The nonprofit arts sector of the Dallas economy lost an estimated $95.5 million between March 13 and Nov. 30 last year, according to the most recent survey.

The Arts Community Alliance and the Dallas Area Cultural Advocacy Coalition estimate a loss in attendance of more than 3.1 million. About 1,000 jobs have been lost. This is their third study on the pandemic’s financial effects on the arts, and 70 nonprofit arts organizations answered.

TACA’s president and executive director Terry D. Loftis calls the loss “staggering.”

“We’re encouraged that our organizations are resilient and finding ways to engage the community,” he says. “But these losses are not sustainable and no one is expecting a return to normal anytime soon.”

While some galleries have reopened and a few performances have cautiously returned, many organizations have canceled their 2021 seasons, resulting in at least two years of lost revenues.

Here’s how the survey breaks down the losses in attendance:

  • Museums, galleries and exhibitions: closed 2,142 attendance days.
  • Classes, programs and workshops: 9,725 canceled.
  • Performing arts: 2,088 performances cancelled or deferred.

Besides safety for audiences, performers and staff, the respondents cited union restrictions, financial feasibility and a lack of rehearsal space as barriers to reopening.

“These are small businesses sustaining major revenue and job losses,” says Lily Weiss, executive director of the Dallas Arts District. “I worry that many of our organizations are reaching a tipping point. This is going to be a very difficult year.”

Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.