By: Christos Makridis
The performing arts have been the hardest hit sector over the past two years. Arts, entertainment and recreation saw a 45% job decline, according to a 2020 Brookings Institute report that focused on actors, who had unemployment rates of 40% in 2020 and 33% in 2021, according to the National Endowment of the Arts .
But a progressive and thriving society cannot exist with the indefinite closure of arts and cultural institutions that provide a central place for people — many with differing political leanings — to gather, appreciate and collectively discuss what is good and is true.
In a bid to return to live performances as soon as possible, the Boch Center — a leading non-profit performing arts organization in Boston — has adopted ActivePure, technology that deactivates airborne and surface pathogens, curbs transmission of the virus, and provides patrons with support provides with the confidence to meet in person.
Covid-19 and the performing arts
Though places and countries varied in their level of restrictions on social and business gatherings, the arts across the board put production and performance largely into the creative professions through the fall of 2021 and 2022. These losses account for 30% of all creative jobs and 15% of total average monthly wages. Again, creative occupations in the visual and performing arts will be disproportionately affected, accounting for about a third of wage employment losses,” said Professors Richard Florida and Michael Seman in a 2020 study.
These trends have continued into 2022. “Jobs across all of Colorado’s creative industries, which make up the creative industries, are still down 8% compared to 2019…an 8% job loss is significant for any industry cluster, especially one that’s temporarily experiencing a significant drop in job losses over.” a long time,” Seman continued.
“The sector went from full-time artists to absolutely nothing in a month… the financial impact has been huge, but the psychological impact has been even more devastating,” said Norman Reinhardt, a leading freelance tenor.
The arts and culture sector contributes 4.2% of gross domestic product, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, but the arts also support an even broader range of activities that make life meaningful.
My research shows that the counties that experienced larger declines in arts employment in February and May 2020 also have lower levels of social capital—broadly defined as trust, norms, and social networks—suggesting that social capital and employment in the arts go hand-in-hand. “The reason I do what I do and the reason the Boch Center is a non-profit organization (the largest in New England) is because I believe that art and music make us a civilized society.” said Josiah A Spaulding. Jr., President of the Boch Center.
Boch Center relies on ActivePure
After looking for alternative approaches to health and public safety that focused more on the use of UV lighting and finding them to be relatively ineffective, the Boch Center came across ActivePure. “We knew we had to find the most effective technology to minimize the risk of infection…we also had to educate the public and staff about its success so everyone could return to our theaters with confidence,” Spaulding continued.
ActivePure not only deactivates Covid-19, but also all other bacteria and fungi. The Boch Center’s investment in the ActivePure infrastructure was a long-term investment in the health and safety of its employees and spectators. Two years later, the Boch Center was not a source of significant Covid 19 outbreaks. “ActivePure made the difference,” continued Spaulding.
“It was a great project to design and manage a risk-based solution for the Boch Center. We considered the building’s age, air volumes and finishes to ensure we had the right amount of technology to handle the peak loads encountered in a theater environment. It’s so enriching to share our experience fighting pathogens through art and we love projects like the Boch Center and look forward to solving problems for other facilities when they need our help,” said Daniel Garstang, who developed the solution for ActivePure for fitting in the Boch Center.
“Artists have been particularly concerned about Covid-19 because the virus can damage the respiratory system, which is so important to our work that the theater’s adoption of ActivePure makes such a big difference in giving artists protection and confidence,” said Reinhardt .
The Boch Center reopened in August 2021. “Never before have so many concerts sold out here,” says Spaulding. “Although streaming technology can help with content distribution, there’s just something different about live performances,” he added. The Boch Center also houses the Folk Americana Roots Hall of Fame (FARHOF) through the Wang Theater. “These genres of music have historically provided a way for people of all races, classes and places to express their highest joys and their deepest sorrows,” said Spaulding. The Boch Center is the only performing arts center in the world to house an impressive list of folk, americana and roots musicians involved including Joan Baez, Bob Crawford, Keb’ Mo’ and Noel Paul Stokey.
ActivePure has been used in hundreds of facilities. For example, ActivePure was also implemented at The Capitol Theater in Nashville, Tennessee. “It was a privilege for Wholesome Technologies to support live performances with ActivePure products for the historic Capitol Theater…ActivePure deactivated airborne and surface pathogens so events of the heart could continue with confidence,” said Teresa Musice, owner by Wholesale Technologies.