, the demand for home delivery services in Nevada County is at an all-time high

Grass Valley, Nevada City first to feel COVID-19 economic hit

See you soon? Small business owners struggle, but are hopeful for a brighter tomorrow in Nevada County

Nevada County businesses struggle navigating economic relief

Nevada County health care providers pivot on financial tight rope

‘A sudden and dramatic downturn’: Nevada County economy will be hurt for longtime following coronavirus slowdown, expert says

‘A recession, let alone a depression’: Western Nevada County businesses apply for federal loans, but most have yet to receive money

Nevada County businesses, governments, nonprofits navigate uncertain times, worry what’s ahead

RELATED RESOURCES

http://www.TheUnion.com/coronavirus

http://www.MyNevadaCounty.com/coronavirus

Coronavirus Guidance for Businesses/Employers

Nevada County Relief Fund for Covid-19

To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey email scorey@theunion.com or call 530-477-4219.


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