Monday, October 18, 2021
Back in January, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) published The Art of Reopening: A Guide to Current Practices Among Arts Organizations During COVID-19. Then as now, arts organizations have enlisted community partners and patrons in the bid for survival—especially given the body-blow to travel and tourism. “Aligning arts programming with local community needs is paramount,” the guide states, before describing how arts organizations—when not pursuing virtual-engagement strategies—are turning increasingly to their own backyards to find new audiences.
Local arts agencies are all about fostering community ties. October, being National Arts and Humanities Month, is a good time to mark the indelible role played by local arts agencies in their towns, cities, and neighborhoods. What may not be properly understood is how the post-pandemic recovery of entire ecosystems for arts, creativity, and innovation—within a town, city, or neighborhood—may hinge on the adaptability and sustainability of local arts agencies. The NEA’s administration of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) will reinforce these local networks.