In the last couple months, the normally vibrant energy of Greater Philadelphia’s arts scene has been subdued.
Performance venues are filled only with empty seats as artists and would-be ticket holders practice social distancing at home, the Philadelphia Business Journal reports.
The arts and culture industry is a cornerstone of Philadelphia’s economy, creating $4.1 billion in impact and supporting 55,000 jobs that generate $1.3 billion in household income for local industry staff, according to the Greater Cultural Alliance of Philadelphia. The sector also fuels $125.6 million in state taxes and $98.7 million in local taxes, for a total of $224.3 million.
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After enduring the initial shock of the powerful economic driver coming to a pandemic-spurred standstill, local arts venues are looking ahead to reimage what performances and venues might look like when the virus lets up.
At The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, a cornerstone of Philly’s Avenue of the Arts at 300 S. Broad St., more than 300 performances and events have been canceled from March to June, said CEO Anne Ewers. The venue hosts about 25 graduations annually, plus weddings, bat mitzvahs, Broadway musicals and other events. With that business evaporated, the location is looking at $5.3 million in losses, which is anticipated to “grow substantially” if normal operations can’t resume in July.