U.S. art galleries have yet to recover to pre-pandemic activity levels

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According to the Art Dealers Association of America, 78% of the galleries surveyed said they wanted to attend in-person trade shows this year. The art show organized by the association is shown here.

Darian DiCianno / BFA.com

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Despite federal aid and a gradual return to business, the majority of U.S. art galleries are still grappling with the effects of the Covid-19 lockdowns and the resulting economic downturn, a trade organization says.

In June, 70% of galleries reported an overall drop in sales in 2020. According to a survey published Tuesday by the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA.), Staff, programs and activities still have to recover to pre-pandemic levels).

A total of 81 interviewees from galleries represent 1,068 living artists and 220 artist estates.

With access to federal aid programs and the move to virtual operations, art galleries have kept business going through the challenges. Around 78% of respondents said they had not made any layoffs in 2020. Of those who went on vacation, 62% of the survey found that they hired one or more employees again.

More than 88% of respondents applied for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program loan. Of those, 44% received loans between $ 50,000 and $ 100,000, according to the survey.

In addition, 62% of galleries reported that virtual operations and programs directly supported their sales year-round.

All of this showed “how agile and innovative galleries still are, with so many quickly moving to virtual programming; Found ways to preserve their physical spaces; and retain employees in unprecedented times, “said Anthony Meier, President of ADAA and founder of Anthony Meier Fine Arts in San Francisco, and Maureen Bray, Executive Director of ADAA, in a joint statement.

Looking ahead, 65% of galleries said they plan to add to their list of artists this year, and 78% planned to attend in-person fairs, according to the survey.


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