Thursday, April 8, 2021 - Opinion: Aaron Dworkin: Black and Latinx arts community still left behind after stimulus

Aaron P. Dworkin

While the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) received $135 million in the American Rescue Plan, arts organizations that depend on live audiences are still struggling with how to reopen following COVID-19. That is, if they survive at all. If America’s famed concert halls and theaters have suffered immense budget shortfalls and faced layoffs, imagine the state of hundreds of regional symphonies, operas, dance companies, playhouses and more. Around 2.7 million arts workers are still currently unemployed, with many forced to leave their fields of music, dance, poetry and more to make ends meet with other jobs.

Just as Black and Latinx people are being hit hardest by COVID-19 from the health toll to economic impact, it is these arts professionals, and the organizations who support them through scholarships, grants, education and performance opportunities, that are in the most financial distress. For organizations without strong endowments, wealthy boards and donors, the threat of permanent closure due to the pandemic is imminent.

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