Arts industry in CRD uncertain about future amid pandemic
Performers with Victoria's Theatre SKAM host a mobile performance, a new program that was launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic: (CTV News)
VICTORIA -- Dozens of arts and culture organizations across the Capital Regional District (CRD) say they are uncertain about the future as COVID-19 health restrictions enter their fourth month.
On Monday, the CRD released the results of a survey that collected information on how arts groups were responding to the pandemic.
Out of the 60 organizations that responded to the survey, which took place between June 9 and June 17, 82 per cent said that they believed their financial losses would continue until the end of this year.
Most of the groups, at 71 per cent, said that they expected to see losses of up to $49,000 this year. Meanwhile, 14 per cent of the groups said they were bracing for losses between $50,000 to $99,000.
Approximately 10 per cent of the groups were concerned over losses of $100,000 to $499,000 while roughly four per cent said they were anticipating losses between $500,000 and $999,000.
Meanwhile, roughly 48 per cent of the groups said that they had to cancel programming for the rest of 2020, and 28 per cent said that they had to lay off staff due to the pandemic.
“The survey reflects a high level of uncertainty in the sector with only one organization reporting no cancellation of programming,” reads a summary of the results written by the CRD.
To continue to deliver performances and other content, most arts groups in the CRD have turned to internet alternatives.
Approximately 78 per cent of local organizations have created an online alternative or modified version of their usual programming.
Roughly 33 per cent have begun to release web videos, approximately 26 per cent are using live internet forums or other virtual meetings, and 14 per cent have begun to release online podcasts.
Meanwhile, some 8.8 per cent are continuing to host some form of live, street-level performances.
Under normal circumstances, the CRD provides roughly $2.4 million in funding to local arts organizations across the region.
In 2019, these organizations employed 3,564 people and produced 3,357 events.
“Although 2020 will present significant challenges for many arts organizations, we look forward to the light the arts will shine on the shadows cast by the current uncertainty,” said James Lam, manager of CRD Arts & Culture in the report.
“The Arts & Culture Support Service will continue to do its part to invest in creativity and to support, promote, and celebrate the arts.”