DENVER (CBS4) - The Arts Through It All holiday campaign launched Tuesday to help organizations across Colorado trying to keep operating during the pandemic. The agencies leading this effort conducted a recent survey showing many of these cultural groups are struggling, worried they may not make it without assistance from the public and the government.
"Twenty-twenty has been a challenge for all of us in the arts and culture sector," said John Ekeberg, the executive director of the Broadway division for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. "We are not doing the work that we are so accustomed doing, that we so love doing."
The results of a survey include those benefiting from the Science and Cultural Facilities District, which funds nearly 300 organizations in seven counties with tax dollars. Almost all said the impact of COVID-19 would be moderately severe or extremely severe to their work. More than half, 60%, said they were only moderately confident or not confident at all they will survive the pandemic.
"Live preforming arts is an incredibly compelling medium in this time.," Ekeberg said on a video conference call. "It is the best that we have now, and it's still an opportunity to connect with arts and culture.
The DCPA has multiple shows guests can view from home including The Hip Hop Nutcracker. It takes place in modern day New York with contemporary choreography. The viewing will be later in December, it is a recording from a performance in New Jersey.
"It takes the traditional Nutcracker tale and the traditional Tschaikowsky score but then it sort of turns it on its ear," he said.
So far this year, the Denver Center postponed or cancelled 30 productions and furloughed many of their staff. Ekeberg says they are operating at the moment with a minimal staff.
You can buy general admission tickets or a VIP option featuring a live Q&A with performers, proceeds benefit the DCPA. The group has already started a recovery campaign of $4 million, it is almost halfway to that goal to help its employees come back to work and give them health benefits.
While these organizations are struggling, 57% say they have four months or less of reserves to stay open, they also play a major role in driving business to the downtown core and Colorado communities. The DCPA alone had an economic impact of $175 million during the fiscal year of 2019.
"It's not the same as the visceral experience of sitting in the theater next to someone or family and friends," he said. "There will be that day when we will come back in the theater together and experience it live and in person."
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