Air Date

January 11, 2021

Featured Guests

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen
Senator, U.S. Senate

Michael Morell
Former Acting and Deputy Director, CIA

John Delaney
U.S. Representative, U.S. House of Representatives

Rep. Mike Ferguson
U.S. Representative, U.S. House of Representatives


Suzanne P. Clark
President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Sen. Susan Collins
Senator, U.S. Senate

Rick Wade
Senior Vice President of Strategic Alliances and Outreach, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


One of the biggest industries to be hit by the coronavirus pandemic has been the entertainment industry. Last spring, when COVID-19 caused widespread shutdowns of businesses, arts and entertainment were hit hard. And unlike other industries, such as retail and food service, for the most part, the fine and performing arts have not been able to reopen or bounce back.

Optimistically, with vaccines being administered at a successful rate, it may not be too far off for when museums, venues, and other performing centers can reopen. In the meantime, the entertainment industry needs to assess its path to recovery, as well as advocate for its importance both economically and culturally.

Here are three insights about the current state of the entertainment industry and its economic importance.

Arts and Entertainment Are Essential Socially and Economically But Are Currently Suffering

“[The arts are] fundamental to our humanity,” said actress Annette Bening. “It lightens and livens and delights in us, but it's also there to help us to acknowledge ambiguity and paradox and pain. It helps us to grieve, just to experience what it is to be human. It's an essential part of a healthy community and strengthens us socially, economically, and educationally.”

Not only do the arts provide a helpful and uplifting distraction, but they also boost local and national economies.

“The creative sector employs 5.1 million people, earning a total of $405 billion a year,” said Bening.

Mary Anne Carter, the former chairman for the National Endowment for the Arts, added another surprising statistic: “The arts bring in 877 billion to the U.S. economy.”

“That's 4.5% of our GDP,” she continued. “That is more than warehousing and manufacturing combined. It's more than construction [and] agriculture. By making sure that our cities and towns working with our chambers and other community activists keep the arts alive and well, [we will] keep our communities alive and well.”

Struggling Small Businesses in the Arts and Entertainment Industry Must Network to Recover

If you're a small company with a focus on the creative arts, Twanna Hines, CEO of Funky Brown Chick Inc, recommends focusing on three different aspects.

“First, maintain your focus,” said Hines. “Fall back on ‘Why did you get into the business in the first place? What are your core values? What is your mission?’… It's possible that you can stay within the lines of business that you were currently working, just doing them in a different way.”

“Second, I would say that you've got to be very comfortable with uncertainty,” she continued. “Make sure that you understand that uncertainty is to be expected. Find strategies and ways of coping with uncertainty instead of avoiding it.”

“Last but not least, find your community,” Hines closed. “Networking has never been more important. Smart, good ideas, always have a market, so make sure that you're connecting with other small business owners, other artists, and other people in your communities that can support you.”

The 'Experience Economy' Will Thrive Post-Pandemic

When it comes to the future of the arts and entertainment industries, “demography is destiny,” said Michael Seman of Colorado State.

“Over 50% of the [U.S. is] either in the millennial generation or generation Z,” he continued. “They, before the pandemic, were driving what is called the experience economy. Basically, the spending trends that are much more about experiences, live events, and not just items.”

Some examples include Coachella, Meow Wolf, ARTECHOUSE, etc.

“This was the growing trend before the pandemic,” Seman said. “The creative economy was really doing quite well. It was very robust.”

“Once we can figure out how to open safety and effectively, we're not going to see the roaring twenties, we'll see the screaming twenties with the amount of fine and performing arts events that will be attended.”