The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Manfred Honeck. Photo by George Lange/Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

In Tuesday’s (1/2) WESA Public Radio (Pittsburgh), Bill O’Driscoll writes, “Federal pandemic relief for the national arts and culture sector was ‘unprecedented’ in scale—and Allegheny County pulled in its share of the aid. That’s according to a new report by SMU DataArts, the National Center for Arts Research at Southern Methodist University. The county-by-county tally, ‘Distribution of Federal COVD-19 Relief Funds for the Arts and Culture Sector,’ found that more than $17 billion went to arts and culture groups around the country…. In 2022, federal funding accounted for 18% of the average arts nonprofit’s budget; in 2019, that figure was 3%…. Most of the aid came via either the Paycheck Protection Program (which provided forgivable loans to let businesses retain workers) or the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant…. Nearly every county in the U.S. benefited … For many local groups, the impact of programs like the PPP and SVOG is difficult to overstate. ‘It saved us. It literally saved us,’ said Melia Tourangeau, CEO of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra…. She said while the PSO furloughed some employees during the shutdown, and musicians and staffers took a temporary 30% pay cut, the aid allowed the PSO to avoid permanent layoffs and steep draws on endowment and line of credit.”