The COVID-19 crisis is hitting the culture sector hard, says UNESCO, which has launched initiatives to support cultural industries and cultural heritage as billions of people around the world turn to culture for comfort and to overcome social isolation.
As per the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the closure of heritage sites, museums, theatres and cinemas and other cultural institutions is jeopardizing funding for artists and creative industries. It is also jeopardizing funding for the conservation of extraordinary places and the livelihoods of local communities and cultural professionals.
COVID-19 has put many intangible cultural heritage practices, including rituals and ceremonies, on hold, impacting communities everywhere. It has also cost many jobs and across the globe, artists, most of whom rely on ancillary activities to supplement income from their art, are now unable to make ends meet.
"The global nature of the COVID-19 crisis is a call for the international community to reinvest in international cooperation and intergovernmental dialogue. UNESCO is committed to leading a global discussion on how best to support artists and cultural institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, and ensure everyone can stay in touch with the heritage and culture that connects them to their humanity," UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said in a statement.
"Now, more than ever, people need culture. Culture makes us resilient. It gives us hope. It reminds us that we are not alone. That is why UNESCO is doing all it can to support culture, to safeguard our heritage and empower artists and creators, now and after this crisis has passed," said Ernesto Ottone R., Assistant UNESCO Director-General for Culture.
This week, UNESCO has launched a global social media campaign, #ShareOurHeritage to promote access to culture and education around cultural heritage during this time of mass confinement. It will also launch an online exhibition of dozens of heritage properties across the globe with technical support from Google Arts and Culture.
The Organisation said that it will also make available information on the impact of, and responses to, COVID-19 on World Heritage sites, which are partly or fully closed to visitors in 89 percent of countries due to the pandemic.
On April 15, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Jean Michel Jarre, and the Organisation itself, will host the ResiliArt Debate online, bringing together artists and key industry actors to sound the alarm on COVID-19 impact on the livelihoods of artists and cultural professionals.