In the release, Cat's Cradle owner Frank Heath said this project reinforced his knowledge of Triangle artists as "amazing and caring" supporters of other artists and the music community as a whole, and encouraged him for the venue's future.
"This alone is huge, and it helps me to believe that more of us will come through this pandemic with fewer permanent scars," Heath stated in the release.
According to Cat's Cradle's website, free and paid livestreams of some concerts are available, but all live, in-person concerts have been postponed or canceled.
The effects of Cat's Cradle's inability to do live shows stretches far beyond the concert hall, Katie Loovis, vice president for external affairs of The Chamber for a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro, said.
Loovis said the loss of revenue to local businesses from tourists who would normally come to see performances can add insult to injury in an unprecedented time.
"There is this sort of virtuous connection between our local businesses. When one does well, it helps the other," Loovis said. "Unfortunately, what we're seeing during a really unprecedented time during the pandemic is that the reverse is true. When one business is suffering, others can really feel it too."
Helping artists in Orange County
Murray referenced a 2015 study by the Orange County Arts Commission that found that about 1.9 million people attended arts events in the county that year, and that these attendees spent an average of $18.29 per person on expenses like food, childcare and lodging in addition to their cost of event admission.
Murray said despite the small individual price tag, this spending can add up.
"Eighteen dollars doesn't sound like a lot when you're talking about one person," Murray said. "But when you multiply that — that's a lot of money, and all that money is being spent outside of the walls of Cat's Cradle. It's being spent in restaurants and businesses that are all around there."
The survey found that between audience spending and organizational spending, the arts are a $130 million industry in Orange County that generated $5.3 million in local government revenue in 2015.
Through a donation-based relief fund, Murray said the Orange County Arts Commission has been able to provide grants to artists, nonprofit organizations and art industry workers.
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.
"We set up a relief fund back in March, and we've issued two rounds of grants," Murray said. "So far, we've raised just under $60,000."
Murray said that along with nonprofit organizations, over 70 individual artists and art industry workers have received grants. The recipients have ranged from musicians and members of the local orchestra to poets who have been unable to fulfill their contract.
Murray said the Orange County Arts Commission is trying to be a hub of information for the arts community, holding virtual conversations to gauge what information and aid is needed. For the foreseeable future, Murray said, the arts community faces major needs across the board.
"We've got our resources page set up on our website with all of these relief funds that have popped up all over. We've linked up people with other services within the county, like health screenings, housing and all the human service functions that the county provides," Murray said. "Our arts community is a major need of that."
@DTHCityState | firstname.lastname@example.org