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COVID-19 Economic Impact Survey: March 2021

The COVID-19 Economic Impact Report provides the most complete view thus far of the economic, social and programmatic damage inflicted on the region’s arts and culture sector by the pandemic.

The report represents the combined results of two surveys conducted by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, the first survey conducted from October - November 2020 and the second survey conducted from January - February 2021. 289 organizations participated over these two surveys. Participating organizations have budgets ranging from $2,000 to $55 million, cover the 5-county Greater Philadelphia region, and represent every artistic discipline.

The survey and analysis were designed to provide concrete data on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the arts and culture sector in the 5-county Philadelphia region. From the resulting data, recommendations were developed to inform elected officials, funders and other stakeholders in creating solutions to these pressing challenges.

From the survey results and projections based on sector-wide analysis, several key findings emerge, previewing a financial and workforce crisis for arts and culture as well as a devastating impact on the Philadelphia region’s long-term prospects for recovery.

Report Highlights:

  • The estimated total revenue loss for the entire Greater Philadelphia arts and culture sector from March 2020 - March 2021 is $371.7 million.
  • 41% of responding organizations are not likely to survive beyond Fall 2021 on current contributed and earned income streams.
  • 46% of survey respondents said their most urgent financial need - and period of greatest risk - is between January and June 2021.
  • The top financial concerns are reduced earned revenue (87%) and reduced philanthropic giving (63%)
  • The organizations surveyed reported that 6,569 cultural workers were affected by the pandemic. 2,452 positions were laid off or furloughed, 801 positions have reduced hours and 3,316 contractors have had their work cancelled or significantly reduced
  • 38% of organizations have cancelled or significantly reduced their social impact programming serving vulnerable populations.

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The COVID-19 Economic Impact Report was made possible with support by the Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation.