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$588 million lost. 30,000 jobs impacted. A new report shows the damage done to the arts industry

Stages in the Theater District largely stayed closed since the pandemic turned the world sideways last March.Stan Grossfeld/ Globe Staff

One year into the pandemic, Massachusetts arts and cultural organizations have sustained severe financial losses amounting to at least $588 million, according to a new report from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Through five surveys conducted since last March, the organization found that 981 nonprofits and municipal groups in the culture sector lost millions in earned and contributed revenue. In the Greater Boston area alone, 314 groups reported $423 million in losses.

“Our once booming, innovative, and vibrant cultural sector is in economic crisis,” MCC executive director Michael J. Bobbitt said in a statement.

Total reported lost revenue from 981 cultural organizations since March (in millions)Massachusetts Cultural Council

The study also found that the year-long closures and restrictions adversely affected individual employees and artists.


More than 30,000 jobs at the institutions who responded to the survey were impacted by layoffs, furloughs, or wage reductions. And some 2,000 artists, teaching artists, and scientists/humanists in Massachusetts lost $30 million in personal income. These creatives reported 67,000 gigs canceled since the pandemic closures began.

In January, Governor Charlie Baker proposed a 10 percent cut to state funding that is funneled to MCC, which invests in and provides grants to the arts, culture, and humanities in Massachusetts. Arts advocates have come out strongly against the action.

The MCC is also supporting a bill, titled An Act to Rebuild the Commonwealth’s Cultural Future, that would allocate at least $200 million from any additional COVID-19 relief the state receives to cultural institutions.

“Significant public investment in the cultural sector is urgently needed to not only stabilize, but also move into recovery,” Bobbitt said in a statement.

Per recent state guidance, theaters and large events venues are allowed to reopen at limited capacity in Massachusetts later this month. Live music performances at restaurants can also start up again.

Diti Kohli can be reached at diti.kohli@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @ditikohli_.


Diti Kohli can be reached at diti.kohli@globe.com.Follow her on Twitter @ditikohli_.