Coronavirus empties Philadelphia museums, galleries, stages

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The arts community has a several billion dollar economic impact across the Philadelphia region, employing tens of thousands of people.

Officials with the Philadelphia Art Museum, which is by far being the biggest revenue maker, told Action News on Thursday night that it's extending it's closure to June 30 as coronavirus sweeps the country.

A statement in part: "with an anticipated fall off in revenue and contributed income, and to ensure financial stability to meet its stated goals, the Board of Trustees has approved a plan to reduce a range of non-compensation expenses as well as to reduce compensation expense through temporary tiered salary reductions for all regular staff. Those earning the least will see no reduction while reductions will increase up to 60% for some positions at the Executive level. Ninety percent of staff will see reduction of 20% or less."

The pandemic has emptied museums, galleries and stages across the region.

"It's not just the musicians," said bass player George Veasley. "It's a whole ecosystem of people that rely on the work that we do and the venues that we operate."

It was just last month, the Philadelphia Orchestra played to an empty Kimmel Center.

The live-streamed concert was a foreshadowing of unprecedented ticket loss and pay cuts due to the pandemic.

"It's unimaginable for the Philadelphia Orchestra to be silenced in this way. We're silenced from playing live on the stage, but you can still here us online," said Matias Tarnopolsky, president and CEO of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Community service institutions like Philadelphia Youth Orchestra have turned to digital lesson plans for it's 585 students, and Philly Pops is now streaming past performances.

A sour note for now, that many hope will make their return that much sweeter.
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