Buncombe arts impact survey shows $18.7 million in losses since March

Press release from Asheville Area Arts Council:

On July 24, Asheville Area Arts Council launched the Buncombe County Arts Business Impact Survey to quantify the impacts of COVID-19 on our local arts community. Over 100 arts businesses replied to the survey. Responses came from organizations that are primarily located in Asheville, Black Mountain, and Weaverville. 

Before the pandemic, it is estimated that there were over 500 arts businesses in Buncombe County, 200 of those being nonprofits. The results below represent a 20% response rate, with 69.5% coming from for-profit businesses and 30.5% from nonprofit arts organizations. 

Combined survey responses show: 

  • $18.7 million in lost revenue since March 2020
  • Out of 806 jobs, 70% have been lost or furloughed
  • 2,499+ canceled artists contracts equaling approximately $5.4 million in lost revenue
  • If things do not change, these organizations can stay in businesses: 11.2% – 1-3 months, 26.5% – 6 months, 24.5% – 9 months to 1 year, 18.4% – over 1 year, 19.4% – not sure
  • 16.2% are still not open in any capacity; of those organization that are open: 7% – fully reopened, 42.1% – operating virtually, 42.1% – open at limited capacity
  • 77.4% said they are having little to no trouble with patrons following health guidelines (i.e. mask, social distancing)
  • 21.3% are having trouble sourcing PPE supplies
  • 17.1% reported they are still unable to bring in any revenue; those organizations that are bringing in revenue are primarily doing so through online merchandise sales (42.7%), in-person merchandise sales (31.5%), and contract/commission work (32.6%)
  • Arts business have received funding support from: 24.7% – PPP Loans, 22.1% – BC Tourism Jobs Recovery Fund Grants, 12.3% – EIDL Loans, 8.4% – SBA Loans, 5.2% – NEA Cares Act Grants, 2.6% – Unemployment/ PUA, 1.9% – One Buncombe Fund Grants/ Loans, 22.7% – Have received no funding support
  • Many of the nonprofit organizations reported that donations have decreased this year and that most of the donations they are receiving are coming from long time donors. 

This is the third survey arts impact survey the Asheville Area Arts Council has conducted since March and is one of the many ways the council has been supporting the local arts community. Visit ashevillearts.com to learn more about their current initiatives.

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