Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Coronavirus: A law affects the business of the arts in N.E. Wisconsin




The act of going to a live performance most often includes paying for a ticket.

It is a business transaction.

Now we’re talking money and the arts.

The concept of business and the arts – or “money and the arts” – is a big deal right now because arts organizations in Northeastern Wisconsin have their backs to the wall because of the coronavirus COVID-19 invasion.

Their performance schedules are made up of X’s and ?’s – cancellations, postponements and unknowns.

“Northeastern Wisconsin’s creative businesses, like every business in the state, have been hard hit by Gov. Evers’ ‘safer at home’ orders,” said Anne Katz, director of Arts Wisconsin. “They are eligible to apply for support through the CARES Act, which was signed into law on March 27, to support their operating costs, cover unemployment for laid-off staff, and to do their best to make plans for future programming when the crisis has passed.”

CARES stands for “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.”

Arts Wisconsin is a conduit of information, notably as it relates to business and the arts. Its goals and coming activities are here:

In calling attention to the CARES Act, Anne Katz says, “Creativity is a powerful force, one that inspires, unites and soothes individually and collectively. The intangible impact of the arts is profound. Humans have been expressing themselves creatively since the beginning of time. People and places grow and are transformed by being involved in creative endeavors. The arts make us human and make community. In these difficult times, we need that force in our lives more than ever.

“Wisconsin’s creative sector is also a powerful business driver for the state, with a $10.1 billion economic impact and over 96,000 jobs – more jobs than Wisconsin’s beer, biotech and papermaking sectors. The theaters, music organizations, arts centers, museums and galleries you enjoy employ people, pay taxes, shop locally and are fundamental to the economic and civic activity in every community and in every corner of the state.”

Many, many people in Northeastern Wisconsin are involved in the arts – whether on stage acting or playing an instrument or backstage or in administrative capacities – and they might want to know more about what options are available.

To help, Arts Wisconsin’s site includes “All about the CARES Act and emergency funding for the creative sector.”

The site also is an avenue into other information, as listening sessions with the Wisconsin Arts Board and Arts Wisconsin, the next one being 9-10 a.m. Friday, April 3.

The overall picture, Anne Katz says, is “about the arts and the economy and the community.”

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