Orlando Philharmonic among Central Florida arts groups to furlough artists and staff due to pandemic

Posted on: April 1, 2020

“Local arts leaders are strategizing how to keep their organizations afloat when their income has vanished” during the coronavirus pandemic, writes Matthew J. Palm in Tuesday’s (3/31) Orlando Sentinel. “Hundreds of Central Floridians working in the arts have been affected by cancellations at the area’s largest cultural organizations.… Along with dismissing 70 artists, Orlando Shakes has furloughed nearly three-quarters of its staff…. The furlough allows employees to qualify for unemployment…. On Friday, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra cut about half of its staff. Nine employees were furloughed, meaning they forego their wages but maintain their benefits, said board chair Mary Palmer. An additional four employees had their hours reduced.… ‘Each choice causes pain and concern to us all,’ said Palmer. The furlough is effective March 30-June 30, but Palmer said employees could be called back to work sooner if the situation improves. The orchestra’s musicians, paid only when they play, are also losing income. The Philharmonic did partially pay musicians for a postponed concert, Palmer said, with plans to pay out the rest when the event takes place…. Many groups are asking ticket buyers to support the ongoing United Arts fundraising campaign or to forego refunds for canceled events.”