This article discusses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement on the arts and cultural sector in the United States, placing the 2020 crises in the context of the United States's historically decentralized approach to supporting the arts and culture. After providing an overview of the United States's private, locally focused history of arts funding, we use this historical lens to analyze the combined effects of the pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement on a single metropolitan area - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We trace a timeline of key events in the national and local pandemic response and the reaction of the arts community to the Black Lives Matter movement, arguing that the nature of these intersecting responses, and their fallout for the arts and cultural sector, stem directly from weaknesses in the United States's historical approach to administering the arts. We suggest that, in the context of widespread organizational vulnerability caused by the pandemic, the United States's decentralized approach to funding culture also undermines cultural organizations' abilities to respond to issues of public relevance and demonstrate their civic value, threatening these organizations' legitimacy.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cultural Studies