Can art experiences survive

The arts are most frequently a communal experience. This is entirely true for performing arts, but even visual art enjoys an added benefit from exhibition space. Museums are designed to highlight pieces and collections, and the gallery space feels an energy from the possibility of gathering crowds, even if none are present.

The act of making art can be an individual experience or shared, but its enjoyment is almost ubiquitously communal.

In the age of a pandemic, organizations committed to offering shared experiences are facing an uncertain future.

The bright side, of course, is that at the other end of this health crisis, you can be certain that the public will resume arts-going activities. The organizations may change as a result, but there will be those committed to bettering the lives of all through the arts.

Estimates are that millions of small businesses will close as a result of the pandemic, and this includes arts organizations as well. The challenge for an organization is to survive. Recent news about Warner Bros. bringing their films to HBO Max same day as theatrical release was met with heavy criticism from theatrical venues, and some questions from filmmakers.

Producers of plays and musicals across the nation are trying to decide how to move forward, some offering public performances, others trying streaming, either newly performed or from their catalogue of prior productions. Museums have tried virtual tours and online Q&As, to name a few.

For the first time in likely a century, arts organizations are fundamentally required to innovate – the alternative is facing a closure.

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