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Creativity helps arts stay alive in pandemic

Creativity helps arts stay alive in pandemic

Larry R. Thompson
 |  President of Ringling College of Art and Design

In last month’s article, I shared my belief that creativity is the path that will lead us through this pandemic. In the coming months, I will highlight areas of life and the economy in which creativity is not only keeping us going, but also driving new ideas and new ways of doing things that may well remain as we emerge from this crisis.

As Clay Lord, vice president of Americans for the Arts, has said, “We know that there can be no recovery without creativity. On the other side of all of this, we cannot simply end up with the systems and structures that we had before.” 

Nationally, arts and culture is an integral part of our society, adding $877 billion to the annual economy, with 5.1 million American workers. The arts account for 4.5 percent of the annual GDP. As with so many other aspects of our lives, COVID-19 has deeply impacted the creative arts.

According to a study done by USA Today, from April to July 2020, about 2.7 million jobs and $150 billion in revenue were already lost in this sector. Of course, the impact of the arts and culture to the Sarasota community is especially significant.

According to an American for the Arts study commissioned by the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County, the nonprofit arts and cultural community in Sarasota generate $295 million in total economic activity and support 7,445 full-time equivalent jobs. Plus, the plethora of  arts and culture in this community separates Sarasota from other Florida beach towns.  

As brutal as the national numbers listed above are, the real losses are being felt by the communities in which individuals live. More than 100,0000 community theaters, art galleries, music venues, performance

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