I hope you are all in good health. Amid this unsettling time, we see the power of the arts truly at work. Top orchestras around the country are performing to empty venues, and broadcasting live on social media. Freelance artists and cultural institutions are switching to online teaching and keeping our young aspiring artists engaged. The creative pursuit to keep our spirits up and that of our communities is a sign that we need the arts in our lives, through great and tough times. At the Ramsdell, we want our community to know how much we value them, especially in times of crisis. While we work on social distancing, we want to take this time to send out virtual hugs and appreciation to you all.
As a leader in the state of Michigan, I serve on the council for the state arts agency (Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs) and the board President of Michigan Presenters (venues such as the Ramsdell and of varying sizes). I’ve been on multiple statewide and national calls over the last several days to stay informed on the status of the arts industry. What is happening now to the arts industry as a result of the pandemic, is unprecedented. Industries like the NCAA, NBA, and Late night shows, are all temporarily suspended. Broadway, arenas, and small venues like the Ramsdell, are also linking arms to fight the spread of the virus. However, it comes at a cost. When you factor it all in, the arts industry is losing millions in revenue for the sake of public safety, and we are proud to be a part of the solution.
As you know, the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts has taken the necessary steps to postpone events. This decision has been beyond our control as our state government implemented a temporary prohibition that won’t allow us to hold public events with over 250 people. Since yesterday, the CDC is asking to postpone or cancel events with 50 people or more for the next eight weeks (until May 15). We trust that this is the best strategy for the health of our community. We also have to consider the health of our organization and artists. Postponing an event gives us a fighting chance of earning revenue, and just as important, it offers artists an opportunity to get paid. As we monitor the situation, we will continue looking at opportunities to reschedule so that you can still enjoy a quality artistic life.
We will get through this challenging time, but how? Not through ticket sales, rentals, or concessions. It is because of you, our supporters, that we will. We want to sincerely thank you for your support, because especially now, it has significant meaning beyond what we would have imagined. Your support has not only helped us plan and execute our public events, but it is currently helping us as we defer income for the good of public health. Thank you again, and we look forward to when things are back to normal.
Executive Director, Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts