Sunday, May 26, 2024

Like other Cambridge arts venues, Harvard Square’s Oberon has been closed since the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic locally. (Photo: Marc Levy)

Surveying begins in May for an international study of audience attitudes about returning to in-person arts and cultural activities as the coronavirus pandemic wanes, according to WolfBrown, a consultant for nonprofits and public agencies with an office in the Agassiz neighborhood.

The project “aims to inform cultural organizations’ planning for when and how to resume activities,” trying to understand consumers’ eventual appetite for cultural programs, including expected attendance behaviors, spending and donation habits and evolving thoughts about proximity and safety issues, said Catherine Peterson, executive director of ArtsBoston in a Friday email.

ArtsBoston is WolfBrown’s regional partner in the Covid-19 Audience Outlook Monitor study.

The information will also be important to sectors that rely on cultural consumers, including restaurateurs, hoteliers and retailers, Peterson said. An ArtsBoston study last year showed that cultural activities bring $2 billion in annual economic impact to Greater Boston. In 2017, Cambridge learned arts and culture was a $175 million industry, albeit one understood to be already waning.

There’s widespread fear that the coronavirus will kill arts institutions, many of which had already been struggling.

“Our venues and institutions understand that reopening their doors involves more than just a green light from city and state leaders,” Peterson said. The project will “give regional arts and cultural partners significant guidance on what local audiences want.”