The Arts Matter! COVID-19 Reality, Response and Recovery

ASL interpretation will be available at this event. Please see "Accessibility, Technology and Privacy" below for more details.

The impact of COVID-19 on the arts and culture sector has been catastrophic. We’ve seen museums, libraries, galleries and performance venues going dark; screenings, concerts and festivals cancelled and postponed; film and television productions paused indefinitely; the shutdown of artists’ studios; and more. Artists, creatives and the organizations that support them saw their livelihoods instantly thrown into crisis, and have experienced a devastating loss of revenue.

Yet when we look to the glimmers of inspiration that have made us feel connected during this global challenge, we see artists leading the way. Opera singers perform arias from balconies. Musicians live-stream concerts from their homes to raise money for good causes and fill us with a sense of joy and solidarity. Institutions have made it possible to visit their collections virtually, digital art clubs are being formed and authors are giving online readings. The arts help us to cope in dark times, even during a pandemic that prevents us from gathering to appreciate art and culture alongside each other in the same physical spaces. 

The precariousness of the arts sector is not new. It has experienced many disruptions and challenges over the last decades. The loss of affordable artist studios and cultural spaces, unstable funding, implications of digital technologies, and demographics changes in audiences are only some. But this instability has been brought into sharper focus by the impacts of COVID-19. Due to the very business model of the arts sector, it will continue to experience instability and uncertainty for many months to come. 

Arts and culture build community, foster openness and offer critical perspective. They connect people across racial and social divides and encourage us to act when we see injustice. And during a time of loss, uncertainty and physical separation, these things are more important than ever.

Join us for this important conversation as we will hear from some of our local arts administrators, artists and creators. They’ll illuminate the on-the-ground reality of the arts sector during the pandemic, and how it is responding and envisioning recovery for a stronger and more sustainable future. 

Note: Please bring to the event a physical artifact that represents how arts and culture are meaningful for you. Maybe it’s a sculpture, vinyl record, book, ticket stub - whatever resonates for you and that you are comfortable showing to others and talking about.

Special Guests: 

  • Tonye Aganaba – multidisciplinary artist, musician and arts facilitator  
  • Franco Boni – Artistic and Executive Director, PuSh International Performing Arts Festival
  • Navida Nuraney – Assistant Director, Cultural Services, City of Vancouver
  • Dan Mangan – Musician, Co-Founder and VP Business Development, Side Door
  • Brenda Leadlay – Executive Director, BC Alliance for Arts + Culture
  • And more!



Mark Busse is a creative strategist, communication designer, engagement specialist, and facilitator with a strong belief in the power of curiosity, creativity, conversation, and community as catalysts for positive impact and change. Mark’s career has put him on the frontier of applying design methods to social and strategic questions in business, community and the arts, and he is an outspoken design industry writer, speaker, and activist, serving on various industry boards, advisory councils, and education programs. For the past five years Busse served as Director of TILT Curiosity Labs at HCMA Architecture + Design, helping the firm explore, experiment, and seek new discoveries, approaches, and opportunities. Busse is a Dialogue Associate with the SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue.


Sam Bradd from Drawing Change captured the conversation in an amazing illustartion. Read more on our blog: Graphic recording brings online events to life.


Thursday, May 14, 2020

12:00 - 1:15 PM


Online Event
A link and password to join the event will be sent to registrants via Eventbrite.


ASL interpretation

ASL interpretation will be available for this event. Please arrive by 11:55am for instructions and support getting set up to view the interpreters' video. Interpreters will be named "ASL – FirstName" and we recommend "pinning" their video to your screen.

If you have any questions about accessibility for this event, please contact

Registration and Password

A password to access this webinar will be sent to all registrants via email in the days and hours preceeding the event.

Technology requirements

This workshop will be presented in a participatory webinar format. To engage fully you will need:

  • A laptop, computer, or smartphone
  • A webcam
  • A microphone
  • Speakers or headphones

Protecting your privacy

To ensure that we are using online meeting technology in a privacy-conscious way, we are following best practices for this online event series:

  • We will only circulate the meeting link to those who are registered for the event
  • We will password protect the meeting
  • We will enable end-to-end encryption
  • We will not use attention tracking
  • We will lock the meeting at 12:10pm
  • We will ask that participants use their first and last name as their display name on the webinar, so we can check incoming participants against the event registration list

To protect your own privacy we suggest that:

  • You use a unique email address to log into the webinar. This is so that the webinar platform can’t cross-reference your profile with the rest of your digital profiles under your email address.
  • We suggest you do not use your Facebook profile to log into the webinar. This is so that the webinar platform can’t cross-reference you with your Facebook account.
  • We remind you that whatever you say in the webinar is public and recorded, so please do not share sensitive information about yourself or others, and do not say anything you do not wish to enter the public domain.

To protect the privacy of others we ask that:

  • You do not record or photograph yourself, other participants, or the hosts during the webinar, unless permission is requested and given.

We also ask that you respect our community guidelines:

  • Be as present as possible (turn video on, put away phone, close/mute tabs).
  • Thoughtful questions are welcome in the chat throughout the session. If your question is for a particular speaker, type “@name” at the beginning.
  • Don’t assume pronouns/gender/knowledge based on someone’s name or video image. We can refer to people using the usernames they provide!
  • Step up, step back: if you’ve asked a question or shared a comment, ensure that new voices are heard before you contribute again.
  • Practice self-care: if you need to get up or take a break, please feel free.

If you have any questions, concerns, or comments regarding this event’s accessibility or privacy, feel free to connect with us at