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Utah's arts and culture scene takes a $29 million hit from COVID-19

Thousands of jobs at risk
Posted at 7:49 AM, Mar 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-21 09:49:35-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The coronavirus pandemic has delivered a significant blow to Utah's arts and culture scene, according to a new report.

The Utah Cultural Alliance, an advocacy group for the arts community, said a survey it conducted found the cultural sector of the economy has already lost $29 million. In addition, 642 jobs have been lost with another 4,000 in jeopardy.

The UCA has been tracking events that have been canceled. It's a sobering list of concerts, ballets, plays, festivals, games, films, gallery strolls, lectures and other events that might draw a crowd and, therefore, spread pandemic.

"While the sector is in need of significant financial investment to survive these trying times, it is also adapting," UCA director Crystal Young-Otterstrom said in a statement announcing the survey.

A number of concerts and other arts events are moving online. Her group has posted a growing list of "virtual events" at They include the Repertory Dance Theater hosting classes online, seminars on self-preparedness, and the popular Art & Soup charity gala holding a virtual event.

UCA has launched a petition drive to push government leaders not to forget the arts in any economic recovery efforts.