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08
Oct
2020
Posted in programming

Virtual programming a lifeline, but NJ arts remain in dire straits

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Poetry, painting, sculpture and song are emerging from one of the darkest periods in modern U.S. history.

Bucks County Courier Times

Virtual programming isn’t a Band-Aid for arts organizations anymore. It’s become a lifeline for many groups in New Jersey while theaters, museums, studios and more remain shut down due to coronavirus.

And it’s become a key component of their futures, even when it’s safe for the curtains to go up and the doors to re-open.

The good news is that virtual programming has been somewhat of a silver lining, allowing organizations to stretch their innovation, keep some employees on the payroll, continue connecting with audiences, expand their reach beyond their local communities, and, in some cases, even raise funds.

But despite the bright points, there’s no way to sugarcoat the situation as a whole. The shutdown forced by the pandemic, which began in mid-March, has decimated the arts industry in the state and around the country.

The stars will be out in Newark this fall and winter at New Jersey Performing Arts Center. (Photo: Courtesy of NJPAC)

New Jersey’s nonprofit arts institutions lost $30 million in revenue as of July, a number that has only continued to grow, according to the ArtPride New Jersey Foundation and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

More: NJ theaters, museums have lost $30M so far due to COVID. Here’s how you can help.

New Jersey’s nonprofit arts sector is made up of more than 500 theaters, museums, galleries, performing arts centers, dance companies, symphonies and other cultural groups across the state. 

It’s not just the organizations themselves that are suffering. The ripple effect the industry has on its communities is far-reaching.

In fiscal year 2019, it pumped more than $662 million into New Jersey’s economy, including $29 million to local