COVID-19 and the Arts in Wisconsin


While we are not health professionals here at the Wisconsin Arts Board, we are fortunate to have a strong team of health professionals at the WI Department of Health Services (DHS). Their webpage on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) contains the latest information on the disease and what we can do to stop its progress.​​


The best practice for nonprofits and businesses choosing to open is to adhere to the Wisconsin Economic Development Commission’s Reopening Guidelines, which compile industry-specific advice for protecting the health and safety of employees and the public. We also recommend referring to the Department of Health Services' Interim Guidance on Large Gatherings​Additional reopening resources are available under the Reopening and Resilience header below.

Click on the header above to access past executive orders and press releases from the Governor's office.

Resource Center

Stay informed! Assign a person on your staff or board to keep an eye on the latest developments and news. They can sign up for the Centers for Disease Control's email updates here and for the World Health Organization's email updates here.​

Stay inspired! Explore the resources below, including the Reopening and Resilience links, and the "Creative Responses from WI's Creative Sector!" linked in the Archived Resources section. Check out and share articles with ideas for actions we can take. Here are a few:

Stopping Coronavirus From Infecting the Culture of Our Community
Volume One​

​​​Resources for Org​anizations

  • ​By clicking on the header here, you will find information on:

    • Emergency Funds for Arts Organizations
    • ​​​Arts-Specific Resources for Arts Organizations
    • WEDC's Guide for Main Street and Other Businesses Navigating COVID-19 Time

  • By clicking on the header here, you will find information on:

    • Emergency Funds for Artists/Creative Entrepreneurs/Individual Arts Administrators
    • ​Arts-Specific Resources for Artists​

Reopening and Resilience

​With input from national and state health and industry experts and in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, the Wisconsin Department of Tourism and regional economic development partners, WEDC has compiled a series of industry-specific documents to help you get back to business while taking the necessary precautions to maximize safety. Following these guidelines will help us all get Wisconsin's economy back on track.

The Event Safety Alliance's Reopening Guide addresses health and sanitary issues that event and venue professionals need to consider in order to protect both patrons and workers. The first edition is tailored to be especially useful for event professionals reopening the smallest events with the fewest resources available to mitigate their risks, since in every municipal reopening plan these will be allowed to reopen first. 

Click on the header above to access additional resources related to reopening and resilience.

Webinars - Upcoming and Archived​

Upcoming:​​​ ​​

  • Wednesdays Sept 16 - Oct 21, 1:30-3:00 CSTStart SmART: Strategies for Dealing with the Money Side of your Creativity - $50; registration ends September 23. This is a six-week process to jumpstart excellent financial habits for your creative career. Each session will address a common financial question faced by creative entrepreneurs through an action-oriented answer. Participants will receive materials and personalized answers to their questions throughout. All sessions will be recorded, so participants can catch up if they miss a session.​

  • ​On Demand - 2020 Awakening: Reimagining Art for the New Normal Hosted by Artist Relief, members of For Freedoms and the Wide Awakes joined to discuss the art community's role in the age of COVID and the possibilities ahead. In this current moment and new era, how can art serve efforts toward equality, justice, and healing?​


Wisconsin Arts Board and Arts Wisconsin's periodic Listening Sessions.​ The following upcoming sessions are discipline-specific:​

  • Thursday, October 22, 2020: 
    • 9:00 am:  Music Organizations (choirs and orchestra/band)
    • 10:30 am:  Museums and Art Centers


Reimagining the Future of the Arts

The Wallace Foundation is hosting a five-part national webinar series, "Reimagining the Future of the Arts." The series brings together a diverse set of leading experts in the field to facilitate conversations around some of the most pressing issues facing the arts sector today, grounded in research commissioned or supported by Wallace. Following each Wallace webinar session, Arts Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Arts Board will host a series of conversations on reimagining the future of the arts throughout the state. Registration is free for both series.

Here are the dates for you to know (all times Central):

Wallace Foundation webinars

    • Wednesday, October 21, 12-1 pm. Discussion question: What do audiences expect from the arts and how can organizations respond?

    • Thursday, November 5, 12-1 pm.  Question TBA

    • Wednesday, November 18, 12-1 pm. Question TBA

    • Wednesday, December 2, 12-1 pm. Question TBA

    • Wednesday, December 16, 12-1 pm.  Question TBA

Register here. Each session will also be recorded and available for later view.​​

Wisconsin conversations

    • Friday, October 23, 9-10 am. Discussion question: “What do audiences expect from the arts and how can organizations respond?"

    • Friday, November 6, 9-10 am. Question TBA

    • Friday, November 20, 9-10 am. Question TBA

    • Thursday, December 3, 9-10 am. Question TBA

    • Friday, December 18, 9-10 am. Question TBA

Register here and you will receive a Zoom link before the date.​


Archived R​esources

  • Excerpts from the Wisconsin Arts News Related to COVID-19
  • Creative Responses from WI's Creative Sector!​
  • WI's Arts Organizations Alert their Audiences, Patrons, and Public
  • Archived Webinars
  • Resources for Staying Connected
  • Guide to Governmental Relief for Arts Organizations and Individual Artists: Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans (for nonprofits and artists)
  • Past ​​Funding Opportunities​


If you have a WAB grant to support a program or event taking place during this time of increased concern, we will allow you to postpone and reschedule, and will if necessary extend the grant project period. Be sure to contact WAB staff via email to alert us to the changes.​


As we move through this time, we will continue tracking local responses and welcome your questions – as will our partner in the private​sector, Arts Wisconsin. During times like this, we must act in concert with one another and support each other locally, statewide, and nationally.

Please be safe, protect yourself and those you interact with, and be healthy. Most importantly, thank you, as always, for all the extraordinary things you do eve​ry day.  ​​- The Board and Staff of the Wisconsin Arts Board​

This webpage is updated often.