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The Springfield Little Theatre needs millions of dollars to emerge from the pandemic in a similar financial situation to the pre-COVID-19 world, according to its executive director.
SBJ file photo
The Springfield Little Theatre needs millions of dollars to emerge from the pandemic in a similar financial situation to the pre-COVID-19 world, according to its executive director.

Arts organizations form new advocacy group

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Four arts organizations are collaborating on the formation of the Ozarks Performing Arts League.

The advocacy and fundraising group was founded by the Springfield Ballet, Springfield Little Theatre, Springfield Regional Arts Council and Springfield Regional Opera to work together on offsetting the economic costs brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a news release.

Officials cited a 2017 Americans for the Arts study that found the local nonprofit arts and culture sector provides a nearly $30 million economic impact.

"A decline in our industry has a domino effect," said Ashley Walden, executive director of Springfield Ballet, in the release. "While our organizations currently suffer financially, if we can’t find support to get us through this tough time, our community could see a long-term impact that endangers the precious cultural landscape that makes our city a desirable place to live."

OPAL is designed to serve as a central group for fundraising, with donations placed in an account managed by Community Foundation of the Ozarks Inc. Area arts organizations will be able to apply for funding.

Officials with the SRAC and Springfield Little Theatre said organizations currently are losing millions of dollars in revenue due to the pandemic.

“Every day, there’s news of another arts organization that has closed its doors for good. Even the Met won’t have a show until fall of 2021, and Broadway remains silent,” said Beth Domann, executive director of Springfield Little Theatre, in the release. “Being a bit smaller here in Springfield may be an advantage right now, but even with strict budget cuts, we’ll collectively need about $2.5 million in support to emerge 18 months from now – and that’s optimistic – in roughly the same condition we were in before COVID.”

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