One sector of the economy substantially and disproportionately impacted by the current pandemic is that of arts and cultural institutions. Across the country, and right here in Richland County, these organizations are trying to keep doors open and bills paid so that when the pandemic passes, they will have survived intact.
As we shared in a story earlier this week, the Richland Performing Arts Association alone has lost 25 percent of its anticipated revenue this year, which is approaching $500,000 in total. The Association has varied programming this year, introducing new ways for audiences to experience the arts.
In a Friday announcement on its Facebook Page, the Mansfield Playhouse, Ohio’s second oldest continuously producing community theatre, itself shared some difficult news. The Playhouse has decided to stop current productions until further notice and it is safe for staff, actors, and audience to return. This is its second such shutdown this season.
One shared factor in their decision was that the venue draws talent and patrons from a wide geographical area, making uniform health measures a concern.
This termination includes what was to be the Playhouse’s holiday production, “A Christmas Story,” set to debut in two weeks. The hope is that it can staged as soon as conditions allow, “Even if we have to have Christmas in July!,” Artistic Director Doug Wertz said in the statement. Ticket refund information can be obtained on the Mansfield Playhouse Facebook page.
Some relief has been forthcoming. This week, the Ohio Arts Council (OAC) announced 296 grant awards totaling $20 million in economic relief from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for the arts and culture sector.
Three Richland County arts organizations were included among those 296 recipients.
“This investment will go a long way in supporting the recovery and resilience of Ohio’s creative economy, which is among the pandemic’s hardest hit sectors,” said Executive Director Donna S. Collins.
Awards were determined through a tiered, need-based formula that considered each eligible applicant’s budget and reported expenses qualifying under the CARES Act.
Receiving grants locally were the Mansfield Fine Arts Guild, which received $46,900, and Richland Academy of the Arts, which received $63,400. Also on the list? The Renaissance Performing Arts Association, which received $31,000 — about six percent of its current shortfall.
You have the opportunity to help make a difference for these organizations via Richland Gives. To do so, click here.
Photo: 1812Blockhouse File Photo