Art and culture are integral to New York’s economy and sense of community. COVID-19 has hit the sector and its people hard.

art,New York,COVID-19
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Upper East Side, Manhattan. Circles spaced six feet apart, marking where people were to stand while waiting to enter in certain numbers due to COVID-19. 29 August 2020. Photo by Sadie Dyson

COVID-19 has hit New York City’s arts and culture hard.

In March 2020, because of COVID-19, the entire sector was forced to close.

Museums shed one third of their employees. More than 50,000 workers in the arts — 60% of total employment in the sector — lost their jobs.

The first museum to shut down, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, closed its doors on March 12, 2020. The Museum of Modern Art, the American Museum of Natural History and the Bronx Zoo struggled with a dramatic decrease in revenues and absence of a support system.

Art in New York has power, even with COVID-19.

These shut-downs affected owners of small galleries and artists who found themselves without jobs and paychecks.

Artists, actors, musicians, stagehands and freelancers found themselves unemployed. Many reported a feeling of devastation caused by the sudden disconnect with their communities and livelihoods.

The arts and culture are essential to the city’s economy but also to its sense of community.

What I have observed in New York City is the power of art in public spaces and marketplaces to bring people together, increase civic participation and deepen a community’s bonds.

It is vital that art should be preserved.

art,New York,COVID-19
Times Square

A mother, father and son in Times Squares taking note of the activity around them as a location that was previously bustling with people and activity has been significantly reduced. 13 November 2020. Photo by Maeve Brown

art,New York,COVID-19
Streets

A man riding on his bike along the bike path in Lower Manhattan. A depiction as well of the bike stations provided by Citibank. 5 February 2021. Photo by Marjorie Kreynin

art,New York,COVID-19
“Art on the Grid”

Tillary Street between Court Street and Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn. Digital kiosk representing the project in which 50 New York-based artists used their art and work to express their experiences throughout the pandemic. 30 July 2020. Photo by Sadie Dyson

art,New York,COVID-19
Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central Terminal and the Grand Central-42 Street subway station. Public art glass installation by Jim Hodges, “I dreamed a world and called it Love.” He described that it was his desire “to rise to the occasion of the historic context of Grand Central Terminal and celebrate the people who give New York its identity for many years to come.” 4 January 2021. Photo by Sadie Dyson

art,New York,COVID-19
John Finley Walk

Lower Manhattan, East River. John Finley Walk stretches for about 38 miles along upper and lower Manhattan and includes trail paths in which people can use for walks and leisure time. 13 September 2020. Photo by Marjorie Kreynin

art,New York,COVID-19
Central Park

Upper West Side, Manhattan. Since COVID-19, there has been increased usage of public spaces and resources such as parks and bikes — “citibikes,” especially, since there are stations around the city for rentals. 23 October 2020. Photo by Marjorie Kreynin

art,New York,COVID-19
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Upper East Side, Manhattan. People with their friends and families waiting to be let into the museum. 29 August 2020. Photo by Sadie Dyson

art,New York,COVID-19
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Upper East Side, Manhattan. People waiting to be let into the museum in small numbers. 29 August 2020. Photo by Sadie Dyson

art,New York,COVID-19
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Upper East Side, Manhattan. This photo was taken when the Met first opened to the public after the initial hit of COVID-19 in the months previous. It captures a hopeful message of “Dream Together,” encouraging the element of community. 29 August 2020. Photo by Sadie Dyson

Three questions to consider:

  1. Do you know how significant the arts sector is in your community’s economy?
  2. During the pandemic, were you able to support the arts sector without participating in person?
  3. Do you think that COVID-19 will end up changing how we relate to art and entertainment?
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Sadie Dyson is in her final year at the Hewitt School in New York City. She is part of her school’s Service Board, which helps local communities in New York, and The Wave Club, which she co-started and which addresses global feminist issues. Dyson is a News Decoder Student Ambassador, and her passions include squash, English and Art History, which she writes about on her art blog.
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Maeve Browne is in her final year of high school at the Hewitt School in New York City. She is the editor of the school yearbook as well as a member of the theater tech group. Her passions include Photography, Music, History and Anatomy. She will be attending Hamilton College in the next academic year.

 

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Marjorie Kreynin is in her final year of high school at the Hewitt School in New York City. She will be attending Columbia University starting next academic year. Her favorite subjects are Math and History, and she plans on studying Economics and Applied Mathematics at university. Outside of school, she enjoys photography and has been ice skating for 12 years.

 

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WorldAmericasHow art & culture in New York have suffered during COVID-19