Artists and organizations were among the first to respond responsibly to help slow the spread of the virus.
Venues immediately canceled or postponed prepaid events, reduce hours and even suspended operations. Individual artists and creatives lost gigs – and pay – without warning.
Now by mandate of Governor Gretchen Whitmer their doors are locked until further notice.
The ripple effect is devastating.
The costs of those cancelled shows were paid up front and now rent and other obligations are due. Like other businesses, they are doing their best to take care of staff. In the best of times arts and cultural nonprofits struggle to meet their monthly obligations. During a crisis, without cash flow or reserves, every day their audience is kept away makes it more likely that they may never reopen their doors.
Nonprofit arts and cultural don’t have or qualify for the usual emergency economic relief packages.
Gig artists – musicians, actors and event production teams who are hired and paid per engagement – lost gigs and pay without warning the moment when these local events were canceled.
Gig artists do not qualify for unemployment, most do not have health insurance and do not have day jobs.
The greater Ann Arbor region claims to place a high value on these assets that add so much to its quality of life and place and contributes greatly to its economic vitality.
People in our community support arts and culture through personal philanthropy and we are grateful.
Public and foundation funding does not reflect community values.
No established emergency fund exists for individual artists and creatives or arts and cultural organizations in Washtenaw County. Not for lack of trying, unlike other communities, we have no provision, no funded arts commission or foundation in Washtenaw County is prepared to offer a substantive lifeline to protect the creative sector.
The permanent devastation to our arts and creative sector that is going to be caused by Covid-19 pandemic crisis has made us more painfully aware of this than ever.
We have run out of time waiting for someone else to do it.. The Arts Alliance has established the Creative Washtenaw Aid 2020 fund to collect donations and extend assistance the artists and creative organizations adversely impacted by Covid-19.
We must try something different to assist the arts + creative sector that is vital and valued but remains under-resourced and under-supported in times of prosperity and certainly in times of need.
The people in our community are stepping up to help those in need during this unprecedented moment in our history. We are asking and hoping they will remember the artists and cultural organizations that are not covered by public services and programs afforded other sectors.
In the best of times these nonprofits struggle to meet their monthly obligations because they are under capitalized. Without cash reserves, every day their audience is kept away makes it more likely their doors may never reopen.
Out of work without notice and without pay!
“Gig” artists such as musicians, actors and event production teams are paid per event. Once the gig is cancelled, there is no pay. It doesn’t matter the artist has spent time and money already.
Together, we will change the paradigm!
Let’s find you some support!