IDEAS: How can the music go on at Levitt Dayton through the coronavirus pandemic

This opinion piece by Madeline Hart of Levitt Pavilion Dayton appeared on the Dayton Daily News Ideas and Voices page on Sunday, Aug. 9. Guest columnists were asked to reflect on how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted Dayton's arts community and what can be done to help. Other featured columns are linked below.

Credit: Submitted

Credit: Submitted

I can’t speak to everyone’s journey, but I can shed light on what it’s like in the arts right now. Words like daunting but also mission and innovation come to mind.

The arts bring us together in a way that nothing else can. So, when we can’t gather to experience the power of live performance, what do we do?

Credit: Submitted

Credit: Submitted

As an arts organization, we must innovate to connect with our audiences where they are – at home. As arts lovers, we have to each support the arts in our community so that that live performance is around well after this virus is history, and that art continues to be created.

Connectivity and shared experiences give us a sense of belonging and community that is integral to our mental health.

We need this now more than ever.

The arts also hold a tangible, material significance for our city.

The economic impact that the nonprofit arts sector has on our community, as reported by the American for the Arts study, is a $213.7 million industry in the Dayton Region—one that supports 8,829 full-time equivalent jobs and generates $23.9 million in local and state government revenue.

Levitt Pavilion Dayton has only been open for two seasons yet has had a more than 2 million dollar economic impact on the Dayton community based on a study conducted by the Master of Public Administration class at University of Dayton in 2019.

Then add into that Dayton Live, The Dayton Art Institute, The DPAA, The Human Race Theatre Company, The Contemporary Dayton, The Brightside, and countless others. When you donate even a small amount to one or more of your favorite arts organizations think of how that will help our economy recover in the coming years.

As an individual, you can also use your voice to support the arts if you can’t support financially. Check out The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) is championing legislation that would provide support to venues who have been greatly impacted by shutdowns.

Many arts organizations, like Levitt Dayton, are providing virtual content.

We have a responsibility to stay mission-focused and meet our community where they are. You can find our weekly virtual concerts supporting local musicians on Facebook, YouTube, or our website

Most organizations are offering virtual content of some sort to help us all get through this difficult time. Go to your favorite organization’s website and see what they are up to and give support that is so greatly needed now.

I bet you can remember your first concert, your first theater experience, your first gallery. Art can heal, connect, uplift, inspire. Let’s take the time now to make sure that the arts survive and thrive long after this crisis is over.

Madeline Hart is director of outreach and community engagement for Levitt Pavilion Dayton.

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