King County Statewide
COVID-19 Survey Results

When COVID-19 hit our region in early Spring, research from Americans for the Arts, Artist Trust, and ArtsFund illustrated the devastating financial impact of the virus on the cultural sector. In June, we implemented a statewide survey partnering with 13 organizations to identify the sector’s needs to restart cultural activities. Continuing these research efforts is key to strengthen and unify our funding, programming, and advocacy work.

Working closely with the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS), 4Culture specifically analyzed data from King County. Within the county, 328 organizations and 490 individuals responded. 63% of respondents had budgets of less than $250k in annual gross revenue.

This is what we learned:

Timeline

Months of Cash to Cover Operating Expenses

This summer is critical for tribal and POC-centered groups. As of June, 33% of tribal and POC-centered groups have one month of cash and 53% have between 2 and 6 months of working cash available.

N=328; Operating expense skips=51; All respondents=277; Tribal/POC=40; Not tribal/POC=229; Decline to state=6

 

 

Anticipated Phase for Individuals' Artistic/Creative Work to Resume

Individual artists and creatives anticipate being resuming work in later Phases; timing is largely uncertain because of perceived health vulnerabilities and risks.

N=490; Phase skips=10

 

 

Critical Needs

Most Critical Need for Reopening

Groups need funding and technical assistance to restart in-person offerings and to provide offerings remotely. Technical assistance, staffing, and space are the most critical needs for groups to reopen for in-person programming and service. Both Tribal and POC-centered groups and non-tribal or POC-centered groups had similar needs for resuming cultural activities and for moving cultural offerings online.

N=328; Critical need skips=49; All respondents=279; Tribal/POC=39; Not tribal/POC=207; Declined to state=5

 

 

COVID Impacts on BIPOC Artists/Creatives (multiple selection)

The top three resources that could help to sustain BIPOC creatives in the next six months include cash assistance, help building an online audience, and utility payments.

N=490; Race skips=74; BIPOC=37

 

 

Percentage of Startup Costs that Organizations Can Meet

The cultural sector is a mix; organizations have different funding needs, both in purpose and amount. Much of the narrative around the impact of COVID-19 on the cultural sector has, rightly, focused on the massive amounts needed to sustain the industry. However, for many organizations the money needed to restart cultural activities are attainable. Nearly half of tribal and POC-centered groups estimate needing less than $10,000 to restart their cultural activities. Critically, though, 38% of these groups can’t currently afford any additional costs.

N=328; Startup costs skips=47; All respondents=281; Tribal/POC=42; Not tribal/POC=230; Declined to state=6

 

What action can we take?

4Culture used the survey findings to shape our Reopen Fund—our current phase of COVID-19 response efforts. The Reopen Fund supports organizations and historic landmarks with grants of $10,000 and $24,000 to support onsite or online programing to adhere to Washington State Health and Safety Guidelines. We also provided a reopening toolkit and multilingual signage.

4Culture and ARTS are working with statewide partners to bring these preliminary findings to policymakers. We’re advocating for more funding for cultural nonprofits and a social safety net that includes creatives and creative industries.

 

Additional Findings

You can look at a statewide overview of the data, as well ArtsFund’s analysis of the Puget Sound respondents.

PARTNERS

4Culture, Artist Trust, ArtsFund, City of Tacoma, Dept of Commerce, Humanities Washington, Inspire Washington, King County Creative, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Spokane Arts, Washington Filmworks, Washington Museum Association, Washington State Arts Commission, Whipsmart.