ATLANTA: Dad’s Garage Theatre Company has surveyed more than 55 arts nonprofits to determine how the coronavirus crisis will affect metro Atlanta. After receiving calls from fellow nonprofit leaders to quantify the pandemic’s impact on the arts, Dad’s Garage managing director Lara Smith and the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) compiled data from most of the leading arts organizations in Atlanta, including many nonprofits in the Bloomberg Philanthropies cohort.
The survey’s key findings state that organizations are looking at average losses of $25,000 to over $1 million, depending on budget size. For instance, organizations with budgets under $250,000 are currently set to lose an average of $25,000 while organizations with budgets of between $1 million and $2 million are set to lose $345,000 on average. Presently, there are a total of $10.6 million in anticipated losses across the arts nonprofit sector in Atlanta. This number will only go up, as these numbers are underreported by a large margin—only one third of the region’s nonprofit arts organizations participated.
Additionally, the survey revealed that 19 percent of arts nonprofits in Atlanta are uncertain of their futures and may close permanently. Another 34 percent will only make it if they get Small Business Administration (SBA) funding, and 96 percent of respondents expressed the need for additional funding in the form of an unrestricted grant, with a total need of $4.78 million. Those surveyed indicated needing just over $2.5 million in loans, with 65 percent of that falling into the long-term loan category, as many are concerned that they won’t receive SBA funding.
“Cutting arts organizations and artists out of economic relief packages would be a mistake, especially since our sector is central to building a strong economy,” said Lara Smith in a statement. “Arts and culture organizations (theatres, music venues, museums) have a symbiotic relationship with many other industries, such as tourism, hotels/hospitality, travel, restaurants, and nightlife.”
“The nonprofit arts and culture sector is a $719.8 million industry in metro Atlanta, one that supports 23,514 full-time equivalent jobs and generates $64.5 million in local and state government revenue,” added Josh Phillipson, who manages Arts and Culture for ARC, in a statement. “Spending by nonprofit arts and cultural organizations totaled $434.8 million in metro Atlanta during fiscal year 2015. This money moves through our local economy and supports a variety of businesses and government initiatives. Event-related spending by arts attendees totaled $285 million in Metro Atlanta during fiscal year 2015, excluding the cost of event admission.”
On a brighter note, 64 percent of organizations started this crisis with a financial safety net in the form of reserves, a line of credit, or an endowment. The average amount of buffer is six months, but repondents’ reserves range from one month to four years. Also, 30 percent of respondents have not made any staffing changes, as they have been able to maintain current payroll and contractor payments.
For additional information on the survey, including some raw data, please contact Matthew Terrell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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