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Dallas Arts Orgs Lose $34 Million, So Far

And that's just in the first two-and-a-half months of the Coronavirus pandemic. Survey results reveal devastating job losses and closures. It will get worse.

published Thursday, July 2, 2020

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A survey of 57 arts organizations in the city of Dallas reveals that upwards of $33 million has been lost because of the Coronavirus shutdowns. This survey represents only arts groups in the city of Dallas, not Dallas County, and also doesn't account for Tarrant, Collin or Denton counties. Using only that number from the city of Dallas, it's a good guess that the losses for arts organizations in all North Texas would be more than $50 million in March, April and May. This survey doesn't include June; and with cases spiking again in Texas and more months of shutdowns and production closures ahead, we're looking at more than $100 million in losses by the end of 2020.

Below is the news release with the details of the survey, and the groups that participated (also keep in mind that there are many more than 57 arts organizations in Dallas alone):


Dallas — The nonprofit Dallas arts and cultural community suffered $33.65M in financial losses in the first two-and-a-half months of COVID-19-related closures, including layoffs or furloughs of 649 artists and staff, according to a survey of the city’s diverse arts organizations. The study also strongly signals these financial losses are rising and, with the expiration of federal small business support such as Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loans, more job losses are ahead.

The survey was conducted earlier this month by a trio of Dallas arts advocacy organizations: The Arts Community Alliance (TACA), Dallas Arts District (DAD) and Dallas Area Cultural Advocacy Coalition (DACAC). The 57 Dallas-based nonprofit arts and cultural organizations that participated reflect a diverse range of size, age and genre serving every corner of the city. Survey questions covered the period from March 13 — when almost all cultural facilities were closed  through May 31, 2020.

According to responses, the forced closures caused:

  • performing arts organizations to cancel or defer 804 performances
  • visual arts organizations to close, collectively, for 747 attendance days
  • all groups together to cancel or reschedule 2,609 workshops, classes and programs

Collectively, the groups projected their lost or deferred attendance numbers of 1.3M for the two-and-a-half-month period.

“These survey findings reflect the significant damage the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the arts community in Dallas,” said Terry D. Loftis, Carlson President and Executive Director of TACA. “When we fielded the survey, we anticipated the results would bring that impact to light, but these finds are truly staggering. The Dallas creative community has been impacted in ways we might never have anticipated, and without private and civic investment, we’ll be challenged to reverse the damage caused by the pandemic, affecting our community as a whole, artists, arts organizations, and audiences for the long term.”

During this period, many groups were able to retain staff due to CARES Act funding through the Small Business Administration loans. Of the 57 groups, 40 organizations applied for SBA support.

  • 40 cultural groups received PPP loans, many of which are forgivable.
  • 12 organizations also applied for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)
  • A handful of applications were awaiting funding or approval
  • 16 small organizations did not apply for SBA support, 11 saying they were not eligible.

To achieve forgiveness of these loans, recipients were required to keep a number of staff employed at certain pay levels for a period of time, usually 8 weeks. Most of those loans begin expiring this month. This is already causing some groups to implement new furloughs or layoffs. Some are implementing salary reductions for the staff that remain.

The impact is threatening local arts organizations of every size, age and genre, many of which operate on a shoestring.

  • They rely heavily on ticket and program revenue, fees from classes, and ancillary revenue that comes with attendance, including food, beverage and alcohol sales, concessions, gift shops, parking, ticket fees, sponsorships and more. All of these dried up.
  • The groups face refund requests from patrons, further depleting cash – though some patrons are willing to take a credit for their ticket or donate the value back to the nonprofit organization.
  • Included in the losses are $2.36M in increased and unanticipated expenses, including the COVID-19 costs of making offices and cultural facilities safe for patrons, staff and artists before they reopen.

Adding to the levels of concern: severe projected budget cuts to the City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture as officials grapple with millions of dollars in lost revenue due to the impact of COVID-19 on the economy.

“The arts generate revenue, so these closures have ripple effects across the city’s economy,” said Lily Weiss, executive director of the Dallas Arts District. “We not only lose the direct spending of these groups and that of the employees laid off, but also the revenue tied to restaurants, lodging, tourism, retail, transportation and more, all of that is gone.”

The nonprofit arts and culture sector in Dallas alone was generating an annual economic impact of $891M supporting 13,000 jobs, according to a 2015 study1. The sector drives tourism, boosts property values and helps attract corporate relocations and talent. That economic impact also generates $45M in local tax revenue, the loss of which would have a negative impact on the City of Dallas budget.

Since the survey was conducted, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued guidelines for reopening for both museums and fine arts performance venues, albeit at reduced capacity numbers.

While carefully watching local pandemic numbers, a number of Dallas museums are targeting reopening in the July-August time frame. However, most performing arts venues do not anticipate opening until late in the summer or early fall, with some moving their entire seasons into 2021. Adding to the uncertainty are rising North Texas COVID-19 hospitalization numbers which could prompt new restrictions or closures.

“The arts sector is made up of small businesses and an important part of our city’s economy,” said Joanna St. Angelo, president of the DACAC, a political advocacy group representing a wide range of the city’s cultural organizations. “We felt nobody had a handle on what was happening to our arts community. This study gave us a pulse rate, and right now the prognosis isn’t good.”

TACA, DAD and DACAC plan to continue the survey every few months to mark changes, including additional financial and job losses.






Small Organizations (65%)

  • Under $249,999 (15)
  • $250,000 - $499,999 (12)
  • $500,000 - $999,999 (10)

Large Organizations (35%)

  • $1,000,000 - $4,999,999 (8)
  • Above $5,000,000 (12)



The survey was conducted during the second and third week in May so the losses are both realized and projected. By that point in time, most organizations had already canceled of deferred programs.


  • Projected value of reported lost/deferred admissions revenue: $26,243,127
  • Projected value of lost/deferred non-admissions revenue (food & beverage, retail, parking, ancillaries, etc.)$5,047,419
  • Projected value of increased/unanticipated expenses: $2,362,691


Total projected financial impact for the period (including lost/deferred revenue and unanticipated expenses)$33,653,237



Non-performance based institutions appear more optimistic about reopening than performance based groups.

67% of non-performance based respondents have set a date for reopening

44% of performance based respondents have set a date for re-opening



Most of the impact through May 31 has been to part-time positions, with forgivable PPP loans used to retain full-time staff. As those loans expire, we anticipate full-time job losses to rise steeply.


Part-Time Employees

  • Average number of PTEs annually employed across 57 organizations: 1,394
  • Number of PTEs laid off or furloughed in this period (41%): 567   

Full-Time Employees

  • Average number of FTEs annually employed across 57 organizations: 1,140
  • Number of FTEs laid off or furloughed in this period: 82


Responding Organizations

  • Academy of Bangla Arts and Culture
  • African American Repertory Theater
  • Art House Dallas
  • AT&T Performing Arts Center
  • Avant Chamber Ballet
  • Beckles Dancing Company
  • Big Thought
  • Bishop Arts Theatre Center
  • The Black Academy of Arts and Letters
  • Blue Candlelight Music Series
  • Cara Mía Theatre
  • The Cedars Union
  • Children's Chorus of Greater Dallas
  • Creative Arts Center of Dallas
  • Crow Museum of Asian Art at the University of Texas at Dallas
  • Cry Havoc Theater Company
  • Dallas Arts District Foundation
  • Dallas Black Dance Theatre
  • Dallas Center for Photography
  • Dallas Chamber Symphony
  • Dallas Children's Theater
  • Dallas Heritage Village
  • Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum
  • Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture
  • Dallas Museum of Art
  • The Dallas Opera
  • Dallas Summer Musicals
  • Dallas Symphony Association
  • Dallas Theater Center
  • Deep Vellum
  • Echo Theatre
  • Fine Arts Chamber Players
  • Indian Cultural Heritage Foundation
  • Lone Star Circus Arts Center
  • Lone Star Wind Orchestra
  • Lumedia Musicworks
  • The Mexico Institute
  • Nasher Sculpture Center
  • Olimpaxqui Ballet Co, Inc.
  • Orchestra of New Spain (of the Pegasus Musical Society)
  • Orpheus Chamber Singers
  • Over the Bridge Arts
  • The Perot Museum of Nature & Science
  • Prism Movement Theater
  • Sammons Center for the Arts
  • Second Thought Theatre
  • The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
  • Shakespeare Dallas
  • Soul Rep Theatre Company
  • Teatro Dallas
  • Texas Ballet Theater
  • Theatre Three
  • Turtle Creek Chorale
  • Uptown Players
  • USA Film Festival
  • The Women's Chorus of Dallas



The Dallas Area Cultural Advocacy Coalition (DACAC) is a grassroots member-supported organization representing a wide range local arts and cultural organizations of all sizes, budgets, genres and locations. Established in 2007 as a Texas nonprofit corporation, this coalition advocates on issues of importance to the arts community with its primary goal: to protect and grow city and state funding that supports the area’s diverse cultural ecosystem. DACAC promotes dialogue, understanding and cooperation among the artists, patrons and organizations in the community; provides education and training to small arts groups; and mobilize members on strategies that support the cultural community as a whole.


About Dallas Arts District

Dallas Arts District serves as the primary steward and representative for the largest contiguous urban arts district in the nation. The District’s purpose is to enhance the value of the city’s creative and economic life by engaging artistic, educational and commercial neighbors through excellent design, practices, and programs. That work transforms the neighborhood into a dynamic and vibrant destination for locals and visitors, powered by the imagination of regional and international artists, with integrated and exemplary artistic, residential, cultural and commercial life. Experience Dallas Arts District’s signature Block Party Series in April and June attracting more than 60,000 visitors from 144 zip codes. Dallas Arts District Foundation has awarded 450 grants totaling $1.2 million to local arts organizations to produce innovative programming in the neighborhood. For more information, visit


About TACA

TACA – The Arts Community Alliance – supports excellence and impact in the arts through grant-making, capacity building, and thought leadership. TACA envisions an innovative, inclusive, sustainable cultural sector recognized for its essential contribution to a vibrant, prosperous community. Since its founding in 1967, TACA has worked to establish North Texas’ cultural community as one of the strongest in the nation. TACA’s growing investment in the arts translates to new premieres and productions, impactful residencies and community initiatives, and more opportunities for artists and audiences to connect – all striving to make Dallas a dynamic city and a great place to live and work. For more information about TACA, call 214- 520-3930 or visit Connect with TACA on Facebook at, Twitter at @TACADallas or on Instagram at @TACADallasThanks For Reading

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Dallas Arts Orgs Lose $34 Million, So Far
And that's just in the first two-and-a-half months of the Coronavirus pandemic. Survey results reveal devastating job losses and closures. It will get worse.
by TJ Staff

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