Normally during the summer, we witness an influx of new movies in the theaters — almost to the point where it feels like they are being shoved down our throats. At this time of the year, we also tend to see a surge in the new theater on Broadway and cultural events that include everything from film festivals to art fairs.
But this year is different.
With all of the hurdles we have all had to face over the past couple of months as a result of COVID-19, it is easy to overlook just how much it has affected the art industry, especially since movie theaters and galleries are not even officially considered as essential businesses.
It certainly does not help that the people often fronting the art and film industry are wealthy celebrities, who probably have not had to deal with nearly the same amount of economic and social challenges as everyone else.
However, according to a survey conducted by the Americans for the Arts, arts and culture organizations across the nation are estimated to have lost a combined $4.5 billion as a result of the current pandemic.
Due to a steady rise in technology over the past 20 years, any content that can be transmitted over the Internet has seen its price severely cut. The music industry has been hit especially hard over the past couple of years due to streaming services like Spotify. As a result, many artists and cultural institutions have learned to seek the majority of their income through things that cannot be digitized, most notably live performances.
Now, those in-person face-to-face events are no longer an option.
As a live art form, theater, in particular, has been affected by the coronavirus, along with concerts and stand-up comedy. London’s iconic West End, second only to New York’s Broadway, is at risk of losing over two-thirds of its theaters and production companies by the end of this year, according to The Guardian. Most recently, Regal Cinemas announced that it would be indefinitely closing all 536 of its theaters in the US, affecting roughly 45,000 jobs in the process.
Again, while it is easy to glaze over the effects coronavirus has had on the arts — what with all the drastic changes it has made to our own lives — they are a vital part of society.
Art challenges us to see things from different perspectives — to connect with what we are feeling while also helping us to better understand the world around us. It brings people from all walks of life together.