March 30, 2020; San Francisco Chronicle
A hard-hitting infographic produced by the California Arts Council shows at a glance the financial impacts of the pandemic on not only arts organizations and activity, but on individual artists. We liked the way this particular piece showed the effects on both the nonprofits involved and the individuals who made them the rich resource that they are. Sometimes it appears that nonprofits assume the public understands the injury to communities that results from injury to the organization, but this infographic goes a long way toward reminding people what and who are at risk.
Among the numbers, the graphic shows that 84 percent of surveyed individuals report they are not eligible for any of the following benefits: paid family leave, disability insurance, paid sick leave, or workers compensation. It was, we remind you, less than a month ago that some nonprofit arts groups were fighting a new state law that would facilitate many of these benefits, but a conversation that had started then has now intensified and been laid bare. The future of these organizations is bound up with the well-being of the artists and art workers that make it all happen.
That said, the infographic importantly paints a picture of the depth of the human loss that the pandemic-linked economic shutdown has caused so many. We particularly appreciate the use of a limited timeline, which allows the reader to imagine the scale of the loss. But even as we look at this, we imagine what more could be done to remind people of the infrastructure at risk in their own communities.
NPQ would be interested in seeing other instances of public communications that illustrate what we may lose in community infrastructure over this period if protections are not put in place. Please send examples to us.—Ruth McCambridge