Friday, December 4, 2020     Volume: 21, Issue: 40

Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on October 21st, 2020, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 21, Issue 34 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 21, Issue 34

Coalition of Arts Leaders addresses exclusion of performing arts in state, county reopening plans

Thirty-eight leading members of the Central Coast Coalition of Arts Leaders have signed a letter urging state and county elected leaders and health department officials to prioritize the performing arts industry in COVID-19 guidelines and reopening plans. 

“It’s not like you can order Beethoven’s 7th for curbside pickup,” Anna James Miller, co-founder of the coalition and executive director of the San Luis Obispo Symphony, said in a statement. “The performing arts industry needs special attention, right now, if we are going to come through this crisis intact.”

According to the coalition, research shows the negative economic impact of the arts sector, hard-hit by COVID-19 closures and social-distancing mandates, to be $13.9 billion nationwide. The coalition also states that while the California Department of Health’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy has specific breakdowns for a wide range of industries, the performing arts industry has been excluded. 

With no clear guidelines for arts groups or venues, many local arts groups have received contradictory answers after reaching out to state or county officials for help. 

“We are all asking similar questions, but the answers seem to depend on who you speak to,” Miller said in a statement. “Local officials are left to their own devices to interpret the rules for the performing arts, while other industries have very clear guidelines.

The letter from the coalition notes the discrepancies between the current guidelines for similar industries and oversight for the performing arts industry and also emphasizes the willingness of signing organizations to adapt performances to outdoor venues, pre-recorded events, drive-ins, and other socially distanced options.

The quest for better COVID-19 reopening and recovery guidelines is part of what inspired Miller to co-found the coalition and unite local arts groups, according to the coalition’s press materials. 

“There’s strength in numbers. The performing arts industry has always been a force for good on the Central Coast,” Miller said in a statement. “By coming together, we hope to encourage state and local leadership to include us in the conversation.”

Weekly Poll
Would a second stay-at-home order be effective at slowing the spread of COVID-19?

No, pandemic fatigue is too high to get people to follow a stay-at-home order.
Yes, we need it, otherwise our hospitals will be in rough shape.
Local governments should get a say—not all purple tier counties are the same.
It would be bad news for the economy.

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