Canceled events impact the Butler Arts Center. Photo courtesy of butler.edu.
SOPHIE CIOKAJLO | STAFF REPORTER | firstname.lastname@example.org
Events at Butler Arts Center have been canceled through May 12 in order to follow directives from Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb and the Center for Disease Control.
Performance spaces and arts organizations around the world are dealing with similar cancelations. The arts rely on patrons for a majority of their profit, and the coronavirus has created a financial set-back for the Butler Arts Center.
Aaron Hurt, the director of Butler Arts Center, is responsible for dealing with the complications of coronavirus cancelations.
“Arts and events centers across the country are facing financial implications from this unprecedented situation, and the Butler Arts and Events Center is no different,” Hurt said in an email statement. “Our decision to cancel shows through May 12th was done with the highest consideration for the health and safety of our patrons and the entire Butler campus community.”
Hurt did not respond to further questions by the Butler Collegian.
Canceling about two months worth of events will result in the Butler Arts Center losing the money made on thousands of tickets. Events are held at the Butler Arts Center nearly every night, often multiple times a day and Clowes Memorial Hall alone seats over 2,000 paying patrons.
Ricky Del Real, a junior music major, said he has already received refunds for tickets he bought for shows at Butler Arts Center later this semester.
“I have season tickets for Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Joffrey Ballet, and both offered options for ticket holders to either change their tickets for future performances or donate the money to the organizations,” Del Real said. “That way the money still goes to the performers and to the arts, because they’re losing so much money as it is.”
Local organizations in Indianapolis, such as Indy Keeps Creating, are raising money to help artists sustain themselves. National organizations are also helping to combat the issue.
Del Real said the financial harm from events canceled due to coronavirus impacts not only professional artists, but also Butler’s very own students. The dance department’s “Swan Lake” was going to be played by a professional orchestra, and students in the school of music also had the opportunity to audition to play in the orchestra.
“Everyone who got in and now can’t play was depending on that money,” Del Real said. “Plus it’s such a crucial experience because live music and live dancers is such a great opportunity.”
Hayley Weber, a junior dance major, is a front of house student employee for Butler Arts Center. She was scheduled to work events for the rest of the semester and now will not be working or receiving payment. Weber, who lives in a Greek house, said her chapter told members they will not know if they will receive a housing refund until the end of the semester.
“I have to pay for housing and right now I don’t think I’m getting any sort of refund for any of my housing or meal plan,” Weber said. “So there’s just money going towards things I’m not getting. Right now I’m still in Indiana and I’m still paying for a full meal plan that I’m not eating, so instead I’m paying for more and more food.”
Weber said that beyond full-department performances within JCA, there were individual student recitals that she was scheduled to work. She also said the annual JCA collaborative performance, which includes students from all majors in JCA, had to be canceled. JCA Student Collaborative Productions provides grants for students in different disciplines within the college to work together.
“So, yes it hurts the department as a whole and those who get to perform in it or get to come watch, but also for those students that were working on personal projects,” Weber said. “I think that’s where I feel that this hurts people the most.”
Weber said she will be continuing to work at Butler Arts Center once school starts again in the fall.
“They have offered some jobs during the summer that all of the student employees can apply for, Weber said. “As the next school year starts I think I should be fine to work the same position and everything.”
Del Real said the Indianapolis community will lose the community outreach to future artists that live performances provide.
Both the school of music and the dance department have programs that allow students to teach children in the community. Del Real said the cancelation of performances removes one way that local families are often convinced to sign up for such lessons.
“Well, you’re essentially taking away that inspiration that the arts creates for children, for their parents,” Del Real said. “It inspires people to take lessons and we’re losing that sort of outreach to the community and to the next generation of artists.”