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Washburn University Rita Blitt Gallery Addition. Glass doors, interactive screen, left, warm wood floors, and white walls

Brighter Days are Ahead for the Arts

Carol Duke

Over the past year, we have experienced unprecedented impacts to our economy, health, and lifestyle. The cultural and performing arts have been severely impacted with facilities closed indefinitely or sporadically, driving arts lovers online to experience creativity in many alternate forms. Arts organizations, community leaders, and politicians have ramped up their voices and funding to support thousands of museums, performing arts centers, and affiliated businesses, trying to protect the livelihoods of the curators, performers, and staff. Behind the scenes, arts leaders have spent months analyzing how to remain solvent, making very difficult decisions about finances, staffing, and getting creative about keeping both patrons and staff safe.

Early in our new normal, we made a commitment to help arts organizations consider ways to navigate the pandemic and take steps toward re-opening with success. We spent countless hours researching and analyzing hundreds of documents and articles with the goal to develop a series of observations, recommendations, and considerations for taking those steps forward. We collaborated with clients such as the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, The Nederlander Organization, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Playhouse Square, The Cleveland Orchestra, and The Straz Center for the Performing Arts to understand their decision-making processes and best practices so we could offer the best solutions for unique organizations like theirs.

Evening view of perforated and sculpted outdoor amphitheater canopy at Onondaga Lakeview Amphitheater

Onondaga Lakeview Amphitheater in Geddes, NY. Photo by Kevin G. Reeves.

The good news is brighter days are ahead for the arts. As more people are vaccinated, state-wide restrictions are thoughtfully lifted, and the public feels more confident about re-engaging with their broader communities, arts organizations can be optimistic about the future.

We have created two guides and interactive web experiences that can assist arts organizations as they move through the next stages of opening, from financial and operational insights to facilities considerations.

Pathways to (Re)Opening Night and Pathways to (Re)Opening Exhibitions

We’d also like to hear from you. What are your pain points? What is working? What are the innovative ways that have you kept moving forward? We welcome you on an interactive journey of discovery to learn more about our findings.


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