COVID-19 Economic Impact: Brooklyn Artists and Arts Organizations

In April 2020, Brooklyn Arts Council surveyed artists and arts organizations in order to aggregate comprehensive insights about how COVID-19 is financially affecting individuals and organizations in the borough’s cultural sector. Read on for an overview of the data or download the survey results here.

Survey results May 2020 cover.jpg

Artists

Most individual artists who responded to our survey are full time artists who are experiencing cash flow issues because of COVID-19. Nearly two thirds said that they either would or did not know if they would have to file for unemployment, and most are not recieving support from family or friends. At the same time, artists reported that, in some cases, they were spending thousands of dollars on equipment, technology, and other supplies as a result of the virus.

Of 159 artists responding:
-The largest percentage of respondents (47%) were visual artists.
-37% work on a freelance basis and 48% work full time as artists.
-80% responded that they are experiencing cash flow issues because of COVID-19, and -53% said they had experienced delayed distribution of payments or expected income   because of the virus.
-Respondents gave a range of answers when asked how much income they expected to lose because of COVID-19, from 0% to 100%, and up to $60,000.
-67% of those responding said either they would have to file for unemployment or were not sure if they would. Most (63%) said they are not receiving any support (financial, food, housing, or work space) from friends or family.

Organizations

Arts organizations reported facing layoffs, postponing programs, and cash flow issues as a result of COVID-19. Most listed salaries and wages as the most urgently needed areas of funding, and said that staff were spending many hours responding to COVID-19.

Of 26 organizations responding:
-Organizational budgets ranged from less than $10,000 to $3.2 million.
-42% of respondents had postponed programs due to COVID-19
-54% said that they had either already laid off staff or would likely do so
-Percentage of staff already laid off ranged from 0-100%.
-Organizations estimated their staff had cumulatively spent anywhere from 12 to 1,500 hours preparing for, managing, or responding to COVID-19.
-Most (65%) said they had experienced delayed distribution of payments or other expected income, and 80% expected cash flow issues as a result of COVID-19.
-Salaries and wages were most commonly listed as the most critical funding needs as a result of COVID-19.


As our gathering places temporarily close, our creative residents have lost employment opportunities, support systems, and access to essential resources. Help us sustain our artists through this incredibly difficult time so that, when the time comes to gather together again, they are able to celebrate with us. Join us in supporting Brooklyn artists.

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