Responding to the COVID-19 Crisis in our Arts Communities across Texas
At 12 noon, Friday, March 13th, Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared a state of emergency for Texas. Please reference the Texas Department of Health and Human Services website - dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/ for detailed information about the state's public services and response to COVID-19. This will be updated regularly.
As we are all aware, our communities across Texas are responding to the challenges regarding the spread of the Coronavirus, COVID-19. We are seeing serious restrictions on assembly, being asked to "self distance", some being asked to quarantine, and to take all precautionary measures to keep ourselves and our communities healthy. Public health is our priority.
As arts leaders, we are also keenly aware of the significant effect COVID-19 is already having on our arts organizations and individual artists across the state. From the cancellation of major events to museums closing doors, from celebrations and festivals being postponed, to performing arts venues being closed, with a significant trickle down effect to individual artists and the nonprofit sector seeing anticipated income decimated and the future for job losses apparent. And while working to remain calm and thoughtful, we know we will be facing even more challenges in the coming days/weeks/months.
At the local, state and federal levels, we need to work together to advocate to be at-the-table for economic stimulus packages currently being discussed and to ensure that arts and culture are supported - as a critical part of our community and as a cornerstone of the tourism economy which is currently being decimated. The arts must be a part of the solution moving forward.
We expect to see local, state and federal government response to the devastating financial impact of COVID-19, and Texans for the Arts will be advocating to ensure that the needs of the arts and culture sector are considered and included. Please remember that you aren't alone. As a membership based organization "we work for you and with you" and we mean that through thick or thin. Our work is never done.
Limitations on mass gatherings are now a reality in all of our communities. Please take these restrictions seriously- their intention is to slow the spread of this epidemic to a level such that the healthcare system is able to maintain quality care for patients. Mass gatherings during an outbreak of a particularly infectious disease such as COVID-19 have the potential to result in large numbers of ill people that can quickly overwhelm local hospitals and clinics.
Community by community, the impact of COVID-19 is variable and rapidly changing, but everywhere it is deadly. We know how challenging this time will be for everyone in the creative sector and beyond, and we will face it together. We are gathering resources and information, and are working with state and national partners to gather data to assess the impact of postponements and cancellations.
We must all continue to look out for each other and if Texans for the Arts can help you in a specific capacity, please reach out to us. We are here as a resource to you now and always.
Thank you for your work and stay well!
Ann S. Graham
Texans for the Arts