CBS 58: Artists take to social media for new ways to inspire, survive during COVID-19 pandemic

CBS 58 | April 22, 2020

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The coronavirus pandemic has devastated many communities, including the arts. 

“It has been really hard to know, obviously, what the future is going to be like, what the next day is going to be like," said Christal Wagner of the Milwaukee Dance Theater Network.

Wagner helped create a video featuring 42 dancers and musicians as a way to fundraise for the artists.

“We need this sector, right now, probably more than we ever have," said Deanna Tillisch, President & CEO of the United Performing Arts Fund.

And the experts say arts and culture in the greater Milwaukee area is getting hit hard.

The United Performing Arts Fund projects an $8.3 million dollar loss for the season.

More than 500 performances have been canceled, more than 500 employees affected.

“Nationally, 44% of arts and culture organizations do not think that they will survive COVID-19, and our groups are feeling pretty scared right now," said Tillisch.

“I firmly believe that artists are absolutely trained to deal with crisis," said Posy Knight, co-founder of non-profit 53212 Presents.

She said artists are still trying to give their bests, but for many the financial security just isn’t there.

“Many of the artists that work in our community support themselves with jobs in restaurants and so we’re sort of being hit from both sides," said Knight.