GREENSBORO, N.C. — Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many small arts programs continue to face a long recovery in Greensboro.
ArtsGreensboro announced a $25,000 grant award from the Guilford Merchants Association to continue supporting the Reentry and Reinvent Campaign.
The campaign aims to bring back small organizations who had operations shuttered by restrictions.
“Putting dollars into the ecosystem as well as making sure the organization is very comfortable with where they need to allocate those dollars, we will help them with that,” said Laura Way, ArtsGreensboro’s president and CEO.
She explained that the grant money will be used to expand the shared service program, which offers low-cost financial management services to art groups with budgets under $250,000.
Way said it’s an important first step in recovery.
“Knowing your financial position allows you to make strong intentional decisions, and that’s very important as we plan for reentry,” she said.
She said that while there are signs of progress, the pandemic has hit Greensboro’s arts scene hard. The group tracked losses from the beginning of the pandemic.
“That number for 24 organizations was $24 million in decreased economic impact. That’s a big number, so now we need to look at the next six, 12, 18 to 24 months on how we recover as a sector,” she said.
Bel Canto Company, a non-profit choir ensemble has been unable to hold live performances for more than a year.
“That’s resulted in more than $75,000 in lost revenues in the last year. And we’re not a very big non-profit to begin with, so that has certainly taken a toll,” said Jeffrey Carlson, the company’s executive director.
Carlson said the group will continue virtual programming until case numbers are under control.
“Because singing generates so much aerosol and so many droplets, it’s probably one of those things that we will be the last things to reopen. We can’t put 45 people in an enclosed space or even on stage side by side in a way that will be safe for our singers,” he said.