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Kentucky Performing Arts Cuts Staff To 30% Amid Pandemic

A dark Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Louisville on March 26, 2020.
A dark Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Louisville on March 26, 2020.

Kentucky Performing Arts staff experienced layoffs, furloughs and pay cuts after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the organization to temporarily shut down all of its venues, as well as education and outreach programming.

“Our earned revenue streams have been all but eliminated and our contributed revenue severely impacted by the economic downturn,” vice president of marketing and communication Christian Adelberg said. “The situation is even more challenging as we do not know when the social distancing protocols will end.” 

Those factors meant they had to take some short-term measures “to ensure our long-term viability,” he said, adding that they had to reduce their staff of 98 full-time employees by 20 percent and are presently operating at less than a third of their staff size before the pandemic. 

The salaried, non-furloughed employees, starting with the organization’s president and CEO, saw temporary wage cuts, he said.  

KPA is keeping its eyes on the National Endowment for the Arts, which received $75 million in the federal stimulus package, waiting to see what kind of relief might be available to them. However, Adelberg said they can’t operate on unknowns right now.

“We have to move forward with what we know we're able to do, as opposed to what we hope we will be able to do,” Adelberg said. “So we are focusing on the now, and we'll adjust as aid comes into the fold.” 

KPA did recently launch an initiative called #KPAatHome, funded by the Brown-Forman Foundation, that pays artists for virtual concerts while stages remain dark.