By Jim Speirs, Executive Director, Arts South Dakota
These are incredible times. Our world seems to be upside down and life as we know it has essentially come to a standstill. What did you have planned for last weekend? What did you end up doing? I’m sure most of us followed health experts’ advice by staying home. Frankly, we did not have many choices, as most events were cancelled.
The current need to limit public gatherings has been especially hard-hitting for our artists and arts organizations. As a professional musician myself, I can attest to the rapidly changing reality of so many suspended events. Most of my performances, concerts and educational activities through at least the next several weeks have already been cancelled. I am fortunate to have another source of income, but many professional artists do not. As long as art openings, music festivals, local concerts, theater productions and virtually ALL arts events are cancelled, many artists will have zero income. And some artists may be less likely to have health insurance, so should they become ill, their hardships become even greater.
Arts organizations are also being impacted. With no concerts or events, and essentially no mission to carry out, local arts organizations are likely to suffer from a shortage in the revenue needed to support their employees and their facilities. The arts nonprofit sector will undoubtedly take a heavy blow during this pandemic.
We have many concerns to deal with as a community, but I urge you to remember our vulnerable creative sector. If you have the means, think about making additional donations to local arts organizations. Please consider not asking for ticket refunds to cancelled events. And when the all clear is given to resume programming, be the first in line to attend local arts events! Do you have an event planned for this summer? Make sure local artists are part of it.
Arts South Dakota will share news and support opportunities via our website for artists and arts organizations as we learn about them. We are also posting updates about arts event cancellations and postponements at www.ArtsSouthDakota.org. For other COVID-19 resources, use this direct link: https://artssouthdakota.org/covid-19-resources/.
South Dakota artists and arts organizations are a big reason we love living in our state—now is an especially important time to care for our creative community.