MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The coronavirus pandemic has certainly caused economic chaos.
In addition to restaurants, bars, and retail stores, it’s also taken a toll on Miami-Dade’s art scene. Artists are suffering, cultural centers are closed and there is concern about a major art show.
“The arts right now are hurting, no question about it in Miami-Dade County. The arts are a one and half-billion-dollar business, they employ 40 thousand people and in just the past month the Department of Cultural Affairs determined there has been 60 million dollars in losses in the artistic community,” said Dennis Scholl, President and CEO of Oolite Arts.
Art galleries are open but many are by appointment only and many artists, who live on a thin margin anyway, are facing a double whammy.
“They live a very close month to month existence even in the good times and so you place them in a situation where they can’t work and (they’ve) lost part-time gigs as art handlers, as art teachers, things like that, then everyone is put into a precarious position,” said Scholl.
In the past few months, Scholl’s Oolite Arts has funded 500 artists with $250-thousand for projects.
Arts patrons have stood up but not enough to fuel the local art scene and the high profile cornerstones of the arts are shuttered for now. The Arsht Center for the Performing Art is closed and its staff has been reduced while the Pérez Art Museum Miami is closed until at least September 1st.
An example of loss, the Arsht Center has canceled more than 160 shows, a revenue loss of $11 million.
As for the future of the area’s biggest art economic engine, the $500 million impact of Art Basel, it remains to be seen
“Art Basel Hong Kong has been canceled. Art Basel in Basel has been canceled. As of now the position on Miami Beach is it is on,” said Scholl. “But as you know the Miami Beach Convention Center is a field hospital for COVID-19 so no one knows what will happen.”