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Local Art Organizations Try To Adapt During Coronavirus Pandemic

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DES MOINES, Iowa – Art Organizations in Des Moines Metro adapt during to new environment during coronavirus pandemic.

The Science Center of Iowa announced Thursday it had to lay off 20 employees due to unexpectedly closing its doors during its busiest time of year.

The Science Center of Iowa President Curt Simmons said, “A lot of folks think museum and cultural nonprofits get a lot of government funding or something and that’s really not true. The majority of the cultural nonprofits here in the metro area rely heavily on earned income.”

The Science Center of Iowa sees income from ticket sales, its café, gift shop and more.

“It’s so tough, because no one knows how long this thing is going to take. The financial impact we are experiencing are real. We really don’t know when this is going to end and we don’t know what the community is going to look like after all this stuff is over,” Simmons said.

According to BRAVO of Greater Des Moines art organizations generate more than $185 million annually in economic impact every year.

BRAVO of Greater Des Moines Executive Director Sally Dix said, “Nationally, the estimates for the impact to the arts sector exceeds $4 billion and that’s just what we think we know right now. We don’t know how long this is going to last. We don’t know what the tail is going to be like. We don’t know how long it’s going to take for everyone to bounce back.”

The Des Moines Art Center created virtual tours. People can view all three floors from the comfort of their home.

Des Moines Art Center Marketing Director Jordan Powers said it is something the center has always wanted to do.

“It’s been live for less than a day. We are already seeing phenomenal response from it. Both we’ve gotten comments all over social media of ‘oh my gosh I am so grateful I still get to walk through the galleries at the art center,” Powers said.

The Des Moines Art Center hopes to reopen its gallery April 7th. There have been no layoffs at the art center.

Dix said people can purchase memberships, season tickets or make donations to help their favorite local art organization.

“If we don’t move forward as a community looking at all of the things that make our community special we won’t be as strong coming out of this as we could be,” Dix said.

The Science Center of Iowa hopes to reopen beginning May.

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