Randall Rosenbaum, Executive Director of the RI Council on the Arts (RISCA), released the following statement on today’s announcement by Governor Dan McKee to lift most COVID-19 restrictions tomorrow (5/21/21) for those who have been fully vaccinated:
“After the most challenging year for the arts and culture community, today’s announcement means artists and cultural workers, who lost their livelihoods during the pandemic, can now return to playing their important role of enriching the lives of Rhode islanders. On behalf of the arts and culture community, we applaud and thank Governor McKee. We look forward to getting arts and culture organizations moving toward full capacity.
“During the pandemic, our world class arts sector saw theaters, concert halls, museums, performances, fairs and festivals grind to a halt. The shuttering of venues, concert halls and performance spaces had an overwhelming impact on our community. According to the latest data from the RI Department of Labor and Training, the arts, entertainment, and recreation sector lost 4,800 jobs between February 2020 and April 2020. From April 2020 through April 2021, 1,800 jobs have been recovered, but the sector is still down 3,000 jobs from February 2020.”
Rosenbaum added: “The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reports that arts and cultural production accounts for $2.06 billion and 3.3 percent of the Rhode Island economy, contributing 18,215 jobs. *Arts and cultural ‘value added’ in Rhode Island ranks fourth behind, retail, construction and education services sectors.”
* Comparison industries are selected industry categories using the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) drawn from BEA’s 2019 state level data for employment, full-time and part-time workers, compensation and value added by industry. The comparisons are not mutually exclusive—arts and culture include, for example, portions of other sectors such as construction and retail trade.