The impact of COVID-19 on the Western Australian arts and culture sector has been devastating and the road to recovery continues to be long.
Recent Finance and Wellbeing survey conducted by the Chamber outlines the cumulative impact of stagnant funding levels for major organisations, reduced core funding options for smaller companies and independent artists.
Worrying trends relating to mental health and well-being of the arts/culture workforce and a marked decline in ability to invest in strategic initiatives, longer term outcomes and innovative practice is a call for change.
Where Are We Now
- 75% of organisations reported they would not be able to continue operating on current contributed and earned income streams beyond 12 months if there are further cancellations.
- Over 50% small to medium orgs would be operating on reserves or need to cease operations within the next 12 months. Even with no cancellation of programs in the next 6 months.
- 99% of organisations concerned about the potential scaling down or closure which will impact on nurturing innovation, experimentation, and freshness of creative content.
- 91% of artist respondents predicted their creative productivity would decrease over the next 6 months if there was a COVID wave in WA.
Impact on Employment
- 8,117 FTE jobs and employment contracts at risk over the next 6 months
- 89% artist and creative producers have lost income in the past two years due to COVID.
- 44% sought income and work outside of arts and culture sector to supplement income in the past two years.
- 39% arts administrators had lost some of their income from arts administrative work due to COVID.
Social Impact Programs
- 54% of organisations work with diverse and vulnerable communities and identified risk of social isolation and wellbeing.
Cancelled Events and Programs
- 62% cancelled programs and events for the first 6 months of 2022.
- 25% cancelled programs and events scheduled to run between March-August 2022.
- 998,386 audience members impacted in next 6 months.
Mental Health and Wellbeing
- 92% are concerned about the well-being of staff and volunteers.
- 59% of artist respondents had experienced mental health issues over the past 2 years as a result of COVID.
- 52% of arts workers had experienced mental health issues over the past 2 years as a result of COVID.