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Arlington’s Art Scene is Asking for Help

With performances canceled and potential gatherings impacted by COVID-19, a local nonprofit says that catastrophe looms for arts organizations without assistance from Arlington County.

Embracing Arlington Arts released its “State of the Arts in Arlington” survey earlier this month, and the results revealed a decimated local industry that has lost more than $10 million this year.

“We all can agree that the arts have been and will continue to be a critical component of our healing, our sanity, our quality of life and our overall well-being as together we fight this virus and protect our citizens,” Embracing Arlington Arts President Janet Kopenhaver wrote.

Embracing Arlington Arts is asking the Arlington County Board to consider helping local arts organizations with financial support, assistance locating safe performance venues, and facilitating introductions with potential corporate donors.

The survey of Arlington’s arts organizations found:

  • Arts organizations laid off 15% of full-time staff and 55% of part-time staff as of Nov. 1
  • More than half lost 41%-60% of their income
  • 43% reported that they would have to close their doors in the next 16 months without “additional financial resources”
  • Only 10% believe the earliest they will be able to offer live performances is within the next four months

Despite the challenges, Kopenhaver said that artists and arts organizations keep giving back to the community with virtual performances, donations for the Arlington Food Assistance Center, arts classes, and arts kits to the Bridges for Independence’s family shelter.

“From our younger generations to our seniors to residents with disabilities to those struggling with depression or mental illness, the arts can help us survive this pandemic and be stronger when we can all come together again,” Kopenhaver said.

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