Arts community hit hard by crisis

Northwest Connecticut Arts Council logo
Northwest Connecticut Arts Council logo

NORTHWEST CORNER — The impact of the COVID-19 crisis is being felt by everyone, including artists who make their living off of their work.
The Northwest Arts Council serves 25 towns in the state and recently issued a survey for artists, musicians, and creative sector employees on the impact COVID-19 has had on individuals.
According to survey results from more than 50 individuals in the creative sector: 26 percent of respondents have lost all sources of income, 60 percent of respondents are completely out of work, 92 percent have lost one or more sources of revenue and 15 percent of respondents do not have health insurance coverage.
According to a press release issued by the council, some of the professions that are in critical need include dance and yoga studio owners, professional musicians, tattoo artists, professional visual artists, photographers, singers, actors, salon owners, and hairstylists.
“Individuals in the arts and culture industry are in dire need of support, council Executive Director Steph Burr wrote in the press release. “The arts are often overlooked, but it is important to remember that we are talking about people’s jobs and their lives. As of right now, there is very little support for gig workers, 1099-contractors, small business owners, and the self-employed.”
In an interview with The Winsted Phoenix, Burr said that the arts community have all been hit hard and it might take some time for the community to recover.
“Groups including theater and dance all rely on being able to perform in front of a crowd,” Burr said. “Individual artists have been hit hard as well. Many of them are contractors or are self-employed and they don’t have any unemployment to fall back on.”
Burr said that, for artists to continue with their work, including local arts organizations, they are all going to need as much community support as possible.
“I hope we don’t see local arts organizations shut down, but the longer this crisis goes on for, the higher the risk,” Burr said. “There are programs that are being put in place that offer loans from the state and other help, but we want to help organizations as much as possible so nothing gets shut down. I would also hope that state representatives will keep artists in mind in this crisis.”

The council’s survey for creative individuals is available here.

The Americans for the Arts survey for arts and cultural organizations survey is available here.

The council’s links for helpful information for arts and culture organizations.

Helpful information for artists, 1099 employees, and/or self-employed individuals March 27, 2020.

The Torrington Collective has set up an emergency fund for Northwest Corner artists in need.

The Northwest Connecticut Arts Council’s website.