When talks of reopening after lockdown went underway, the arts and cultural sector sought help from research company LaPlaca Cohen to conduct a cultural study. The goal was to find out ways museums can navigate and make reopening plans after the COVID-19 crisis, in order to best serve the community through art and culture.
However the study was conducted prior to the surge of protests over systemic racial injustice, triggered by the senseless killing of George Floyd. As a result, the report covering the period between April 29 and May 19 and entitled “Culture and Community in a Time of Crisis,” does not present changes in sentiments following the serious events that transpired after the lifting of the lockdown orders.
Nonetheless, LaPlaca Cohen is set to undertake a second study this coming September.
The “Culture and Community in a Time of Crisis” was actually presented as a special edition of LaPlaca Cohen’s Culture Track research, to present what many looked forward to in art, and what they expect from the cultural sector when museums and concert halls reopen post-lockdown.
What the Public Wants and How Important are Art Institutions?
While the authors of the study tried to paint a picture of what the American public hopes to see and experience from art institutions, the information was based on what many had busied themselves with while under lockdown. The impressions gathered from the answers given by about 124,000 respondents of the survey, was not as encouraging as the art and culture sector had hoped it would be.
About 53 percent of those surveyed indicated less enthusiasm in consuming content provided online by established arts organizations.
The largest portion of the respondents (38%) had chosen the category “Individual Performer, Artist, Band, or Ensemble.” as their single online source for arts and culture. While the second largest (17%) answer went to the “Somewhere Else”category under which Art and Design Museums, Performing Arts Center, Aquarium, Zoo orere potential choices. Around 14% of those who chose this category picked “I don’t know” as their sub-answer.
To a question that asked how they were introduced to cultural activities online, 6% answered thru Social Justice Organizations or Arts Activism, which was about the same percentage as those who got introduced by way of “Dance Groups.”
When asked how they want the arts and culture organizations to help them during the health crisis, the study summed up the answers as those that have beauty as the appealing factor and at the same time fun and lightheartedness.
While 61 % of those surveyed have awareness that art institutions and organization in their community experience financial difficulties, only 16% placed needy cultural groups amon the top priorities for charitable funding.
Of the factors given as having the most influence on decisions to visit in person, a museum or art institution or a cultural event, about half of the survey respondents selected the the availability of a COVID-19 vaccine as the top answer.