It may come as no surprise that the Events industry, along with several others, has taken a huge hit this year due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The United Arts Council stated in their newsletter on October 1st that “From April to June, the Raleigh metropolitan area lost an estimated 13,616 jobs and $590 million of sales in creative industries such as art, film, fashion, and design, according to a report by the Brookings Institute. That is nearly a third of all jobs in the local industries and about 7% of sales.”
Pretty shocking numbers, but, how does this relate to our local IES community? The architectural and entertainment lighting industries are more connected than we think! We are not building as many performing arts centers, theatres, sports arenas, or other venues at this time. Architectural Lighting Designers that specialize in exhibit design, museums, or anything with more of an “Archi-tainment” component are also seeing a downshift in design opportunities.
On September 1st, landmark local event venues, in conjunction with #WeMakeEvents, took to lighting their buildings red to raise awareness for this and highlight the RedAlertRESTART campaign, which was to urge lawmakers to extend the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. We had a number of local facilities participate which was led by local emerging professionals, Jeremy Diamond, recent graduate from UNC Greensboro, Darby Madewell who is a recent graduate from North Carolina State University, and Kaitlin Gill Rider our IES Membership Manager. “This pandemic has been particularly tragic for emerging artists, even as the industry starts to return, jobs are going to industry veterans before emerging professionals. This dynamic prompted me to return to NCSU as a graduate student in Computer Engineering to find interdisciplinary ways to continue working,” Darby stated. Jeremy had secured a job as a lighting technician with a major cruise line back in April, but due to the pandemic and CDC orders, he has been put on waitlist status and may not begin working until at least December.
IES is a community for lighting professionals not limited to those in the architectural services, so we appreciate the support and awareness in sharing our message. We can only ask for support as we get through this time and hope that you will encourage your friends and family to support local lighting artists/designers during and after this pandemic to ensure that we can get through this together.
Project Submitted by Kaitlin Rider, Whoco Lighting