Saving Arts From The Pandemic

Mar 28,2020

In every community, budget cuts are often first reflected through the lack of government spending on its arts and cultural segments.  The creative community is not overlooked, but rather neglected for its vital role in society. In a world post the COVID 19 pandemic, arts and culture may look very different. This does not mean global pop culture like Taylor Swift or Ed Sheeran will be catapulted into oblivion but rather a country's natural heritage and the local art scene will suffer.


The current scenario

Mainstream arts has come to a global standstill as cinemas around the world have been shut down and concerts continue to face cancellations. Yes, the entertainment industry is suffering and along with aviation, hospitality and tourism it is one of the most pandemic affected industries. The synopsis is certainly gloomy as thousands continue to succumb to this harsh biological challenge, however it is also important to talk about the economic implications of this scenario. The cultural sector of every country will be hit by this segment and it is important for governments to cushion the impact for long term benefits.


Germany leads the way

As global markets crash Germany has been the first to act not just morally, but with a whopping $54 billion aid package for individuals who are self-employed as well as for SME’s in order to help with overheads like venue rentals and artist studios. This funding will also support media enterprises and news outlets. In addition to the grants, further loans will be available where needed for further financial support. According to the minister of culture, the federal government is “wholly aware” of the importance of the creative industries.  “Artists are not only indispensable but also vital, especially now,” said Monika Grutters, Culture Minister of Germany.

Grutter adds “Our democratize society needs its unique and diverse cultural and media landscape in this historical situation, which was unimaginable until recently”. Germany are certainly leading the way, or rather setting the benchmark with an unprecedented initiative that will hopefully stimulate further recognition from other nations and government towards the artists and the overall value of the creative communities.

Is this step going to hand Germany a head start in the wake of the COVID-19 recovery era? It may well be that we see the continuity of their creatives, while the rest of the world had to put a few things on hold. We know creatives will create no matter the circumstances, but let’s face it, resources are needed for it all to manifest and this is a much needed life support that Germany has been quick to respond with.


UAE's position

Over the past decade the UAE has spent billions of dollars building a cultural infrastructure from scratch. Dubai has showcased this growth with its crown jewel of Expo 2020, however the pandemic definitely casts a shadow over all past and future events. The UAE has remained committed to its goal of hosting the Expo but has also stated that "the organizers continue to closely monitor the global pandemic and are regularly reviewing plans and preparations in line with guidance from U.A.E and international stakeholders."

Sadly the UAE outbreak occurred during Art Season 2020, but on the bright side, most events were postponed rather than canceled. The UAE is a young country and is developing at breakneck speed, such a significant halt to the global economy is bound to expose rough edges in the country's arts infrastructure.

But it does seem like the government has taken significant steps to move past this testing time. The rescheduling of all its arts and cultural events is certainly a step in the right direction. Furthermore, large art entities have shifted to the digital platform to reach their community. Last week, Dubai's flagship art community Alserkal Avenue launched and many more are expected to follow. Music and film communities are possibly a little more exposed to the impact since they are still in the early stages of development.

The next six months is bound to unveil a more accurate prediction of the forthcoming years but both the government and its residents remain optimistic and there is certainly light at the end of this tunnel.