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Dallas arts community has now lost almost $68M due to COVID-19

In the 4.5 months since the coronavirus shutdown began, more than 1,200 jobs have been cut, according to a new survey of Dallas arts and culture organizations.

The Dallas arts and culture community has lost $67.7 million since mid-March, when businesses across Texas had to shut down due to COVID-19, according to a new survey. 

The number of people laid off or furloughed almost doubled, going from 649 at the end of May to 1,219 in a recent survey.

This is the second such survey since the pandemic began. The total losses have more than doubled since the original survey at the end of May.

RELATED: Dallas arts and culture community loses more than $33M in first 2 ½ months of coronavirus closures

The responses shows most of the additional losses – 86% – were from 52 groups who participated in both surveys. Those organizations accounted for $29.5 million of the $34.12 million of the losses in the past two months.

Both community surveys were conducted by The Arts Community Alliance, Dallas Arts District and the Dallas Area Cultural Advocacy Coalition. Between both surveys, 91 organizations participated, with 52 responding to both.

"All of these organizations are just struggling to hold on," said Terry D. Loftis in a news release. "The philanthropic community is certainly working to step up and help, but these losses are staggering. And given the rate they are growing, we've got a huge challenge to overcome."

Loftis is the president and executive director of The Arts Community Alliance, which has distributed over half a million dollars in emergency coronavirus grants to 70 different organizations.

The end of support from the Payroll Protection Program and the federal CARES Act impacted furloughs and layoffs, organizations reported in the poll. Fifty groups said loans expiring led to cuts in their workforce or reduced pay, the poll found.

“It’s really pretty simple. Everyone is trying to find enough cash so we can live to fight another day,” said Joanna St. Angelo, president of the coalition.

While businesses in many industries have been able to open or partially reopen in recent months, most arts and culture organizations rely on live, in-person events. Due to the coronavirus, a cumulative estimated attendance of over 2.1 million has been lost or deferred since March 13.

In August, the Texas Ballet Theater said it was canceling The Nutcracker, which was set to open its 2020-2021 season. This cancellation was almost entirely because of audience capacity limitations and the potential effect on revenue to offset the cost of performance.

Six museums surveyed the first time have reopened or announced plans to reopen, including the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, Nasher Sculpture Garden and the Crow Museum of Asian Art at the University of Texas at Dallas. 

The Perot Museum of Nature & Science and The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza are also working on reopening plans, though specific dates have not been announced.

About 80% of the respondents said they plan to reopen either by the end of the year or in the first half of 2021.


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