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Summary of Statewide Findings

SURVEY BACKGROUND

ArtsWA was part of a cohort of 13 funding organizations across the state that collaborated to survey the cultural sector in Washington State. Our goal was to identify cultural sector policy and financial needs related to COVID-19 recovery.

Approximately 483 organizations and 753 individual artists responded to the survey between May 28 and June 15, 2020.

The data below focuses primarily on arts and culture service organizations. You can download a copy of our Summary of Statewide Findings handout here.

To view King County survey findings, click here.

To view survey findings for Puget Sound region, click here.

ABOUT THE RESPONDENTS

  • 28 of 39 counties were represented in the survey results (see map).
  • 68.3% (328) of respondents were from King County.
  • 64% of organizations had annual gross revenues of less than $250,000.
  • 21% of all organizations serve primarily youth audiences (20% in King County, 24% in rest of state).
  • Approximately 13% of organizations are tribal- and/or POC-centered (BIPOC).
map of Washington State
Organizational Annual Gross Revenue – King County Compared to Washington State

N=483; < than $50,000 = 182; $50,000 – $249,000=121; $250,000 – $499,000=56; $500,000 – $999,000=36; $1 million – $5 million=54; $5 million – $10 million=11; $10 million – $20 million=8; > than $20 million=8. Skips=7.

Artistic/Cultural Discipline

Organizations from many disciplines were represented in the survey, with Music (78), Arts – Other (52), Heritage (54), and Theatre (50) making up approximately 49% of responses. N=483; Skips=4.

The vast majority of all respondents were nonprofits.

21% of all organizations serve primarily youth audiences (20% in King County, 24% in rest of state).

Approximately 13% of organizations are tribal- and/or POC-centered (BIPOC).

Type of Organization

N=483; Nonprofit = 392, Government Agency = 21, Business = 70.

Tribal- and/or POC-centered

N=483; Not tribal- and/or POC-centered=341; Tribal- and/or POC-centered=53; Decline to answer=8; Skips=81

Serves Youth

N=483; Yes=85; No=320; Skips=78.

OVERALL KEY FINDINGS

Operating Expenses

This is a critical time for the survival of many organizations. As of June, 45% of all organizations can only cover up to three months of operating expenses with their cash reserves. For BIPOC-centered organizations, the situation is more dire. 55% of tribal- and/or POC-centered organizations can only cover up to three months of operating expenses with their cash reserves.

Months of Cash to Cover Operating Expenses

N=483; Tribal and/or POC-centered=51; Not tribal- and/or POC-centered=330. Decline to state=8; Skips=90.

Reopening Phase

The vast majority of respondents (82%) anticipate that they will not be able to resume normal business operations until Phase 3 or later.

Anticipated Reopening Phase

N=483; Phase 1=13; Phase 2=43; Phase 3=170; Phase 4=92; After social distancing requirements end=70; Other=19; Skips=76.

Reopening Costs

64% of all organizations estimate that their reopening startup costs will be less than $10,000.

However, 72% of organizations estimate they can cover less than 50% of these costs.

40% of tribal- and/or POC-centered (BIPOC) organizations cannot cover any additional reopening costs.

Estimated Reopening Startup Costs

N=483; Skips=102

Percent of Reopening Costs Organization Can Cover

N=483; Skips=102

Critical Needs

The most critical needs for a return to in-person programs include: Staffing (21%); A toolkit/technical assistance to comply with social distancing guidelines (19%); Facility Modifications (17%).

Most organizations believe they can provide remote programming services to their audiences, but identify the following urgent needs to do so: Equipment (22%); Technical assistance (21%); Staffing (18%); Marketing and promotion (18%).

Most Critical Needs for In-Person Programming

N=483; Answered=384; Skipped=99.

Most Critical Needs for Remote Programming

N=483; Answered=359; Skipped=124.

URGENT NEEDS FOR RECOVERY SUPPORT

The cultural sector was disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. It will be among the last sectors to fully reopen, because of social distancing requirements.
It is not sustainable for organizations to continue to operate without any admissions revenue. Immediate intervention is needed to assist with reopening and retaining skilled staff.

Without support, some important cultural organizations will be forced to close permanently.

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