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Arts Sector Response to COVID-19 & Black Lives Matter

June 6 Edit: In the last two weeks, as the nation has erupted in protest of police brutality against black people across the United States, artists and cultural institutions have been reckoning with racism in arts sector and how the industry can participate in the Black Lives Matter movement. This blog will also share articles and resources on racial equity in the arts.


The COVID-19 pandemic is having a profound impact on the arts sector, as events are cancelled, attendance dwindles, jobs disappear, and artists and administrators look at innovative ways to address this current situation.

In an effort to support our field during this uncertain time, we have created this site as a collection of resources and information for artists, administrators, and audiences in response to the impact of COVID-19 on the arts sector.

If you have a resource or an observation to share, please leave a comment or email MAAA program administrator Emily Caffery.

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Racism and Antiracism in Music Theory and Higher Education: Professor Philip Ewell Speaks Out

A speech by Professor Philip Ewell (GC/Hunter, Music) about racism in music theory has sparked a controversy so fractious that it’s generated media coverage ranging from Fox News and the Dallas Observer to Inside Higher EdNPR and the National Review.

The controversy is rooted in the legacy of Heinrich Schenker, whose techniques for analyzing classical music are widely taught. But Schenker, who died in Vienna in 1935, was also an outspoken white supremacist and German nationalist. Ewell says Schenker’s views on music cannot be separated from his views on race, and that the study of Schenkerian theory has helped “legitimize harmful stereotypes about Blacks and other people of color.” More…

Association of Performing Arts Professionals: Anti-Racism Resources

APAP has curated and carefully assembled a growing collection of important resources to guide and support you in practicing anti-racism in your work and your life. APAP aims to provide members and the field with a broad range of information from diverse sources addressing racial equity, decolonization, cultural justice, gender and other critical issues. More…

NPR: One-Third Of U.S. Museums May Not Survive The Year, Survey Finds

The effects of the pandemic-related shutdown on the country’s museums have been dire, says AAM President and CEO Laura Lott. In a survey released Wednesday of 760 museum directors, 33% of them said there was either a “significant risk” of closing permanently by next fall or that they didn’t know if their institutions would survive. More…

Vulture: Prop-Handling Rules? Trombone-Free Zones? A COVID Theater Think Tank Convenes to Plan Ahead

There has also historically been a big communication gap between Broadway and everywhere else — even though commercial and nonprofit theaters share a knowledge base and constituency, they are rarely in consistent contact. So Matt Ross, a producer and publicist who works both downtown and uptown, put together a task force to get them into conversation. The COVID-19 Theatre Think-Tank (CTT) deliberately draws from as many of theater-making corners as possible, from stage managers to directors, from the Great White Way to regional theaters. Since March, the group has been in talks with public-health officials, pooling knowledge and letting epidemiology experts steer the conversation about what a post-shutdown theater might look like. More…

WNYC: UK’s Lessons for the US Theater Industry

Jesse Green, co-chief theater critic at The New York Times, and Kristin Marting, founding artistic director of HERE Arts Center, join us to talk about the status of New York’s theater industry amidst the pandemic and the United Kingdom’s new $2 billion arts bailout. We also take calls from our listeners about how they’re coping in the theater industry. More…

Increasing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at NYC Cultural institutions

By Lorie Caval

During my time as a grad student at Baruch, I noticed some things that made me question the DCLA’s Action Plan and CUNY’s Cultural Corps program. Particularly, I questioned the functionality of DEI initiatives as they related to graduate students like myself who were studying the specialized field of arts administration. More…

Forbes: How To Get $1,000 If You Are A Freelancer, Gig Worker, Or Independent Contractor

Under the CARES Act passed on March 27, 2020, independent contractors, gig workers, and freelancers affected by the coronavirus crisis are eligible to receive a government grant of $1,000. The SBA sometimes refers to these grants as “advances,” but you are not required to repay this money to the government. More…