Arts and Marketing Professional Freddi Wald Discusses How COVID-19 has Impacted the Arts
Within the past ten months, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a disastrous impact on the global economy, with experts placing total costs close to $28 trillion dollars. While the pandemic has left no industry untouched, the US arts and culture sector has lost nearly 2.7 million jobs and 42.5 billion in revenue while receiving little in government relief. To this end, many artists have had to find supplemental work during the course of the pandemic. While many artists have taken to selling products online, the question must be asked, what has been the total impact of COVID-19 on the arts? Freddi Wald, head of Membership at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, has seen first hand the effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on US artists and believes the art community will continue to experience the negative repercussions of COVID for the next few years. Below, Freddi Wald will discuss the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the arts and culture sector.
Since the beginning of COVID-19, many artists have experienced financial difficulties due to canceled exhibitions, commissions, and contracts. Even more worrisome, 66% of US freelance artists are now reporting that due to COVID-19, they are unable to access the supplies, space, and resources needed to continue creating their artwork. Many experts believe that the United States will soon experience a loss in artists who may seek out steady employment in other industries in light of these factors.
Websites like Etsy, Shopify, and Saatchi Art have helped artists during COVID-19 market their artwork and connect with prospective customers. Like other industries, the art community has turned to remote work in response to social distancing and CDC restrictions. As more consumers have started using online shopping to avoid entering crowded public spaces and out of necessity, artists are now relying on online stores and social media to help showcase their work as well as launching their own or collaborative websites, filled with ideas, creative works, and ingenuity
In one survey, over 15,000 artists were asked if they had made a post-pandemic recovery plan for their business; 80% answered no. On average, the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to cost an artist 24,000 dollars. While some artists have been able to acquire grants and financial assistance from artist organizations such as Americans for the Arts and National Endowment for the Arts, the majority of American artists have received little or no financial assistance. However, this is expected to change under the Biden Administration, as President-elect Joe Biden and his transition team have discussed plans to reinstate the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities as well as increase funding to numerous art programs, in additional to inviting expert Arts leaders to serve on advisory transition committees.