How much has the pandemic affected Sacramento’s creative economy? New survey reveals the exact toll taken

With the shuttering of venues and dramatic drops in funding for programs and nonprofits, the Sacramento region’s creative economy has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on creative economies throughout the United States, and Sacramento is no exception,” said Megan Van Voorhis, cultural and creative economy manager for the City of Sacramento.

To better understand the present state of Sacramento’s creative economy, the Office of Arts and Culture in March commissioned a survey in partnership with Americans for the Arts.

The survey findings help to illustrate the pandemic’s toll on artists, creative workers and arts organizations in the seven-county Sacramento metropolitan area.

Below is a summary of the findings:

Artists and creative workers:

  • 86% have had to cancel events/had events cancelled on them
  • 48% have been unable to sell work/product
  • 30% have had pay cuts
  • The average total financial loss per artist is $38,000
  • 73% of artists reported applying for grants, 67% used savings, and 65% applied for unemployment to respond to these losses

Arts organizations and creative businesses:

  • Lost attendance of 1,660,424
  • $1.2 million in unanticipated expenditures
  • $28.4 million in cuts to expenditures
  • Net financial loss of $39.9 million since the start of the pandemic
  • 46% cut staff salaries, 37% terminated/laid off staff

Find more information and dig deeper into the data on the Office of Arts and Culture’s website.

In addition to the COVID-19 impact surveys, the website also hosts pre-pandemic creative economy data. It shows more than 50,000 people were employed by the creative industries in 2019 — 12,000 of those in the arts and entertainment sector that has been hit hard by the pandemic.

“Sacramento’s Creative Economy is a significant contributor to the lives and livelihoods of Sacramento residents,” Van Voorhis said. “This is why the City supported this sector with a $19.8 million Creative Economy Recovery program over the last year. We look forward to the expected opening of the state on June 15 and are prepared to continue to work with the creative community to support a safe and successful reopening.”