COVID-19 Impact

Getty Marrow intern Kaylie Sagara at the Autry Museum of the American West.

The Getty Foundation was in the final stages of completing this report when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Since it was immediately clear that the resulting health and economic crises would affect all aspects of civic life, Getty decided to hold the release of the report and complete a brief survey in August 2020 to assess the initial impact of COVID-19 on the employment of internship alumni, especially those working in the arts.

COVID-19 Survey Results

This quick study revealed that Getty Marrow alumni who were working in the field have experienced changes in their work status—including layoffs, furloughs, reductions in pay or hours, and foregoing promotions/pay increases—but not substantially more so than former interns working in other sectors (see Exhibit 11). Among survey respondents, 15% of those working in the arts have been furloughed or lost their jobs due to COVID-19 compared to 16% of alumni who have experienced job losses/furloughs and were not working in the arts.

The small number of survey respondents who are in the arts field and experiencing job loss/furlough makes it hard to draw generalizations about the field as a whole. What is clear is that entry-level/early-career alumni working in the field are among those who have been hit hardest, which underscores an ongoing need to support this group in the early years of their careers (see “Areas to Improve”). The survey also revealed that two-thirds of alumni would consider work in the arts post-COVID, regardless of whether they are in the field and regardless of whether the pandemic has impacted their own careers. This finding demonstrates a strong alumni commitment to the value of the arts even in the face of the uncertainties and challenges of the pandemic and its economic effects. As one alum no longer working in the arts put it: “I would return to the field in a heartbeat if the work conditions, opportunities to advance, wages/salaries, and job security improved. I am passionate about the arts and its effectiveness with regard to social change, human connection, and social awareness.”