Pandemic packs hit for Dayton arts organizations

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Dayton boasts an extensive art experience, but the coronavirus pandemic caused local arts organizations to take a major hit.

Organizations are now coming together to figure out what to do long-term to still deliver that experience and keep the arts alive.

“The Schuster Center is part of Dayton Live, and Dayton Live has had to reduce their staff from 300+ down to about 30 people,” states Lisa Hanson, the Executive Director for Culture Works.

Performers and those behind the scenes were immediately out of work. The economic impact extends well beyond the stage and the initial loss in ticket sales.

“The arts are used to attract tourists to our area, which results in hotel stays and restaurant visits and so forth,” says Hanson.

Culture Works helps fund and support dozens of arts organizations in the Miami Valley. According to its latest study, the arts drove $214 million dollars into the local economy last year.

“The Dayton Art Institute, Muse Machine, Human Race Theater Company, the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance,” Hanson lists some of the organizations Culture Works supports.

This year, with no shows, no audiences, and empty venues, the industry faces major losses. Culture Works estimates local arts took a $2 million dollar hit early on. As months go by, those dollars keep adding up. The concern now is not only financial but also for the future.

“What do we look like? We’re going to emerge from this a little different and I think we’re going to see a hybrid. You know maybe some virtual components to all of our arts,” says Hanson.

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