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Useful Arts Industry Resources During Covid-19

In these uncertain times, knowledge is power. Although the future may not be fully predictable as of right now, it is important for members of the arts community to stay informed and focused as we tackle the immediate challenges presented by the current situation and plan for a future beyond the Covid-19 outbreak.

At Spektrix we have the opportunity to bear witness to the inspiring work done by the organizations with which we work, from our client base across the nonprofit and commercial arts sectors to our industry partners. Taking inspiration from these organizations, we’ve utilized our industry knowledge to compile some particularly helpful resources below in the hopes that they may be of use to art organizations in the coming weeks as we face the challenges of Covid-19 together. 

We will be making updates to this page on a continual basis. If you see information which has been replaced by newer advice, or if you would like to share a resource with us, please contact us at consultation@spektrix.com.

Here’s what’s available to you if…

...you want to find out more about the sector during Covid-19

If you want to keep as up-to-date as possible regarding the latest developments during this outbreak, there are several resources which provide regular updates. International Arts Manager, the global magazine for performing arts professionals, is now offering three months of their digital subscription for free in order to help people stay informed on the industry. You can also subscribe to industry newsletters such as Broadway Briefing, who send out daily updates on new developments regarding Covid-19 alongside uplifting anecdotes from members of the Broadway community. American Theatre Magazine also regularly publishes “Dispatches from Quarantine” blogs, which contain relevant news about the outbreak while maintaining a positive focus on how the arts industry can remain productive during this period of quarantine. These resources keep their readers in the loop without spreading panic or excess negativity, helping members of the arts community stay motivated and focused. 

...you would like to chat with other members of the nonprofit arts community

In times like these, collaboration is key. Thankfully, there are several useful online forums in which members of the arts industry can discuss strategies and responses to the Covid-19 outbreak. The International Ticketing Association (INTIX) has created a forum for arts professionals to discuss adapting ticketing strategies in response to the outbreak. Additionally, you can join the Covid-19 Charity Preparedness Group on Facebook to discuss and compare contingency plans and best practice tips on how to mitigate the effects of the outbreak on your organization’s income, operations, and staff. The Results Group for the Arts (TRG Arts) is also currently hosting weekly virtual roundtable discussions with the company’s CEO, in which participants can discuss how best to manage short-term impact and plan for long-term gain. 

...you are leading an organization

There have been recent developments for government aid programs being offered to North American organizations. In the United States, the Paycheck Protection Program offers up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to businesses with 500 or fewer employees to help them keep their teams intact during the Coronavirus crisis. The program can support eight weeks of payroll and essential business costs (e.g. rent, utilities, and mortgage interest) through loan forgiveness. Applications can be submitted now via your existing SBA lender or federally insured depository institution. For more details on program criteria and how to apply, please see the below resources:

For further reading on U.S. government aid, our partner the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) gives a broader look at government resources for those who wish to learn more about what’s on offer for arts organizations.

In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has proposed the new Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, which is aimed to prevent further job losses and would provide a 75 percent wage subsidy to eligible employers (nonprofits and registered charities included) up to $847 per week for up to 12 weeks, retroactive to March 15, 2020. In order to be eligible for the aid, an employer must have seen a drop of at least 30 percent of their revenue in March, April, or May when compared to the same month in 2019. Applications for the program can be made through the Canada Revenue Agency’s “My Business Account” portal. 

The Canadian government is also considering additional support for nonprofits and charities. We will be sure to monitor the situation as it develops and update this page with any further information. In the meantime, the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres has compiled a comprehensive list of resources for arts organizations in need of government aid. 

As a manager or leader within your organization, it may also be useful for you to take a look at McKinsley & Company’s comprehensive blog post suggesting the best management approach for leaders to effectively respond to the outbreak. If you’re looking for immediate, short-term actions that you can take in response to the situation as it develops, Jacobson Consulting Applications has compiled a helpful list of actions that your organization can take right now in response to Covid-19. If you are looking for clarification on available relief for employers as they expand their paid leave policies to accommodate sick employees, the Performing Arts Alliance have provided an overview of these provisions on their website. 

For a resource that may prove useful across the various departments of your organization, digital marketing consulting firm Capacity Interactive is hosting a “Boot Camp for the Arts” livestream on Thursday, April 23 that will feature presentations, Q&A interviews, and case studies from across the arts industry on leadership, marketing, fundraising, and wellness.

...you are a fundraiser

Fundraising is vital to many arts organizations right now. Fortunately, there has been a surge of materials created to help fundraisers best prepare for the challenge ahead. First, it may be useful to take a look at this helpful Covid-19 Fundraising Event Toolkit put together by fundraising event experts Swaim Strategies, which includes advice and resources to help fundraisers best manage cancellations and adapt events to suit the need to observe new limitations on mass gatherings. Spectrum Nonprofit Services has also collated a detailed breakdown of some steps nonprofit organizations can take to best maintain their bottom lines in the face of rapidly changing circumstances. 

There are also several webinars that may be of use to fundraisers as they build their strategies over the coming weeks. HowlRound Theatre Commons have produced an ASL-interpreted webinar alongside Grantmakers in the Arts entitled Emergency Preparedness and Response: Covid-19 and the Arts Ecosystem, which provides some guidelines for fundraisers to best construct long-term strategies for resiliency. HowlRound TV have also put together a useful guide to help performing arts organizations move their performances online via their live streaming platform. The Nonprofit Academy has also put together a webinar called A New Normal: Fundraising in the Wake of the Covid-19 Market, which lays out some guidelines on how best to navigate this confusing and ever-changing market and create solid, focused plans in the face of uncertainty. 

...you are a content creator

Communications make up another vital piece of the puzzle when strategizing for the future in the wake of Covid-19. For a helpful overview, the International Arts Managers’ Maria Roberts has put together 10 tips to help the arts sector in response to the outbreak, which highlights some key strategies that marketers should keep in mind as they adjust their marketing plans moving forward. 

It may also be useful to view this case study by the Arts Marketing Association (AMA), which highlights how Russell Dornan constructed and maintained a digital marketing strategy on behalf of the V&A Dundee venue for 18 months before it opened in 2019. His insight into how he promoted a space that was closed to the public could offer some useful parallels in the wake of new restrictions on public gatherings. 

Capacity Interactive also has some suggestions for how you can maintain your marketing presence in the minds of your customers as they are asked to stay at home for the next while: rather than slowing down, CI advises that now is the time for arts organizations to ramp up their digital marketing efforts! Along these same lines, Really Good Emails have put together a collection of exemplary emergency emails organizations have sent out in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. These may serve as a useful reference for arts marketers when constructing email tone and content moving forward. 

If you are looking for some inspiration on how to share cultural content online, Substrakt have set up a “Culture Fix” tool for users to peruse art exhibitions, performances and podcasts. 

...you just need a mood boost!

Perhaps all you need at the moment is a bit of good news. Branding agency Supercool have compiled a list of heartwarming examples of the creative industry working together in these trying times. Similarly, web agency Substrakt have collected some instances of what they refer to as “unprecedented, but not unexpected kindness.” The examples highlighted in these lists showcase the greatest strengths of our industry: its unfaltering resilience in the face of the unknown, and its endless capacity for kindness and compassion, regardless of the circumstances.

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Looking for more information? The National Endowment for the Arts in the U.S. and the BC Alliance for Arts and Culture in Canada have both collated extensive lists of resources for arts professionals.